What We Heard Report on Regulatory Cooperation stakeholder consultations
Notice to Readers
This report reflects the input received from stakeholders prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and may not fully reflect their current positions. As it is being posted a year after the date of the consultation, the Government of Canada may have already taken action on some of the initiatives outlined in the report. See the Modernizing regulations web page for updates on regulatory modernization initiatives.
Between November 2017 and April 2018, 3 consultations were held to identify opportunities to advance regulatory cooperation both within Canada and internationally. Stakeholders submitted feedback highlighting work that Canada could undertake, with each of its partners, including the provinces and territories, the United States and the European Union, to improve regulatory cooperation.
Regulatory cooperation has increasingly been seen as a good regulatory practice, which has had a significant impact on the evolution of Canada’s federal regulatory policy. Since 2011, the Government of Canada has pursued formal regulatory cooperation with the United States (U.S.) through the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council. The council is a means to reduce unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens that act as barriers to trade and economic growth.
Beyond efforts with the U.S., the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which entered into force provisionally on September 21, 2017, is the first bilateral trade agreement in which Canada has included a stand-alone chapter on regulatory cooperation. This agreement has established a formal process for Canadian and European regulators to work together to align their frameworks, called the Regulatory Cooperation Forum.
Domestically, on July 1, 2017, the federal government and the provinces and territories signed the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which includes a Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table. The table will make recommendations on where federal, provincial and territorial regulatory barriers can be removed to promote trade across the country.
Through these multiple initiatives, it is clear that regulatory cooperation is increasingly important as a tool to facilitate economic growth, as well as lower costs for consumers, producers, and governments.
Overview of consultations
Stakeholders such as industry associations, businesses, other governments, and individual citizens have to comply with regulations every day. Therefore, engagement with these groups is vital in identifying regulatory barriers or inconsistencies, or opportunities to take corrective action, related to the production, distribution, trade, purchase, and selling of goods and services between jurisdictions.
As the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has been working to advance regulatory cooperation with a number of partners, 3 separate consultation processes were held between November 2017 and April 2018. Notices were posted in the Canada Gazette requesting submissions highlighting areas of regulatory cooperation work that Canada could undertake with each of its partners, that is the provinces and territories, the U.S., and the EU respectively.
Canada’s Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table
From November 4 to December 4, 2017, the Government of Canada consulted Canadians on ideas for reconciling regulations across Canada where differences impose greater costs on businesses and industry, and affect labour mobility in Canada. This consultation was undertaken to support the federal government’s participation in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement’s Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table. Canadians, businesses, and other stakeholders were encouraged to submit suggestions for regulatory reconciliation and regulatory cooperation items which focused on existing regulations that act as a barrier to trade, investment, or labour mobility within Canada. See the original consultation notice for more information.
What we heard
26 submissions were received from a wide range of stakeholders, including industry associations, companies, and consumer groups. The 26 submissions suggested over 100 proposals for regulatory reconciliation or cooperation. While a wide range of issues were raised, several themes emerged:
- Food: specific issues related to topics such as food safety, food inspections, and packaging requirements
- Trucking regulations: misalignment of trucking regulations, including issues of weight limits and wide load regulations, as a barrier to interprovincial trade
- Alcohol: barriers to the interprovincial purchase and sale of alcohol
- These issues will not be addressed under the regulatory table at this time because a separate federal-provincial/territorial working group was established under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement to determine how trade in alcoholic beverages within Canada can be further enhanced. This input has been provided to the federal representative to the alcohol working group
- Environmental regulations: misalignment of environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing policies
- Occupational health and safety: specific interest in safety equipment, first aid, and updating to more recent CSA Group standards
Ideas and feedback received as part of the consultation on the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table can be found on the Open Government portal.
Canada – U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council
From November 25, 2017 to January 8, 2018, the Government of Canada invited stakeholders to share their views on how to address regulatory differences between the U.S. and Canada through the Regulatory Cooperation Council. In particular, Canadians were invited to comment on issues to be considered for future cooperation, including proposals to align existing regulatory systems, streamlining of unnecessary or duplicative procedures, and areas that will be impacted by new technologies, which are not yet regulated.
What we heard
40 submissions were received from industry associations, businesses, and special interest groups. A key theme in stakeholder submissions was industry’s desire to be regularly engaged on the work of the council. The submissions suggested well over 100 specific regulatory cooperation ideas. Key themes included:
- Food safety: issues related to complex and duplicative inspection and testing requirements related to food safety
- Transportation of dangerous goods: more common systems related to training, documentation and certification for hazardous materials as well as more information sharing between Canada and the U.S.
- Chemicals management: expanded coordination of the approach to chemicals management between Canada and the U.S., which will include chemical risk assessments
- Mutual recognition for drug facility inspections: development of a mutual recognition agreement with the U.S. to avoid duplication of inspections by both U.S. and Canadian government health authorities
- Health product pre-market reviews: more work sharing between Canadian and U.S. health authorities on the pre-market review of health products, or faster reviews for products that have already been approved in one of the jurisdictions
All stakeholder submissions regarding the Regulatory Cooperation Council can be found on the Open Government portal.
Canada-EU Regulatory Cooperation Forum
From February 10 to April 11, 2018, the Government of Canada invited comments from all stakeholders on potential areas for regulatory cooperation with the EU under the newly established Regulatory Cooperation Forum under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. This consultation included soliciting proposals on how to align existing regulatory systems, streamline duplicative procedures, and/or work collaboratively in areas that are not currently regulated, such as emerging technologies.
What we heard
35 submissions were received from stakeholders representing industry, consumer groups and citizens. The 35 submissions suggested nearly 100 ideas for regulatory cooperation with the EU. The following themes were identified:
- Food: the production of dairy products and the processing of meat
- Transportation: motor vehicle safety, specifically the emerging of automated technology
- Chemicals management: coordinated approach between Canada and the EU on chemical risk assessments
- Pesticides: cooperating on science-based assessments for pesticides, including harmonizing maximum residue limits
Stakeholder submissions regarding the consultation on the Regulatory Cooperation Forum with the EU can be found on the Open Government portal.
The Government of Canada thanks all stakeholders for participating in these consultations on regulatory cooperation. The submissions have been shared with departments and agencies, and will be considered in the development of initiatives and commitments for regulatory cooperation between Canada and its partners in the relevant discussions. Once work plans have been agreed upon, they will be posted on this website.
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