Premiers Deliver Progress on Internal Trade Barriers
OTTAWA, December 4, 2018 – Working toward a seamless internal market within Canada is essential to growing the economy and creating jobs. Premiers agree on the urgent need to accelerate the pace of reducing impediments to economic growth. At the Council of the Federation’s 2018 summer meeting, Premiers announced that Premiers Pallister and McNeil will coordinate with provincial and territorial Trade Ministers on this work.
Significant progress has since been made through the concerted efforts of provinces and territories. This lays the foundation for meaningful actions to address barriers in several key areas, including alcoholic beverages, transport regulations, occupational health and safety, and business registration. Premiers today announced that provinces and territories have agreed to move forward with the following actions:
Premiers maintain their shared focus on supporting consumer choice and reducing trade barriers for alcoholic beverages, balanced with a strong focus on trade compliance, social responsibility and consideration of the impact of alcohol consumption on communities.
As agreed in principle at the Premiers’ 2018 summer meeting provinces and territories are moving to address personal exemption limits relative to alcohol transported by individuals across
provincial/territorial boundaries for personal use. Seven provinces and territories are prepared to join Alberta and Manitoba in setting no prescribed limits. Four provinces and territories are prepared to move forward with significant increases to their prescribed personal use limits. Premiers underscored their shared commitment to promoting responsible alcohol consumption and to working to address illegal alcohol sales.
Provinces and territories are developing an action plan to enhance trade in alcoholic beverages to support improved consumer choice and convenience and enhanced sales channels for producers. Premiers have tasked responsible ministers with overseeing the timely implementation of this plan.
The value of harmonized transportation regulations for industry and consumers is recognized by Premiers. Provinces and territories have agreed in principle to allow the use of wide-base single tires at weight parity with conventional dual tires on all major trade routes in Canada by the end of 2019. Given the different geographic and climate conditions across Canada, some jurisdictions may do so through a permit-based system. This initiative is expected to result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower transportation costs for industries due to higher fuel efficiency, while ensuring the integrity of provincial/territorial and municipal road networks. Premiers directed Transportation Ministers to accelerate efforts to address additional trade irritants in the trucking industry.
Occupational Health and Safety Equipment
Premiers agree that inconsistent requirements for occupational health and safety equipment, such as the size and number of bandages in a first aid kit, are unacceptable irritants to businesses operating within Canada. All provinces and territories have agreed to adopt and recognize common standards for first aid kits, head protection, eye and face protection, hearing protection, foot protection, and personal floatation devices and life jackets. Businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions will no longer need to bear the time and expense of navigating multiple varying regulations in these areas. Premiers have directed responsible ministers to build on this achievement with common standards in additional areas.
Businesses can face significant red tape when operating in multiple Canadian jurisdictions, including duplicative reporting and registration fees. A new multi-jurisdictional registry access system (MRAS) is being developed that will enable streamlined registration and mutual recognition for multi-jurisdictional businesses. The system is expected to be in operation by 2020. Premiers emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum and completing this work as soon as possible, and directed responsible ministers to continue to explore ways to ease the administrative burdens associated with business registration and reporting requirements. Additionally, Premiers have committed to addressing registration red tape for businesses who manufacture pressure equipment such as boilers. Provinces and territories are in the process of enabling mutual recognition of Canadian Registration Numbers (CRN) for pressure equipment, removing redundant and expensive reviews by individual jurisdictions.
Further Action on Internal Trade
Premiers remain committed to leading ongoing, focused work towards breaking down remaining barriers to internal trade. In advance of the upcoming First Ministers’ Meeting on the economy, Premiers called on the Prime Minister to ensure that the federal government addresses trade barriers in its areas of jurisdiction, including reducing the high number of federal procurement exceptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), and working with provinces and territories on collaborative implementation of initiatives in areas such as meat and food inspection, and energy efficiency standards.
Premiers emphasized that enhancing trade within Canada goes beyond eliminating regulatory barriers. Premiers agree on the necessity of moving Canada’s resources to market in timely, predictable, fair and sustainable ways that Canadians trust through strategic infrastructure including roads, railways, bridges, ports, tunnels, pipelines, transmission lines and airports to help grow our economy. The federal government also has a responsibility to work closely with provinces and territories to ensure Canada is viewed as a safe and reliable place to conduct business.
Premiers noted that the CFTA includes a commitment to ongoing ambition and enhanced trade. Discussions are underway in a number of key areas, including financial services, cannabis for non-medical purposes, and review of party-specific exemptions. Premiers also underscored the importance of strengthening and increasing trade relationships within Canada by promoting the CFTA, developing integrated Canadian supply chains, supporting Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut in their ability to participate in the food sector, and encouraging Canadian businesses to work together to ensure manufacturers are more aware of Canadian suppliers.
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