Federal investments to improve internal trade

Leading economists have highlighted increasing internal trade as one of the most important ways in which Canada can ensure its economy continues to grow, remain globally competitive, and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) came into force in 2017, Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments have significantly increased internal trade by reducing regulatory barriers in many sectors — namely in agri-food, transportation, and occupational health and safety.

What is a barrier to internal trade?

Barriers to internal trade can be divided into four broad categories:

Federal, provincial and territorial governments do not impose tariffs on goods and services that cross internal borders, but there are a several subtle barriers that limit the ability to buy, sell, and transport goods and services across the country or work in other provinces.

To accelerate the reduction of barriers to internal trade, the Government of Canada has made several key investments.

Budget 2021

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced a commitment of $21 million to strengthen internal trade by identifying and removing barriers to trade and ensuring a stronger domestic economy that will help to create jobs, expand access to Canadian goods and services, and build a more prosperous economy.

Specifically, the Budget included the commitments to:

Budget 2022

Budget 2022 reiterated that, over the coming year, the government would continue to evaluate and, where appropriate, remove federal exceptions to the CFTA, as well as take action to conclude outstanding internal trade negotiations.

The Government of Canada also announced additional investments that support internal trade. In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada:

Budget 2023

Budget 2023 re-emphasized the Government of Canada’s ambition to strengthen internal trade through new commitments. The Government of Canada announced that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs will lead and advance federal, provincial, and territorial efforts on the mutual recognition of regulatory standards to ensure goods and services move more freely.

Specifically, the Budget includes the commitments to:

The Government of Canada also announced additional investments that support internal trade. In Budget 2023, the Government of Canada committed:

Fall Economic Statement 2023

In the 2023 Fall Economic Statement (FES), the Government of Canada stressed the importance of breaking down internal trade and labour mobility barriers to Canada’s economy and identifying ongoing federal actions to ease the movement of workers across interprovincial and territorial borders.

Specifically, the Government of Canada committed to:

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