Canada revamps its Directive on Regulations - more agile, transparent, and responsive so businesses can thrive

News release

September 7, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises.

Recognizing that Canada must keep pace with emerging economic opportunities and evolving challenges, the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, today announced a new Cabinet Directive on Regulation, which came into effect September 1, 2018. Minister Brison made the announcement during a meeting with members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, where he provided an update on the government’s plan for supporting the middle class and those working hard to join it. He also discussed small business, clean growth, innovation, infrastructure, and trade.

The new directive promotes an agile regulatory system that is predictable, efficient, and consistent.  While continuing to protect the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the environment, the new directive helps engage Canadians and stakeholders throughout the regulatory process. It also builds on the government’s commitment in Budget 2018 to modernize our regulatory framework with a focus on supporting innovation and business investment.  

The directive takes into account the views of Canadians, parliamentarians, federal regulators and businesses. It reflects their suggestions for greater transparency, more robust cost impact analysis, and enhanced regulatory cooperation, both domestically and internationally, to reduce overlap and regulatory barriers.

The directive also applies a small business lens to new regulatory changes, ensuring that when regulations are drafted, the impacts on small businesses in Canada are always considered. Finally, it introduces continuous regulatory review requirements that will help eliminate irritants and ensure that all federal regulations stay up-to-date and streamlined.

The new Cabinet Directive on Regulation is the foundation for modernizing the Canadian regulatory system, and supports a key Government of Canada commitment to innovation, growth, and competitiveness.


“Canada’s regulatory system is internationally recognized as among the best in the world. Now we’re making it better. The Cabinet Directive on Regulation will support a transparent, evidence-based regulatory system that will deliver economic benefits to current and future generations of Canadians.”

The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

“Our government is committed to making it easier for small businesses to start up, scale up and reach new markets. This new Cabinet Directive on Regulation is an improvement on the directive created by the previous government. All regulations will now undergo a small business lens analysis, and this will help small businesses by reducing regulatory burden, increasing transparency, and creating a more predictable regulatory system. This means small business owners can spend less time navigating complex regulation and more time focused on growing their business and creating well-paying jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“We are particularly pleased to see the commitment to enhance and maintain Canada’s ground breaking one-for-one rule and small business lens in the new directive. These initiatives continue Canada’s world leadership. More importantly, keeping red tape to a minimum is critical to the middle-class prosperity that makes this a great country.”

Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategic Officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Quick facts

  • The Cabinet Directive on Regulation (the directive) sets out the Government of Canada’s expectations and requirements in the development, management, and review of federal regulations.

  • The directive is the framework for regulators that encourages economic growth, promotes innovation, and enhances competitiveness while protecting Canadians’ health, safety and security.

  • The directive increases the effectiveness and agility of the Government of Canada’s regulatory system, and benefits businesses and consumers by eliminating unnecessary costs and duplications in regulations.

  • The directive underscores the value of early and frequent engagement with Canadians and Canadian businesses, and will help provide a stable, predicable system in which business can thrive.

  • The directive supports regulatory alignment and cooperation both domestically and internationally to reduce unnecessary barriers to industry and trade.

  • Additionally, regulators must now consider Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+), environmental impacts, and the Assessment of Modern Treaty Implications as they develop regulations, which will promote a more inclusive understanding of the effects of regulations on Canadians.

  • The government is also conducting targeted reviews of regulations in sectors with high growth potential, starting with agri-food and aquaculture, health and bio-sciences, and transportation and infrastructure. As part of this review, it has been consulting with Canadians, including key sector stakeholders, and will publish a What We Heard report later this fall.

  • Proven regulatory requirements, such as the “One-for-One” Rule, and mechanisms established under the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management, such as the Small Business Lens, will be maintained and enhanced.

  • The new directive is an update from the 2012 Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management (CDRM).

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Farees Nathoo 
Media Relations
Office of the President of the Treasury Board

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