Notes for remarks by the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, at the Regulatory Cooperation Council Stakeholder Forum

Speech

December 4, 2018

Washington

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Thank you for that warm welcome. 

It’s great to be back here in Washington to help launch the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Stakeholder Forum, and to express Canada’s support for regulatory cooperation.

Being neighbours has encouraged many ties between us, like highly integrated economies, an extraordinary degree of collaboration, and enduring friendship.

The RCC, while a relatively new organization, plays an important role in this tradition.

During the past year, negotiating the new NAFTA dominated the headlines.

But what you didn’t find on the front pages was the work of the RCC and our regulators in strengthening our 2 countries’ mutual cooperation and prosperity.

As Chair of the Treasury Board Committee of Cabinet, I can tell you we challenge departments to justify any regulatory initiatives they bring forward, and to align them, where appropriate, with those of the United States and other key trading partners.

We have successfully harmonized requirements and processes across many areas, like food safety, energy efficiency, motor-vehicle safety standards, rail cars, and health products.

A good example is the RCC’s work in harmonizing energy-efficiency standards for products such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

Aligning these standards could save Canadians alone about $1.8 billion in energy costs by 2030. That’s why we’re going to do it.

Last June, here in Washington, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize the RCC and renew its Terms of Reference, reaffirming the importance of regulatory cooperation in support of bilateral investment.

This MOU helped address sustained calls by stakeholders in both countries, and created a stable foundation for the RCC’s ongoing work.

Your perspectives play a key role in identifying opportunities for further regulatory cooperation.

So it’s great to see so many stakeholders here today to share your views.

Because, while the RCC has been successful, we cannot stand still.

I want to see Canadians, and Canadian businesses, buy and sell goods freely across North America, and indeed, the world.

It’s become almost cliché for government to talk about cutting red tape. But long before we started talking about regulatory reform in our recent Fall Economic Statement, we’ve been getting it done.

For the past 3 years at Treasury Board, we’ve been quietly driving regulatory reform.

In September, we introduced a new Cabinet Directive on Regulation, which has a core principle of supporting competitiveness, innovation and economic growth.

The Government of Canada has amended the One-for-One rule to better align with the U.S. Two-for-One rule and allow credits for regulatory cooperation initiatives.

Simply put, this means that a reduction to the U.S. administrative burden based on an RCC initiative could also reduce administrative burden in Canada, and incentivize our regulators to pursue regulatory cooperation.

We have also launched the first round of targeted regulatory reviews in 3 high-growth sectors:

  • agri-food and aquaculture
  • health and bio-sciences
  • transportation and infrastructure, which includes emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

The goal is to make sure our regulatory system keeps pace with the latest advances and new business models.

And in last month’s Fall Economic Statement, we announced a series of new regulatory measures.

Measures such as:

  • an Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill that will serve as a yearly, house-cleaning exercise
  • a new Centre for Regulatory Innovation that will allow businesses and the government to work together on innovative approaches

These ongoing efforts will form the basis for modern regulatory cooperation between our countries.

From back-up cameras on vehicles to paint products, the RCC is helping us tackle the existing stock of regulations.

I believe the RCC’s role will become even more important as both Canada and the United States address emerging technologies, from drones to Artificial Intelligence to robotics.

Let’s do it together.

Thank you.


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