WINNIPEG – We’ve all heard ‘cutting red tape’ a lot from various levels of government and business communities.
It’s a popular phrase, and one that the new Canada Free Trade Agreement looks to tackle.
Under the previous agreement, the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade, industries would have to deal with different rules in different provinces. That’s part of the reason that Canada imports so much food from outside the country.
The CFTA will look to change regulations so that all provinces follow the same rules. The hope is that this will create a more free flowing of goods across provincial lines.
To be clear, regulatory barriers have not been cleared. The agreement simply sets in motion new rules that will try to reconcile the burdensome regulations and provides a system for governments to notify businesses when changes are coming.
“The Bank of Canada has estimated that this new agreement could mean an extra $120-million dollars each and every other year for Manitoba,” says Manitoba trade minister Cliff Cullen. “That is very significant, and we’re excited about the future of Manitoba.”
The CFTA mostly impacts how governments buy goods and services, mainly in regards to where governments buy from. The CFTA prohibits governments from giving preferential treatment to local options. Now, they must give all businesses in Canada an equal playing field.
Officials believe the deal could add $25-billion to the national economy, keeping more money within our borders instead of importing goods from other countries.
Labour mobility is another key point of the deal. If you are a licensed professional or a trades person in one province, you will be allowed to work in another province without having to go through any kind of re-certification process.
One notable omission from the agreement is any discussion on the interprovincial trade of alcohol.
Instead, there is a plan for a working group to “report back to Ministers responsible for Internal Trade with recommendations to enhance trade in [alcohol] within Canada.”
The hope is that this working group will have some answers by Canada Day 2018, but some are not satisfied with this plan.
If you want to check out the entire, 335-page document (bless your soul), you can access it here.