Canadian Free Trade Agreement

The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian ministers representing the federal government and all 13 provinces and territories (PTs). The objective of the CFTA is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investments within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.

The Agreement commits provincial, territorial and federal (FPT) governments to a comprehensive set of rules that will help to achieve a modern and competitive economic union for all Canadians.

Importantly, the CFTA preserves the ability of FPT governments to adopt and apply their own laws and regulations for economic activity in the public interest to achieve public policy objectives. Such objectives include the protection of public health, social services, safety, consumer protection, the promotion and protection of cultural diversity and workers’ rights.

The CFTA rules apply automatically to almost all areas of economic activity in Canada, with any exceptions being clearly identified.

For more information, visit the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.

Committee on Internal Trade (CIT)

The CIT is comprised of all FPT ministers responsible for internal trade, and is responsible for supervising the implementation of the CFTA, including providing oversight over a number of CFTA working groups; assisting in the resolution of disputes; approving the annual operating budget of the Internal Trade Secretariat (ITS); and considering any other matter that may affect the operation of the CFTA.

The CIT meets annually. The chair rotates each year between all 14 parties, including the federal government, as set out in the CFTA. The federal government last chaired the CIT in 2013.

Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT)

The CFTA established the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT), a FPT body that oversees the process to align regulatory frameworks across all jurisdictions to reduces barriers to trade, investment, and labour mobility within Canada.

Internal Trade Secretariat (ITS)

The ITS is an FPT intergovernmental affairs body located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, provides administrative and operational support to the CFTA and CIT Ministers.

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