Premier Jason Kenney has announced that Alberta will unilaterally drop half of its exceptions to the 2017 Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
Alberta is also launching a fast-track review of its few remaining exceptions to cut needless red tape and create jobs.
Eliminating procurement exceptions from internal trade agreements means more competition for contracts, which in turn will save Alberta taxpayers money. It will also ensure that Alberta companies are not shut out of larger markets across Canada.
“As part of our government’s job-creation strategy, we are taking the bold step to drop all provincial exceptions to the 2017 Canada Free Trade Agreement related to procurement. I encourage other provinces to do the same.
“While there has been some progress toward free trade within Canada, we need to be more ambitious. That is why we’re also extending an invitation to other provinces to join the more trade-friendly New West Partnership Agreement.
“We are also challenging other provinces to improve labour mobility by moving faster mutual recognition of licensed professionals and trades, and if this is not possible multilaterally, we are exploring how Alberta could do so unilaterally.
“Alberta is proud to take a leadership role on an ambitious free enterprise agenda to benefit our province and promote national economic growth.”Jason Kenney, Premier
The removal of ineffective and inefficient regulations is a key part of the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan to accelerate investment and get Albertans back to work.
Premier Kenney made the announcement at the gathering of Canada’s Premiers at the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon. He also challenged his fellow Premiers to move to automatic mutual recognition of professional and trades qualifications wherever possible.
*Internal barriers to trade and labour mobility within Canada cost the economy between $50 billion and $130 billion every year — much more significant than the benefits of recent free trade agreements with Asia or Europe. According to Statistics Canada, this is the equivalent of a seven per cent tariff on goods crossing provincial borders. By comparison, no such drag was found on trade between U.S. states.
The following exceptions will be unilaterally removed:
- Procurement by the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Assembly Office and the Legislative Offices
- Procurement by Alberta Innovates
- Procurement by the Alberta Energy Regulator
- Procurement by the Alberta Electric System Operator
- Procurement by the Alberta Utilities Commission
- Procurement of goods purchased for representational or promotional purposes, and services and construction purchased for representational or promotional purposes outside of Alberta
- Procurement of local food under the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act
- Procurement of waste water treatment facilities
- Procurement for the production, transmission and distribution of renewable energy, other than hydro-electricity
- The right to accord a preference in infrastructure procurements to bids that provide benefits to Alberta
- Procurement under exceptional circumstances for regional economic development purposes
- Notice of intention to create a Crown corporation which would be responsible for all infrastructure procurement by the provincial government and which would be subject to the Crown corporation procurement thresholds
- The right to adopt or maintain any measure that is part of a framework of regional economic development
While these exceptions may take some time to be removed officially from the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, the Premier is directing his government that, effective immediately, these exceptions are not to be used going forward.