Surrey Board of Trade Informs Federal Government on Strengthening Internal Trade Between Provinces and Territories

The Federal Government’s consultation ended yesterday on the Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The Surrey Board of Trade submitted their feedback by the deadline.

RECOMMENDATIONS to strengthen internal trade in Canada:

1.     Achieve alignment in issues such as construction safety programs and similar safety focused regulation and permits, workers’ compensation, safety measures and ratings;

2.     Harmonize regulations that affect vehicle requirements;

3.     Harmonize reporting at the provincial level (e.g. environmental reporting);

4.     Focus on an effective series of national regulations in the food industry to deal with labeling and sale;

5.     Attain consistency in weights and dimensions requirements for the trucking industry;

6.     Standardize regulations for industrial equipment across all jurisdictions. This would significantly lower the costs to contractors and owners and ultimately to the project owner;

7.     Eliminate the need for domestic wine producers to sell through provincial liquor boards;

8.     Establish a national system for the consistent authorization of professional engineering companies, and the recognition of generally acceptable engineering and inspection standards;

9.     Allow provincially registered meat plants to trade inter-provincially;

10.   Mutually accept corporate registries and generally acceptable engineering and inspection standards;

11.   Unify the national standards for training of employees and licensing, regulations and code interpretation;

12.   Allow all provincially or federally registered and incorporated companies to operate freely in all jurisdictions. Professionals registered in one province (e.g. engineers, geologists, geoscientists, architects etc.) should be able to work within all jurisdictions without further registration requirements provided they are fully informed of the local provincial requirements for operations in that jurisdiction;

13.   Develop a national teacher certification body;

14.   The most obvious financial issue is the local of harmonization of provincial or value added taxes across the provinces. Different rates are but one issue, but also the different application to various commodities and different records and reporting are onerous.

Firms of less than 50 employees were less likely to operate in a province in which they have encountered a barrier to trade. Large companies, more than 500 employees, were more likely to work with the government to resolve the barrier than smaller companies.

The Surrey Board of Trade has been advocating for change in reducing the barriers between our provinces and territories for many years. Canada’s Free Trade Agreement was implemented on July 1, 2017. A further opportunity now exists to provide input into strengthening internal trade in Canada. Regulatory reconciliation is an outcome whereby existing regulatory measures no longer act as a barrier to trade, investment or labour mobility in Canada. Reconciliation can be achieved in a number of ways, including through mutual recognition, harmonization of requirements, equivalency, or some other method.

“We know that the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) will continue to reduce barriers to trade, investment, and worker mobility. It will increase choice for consumers, expand access to government contracts, and create more jobs for Canadians,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.

The intent is to establish an open, efficient, and stable Canadian market that will also be effective for international trade by:

(a) Eliminating existing barriers and avoiding new barriers to trade, investment, and labour mobility within Canada and to facilitate the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investments within Canada;

(b) Ensuring non-discriminatory treatment of persons, goods, services, and investments, irrespective of where they originate in Canada;

(c) Reconciling occupational standards and regulatory measures to provide for the free movement of persons and the removal of barriers to trade and investment within Canada.