Comeau Case Highlights Larger Domestic Trade Barriers, say Canadian Chamber and CFIB

Supreme Court to hear case about transportation of alcohol across provincial borders last week

Ottawa — The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case this week which could significantly break down unnecessary barriers to the trade of goods and services throughout the country, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The Chamber and CFIB are both interveners in the R vs Comeau case, which arose after a New Brunswick retiree, Mr. Comeau, was fined for purchasing alcohol in Quebec and transporting it over the border between the two provinces. He challenged the fine and won. The province appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

“It is a sad commentary that 150 years after Confederation, costly internal barriers often make it easier for Canadian businesses to import goods from abroad than from another province, ” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Chamber. “The restrictions governments have put in place over the years drive up costs, limit consumer choice and make it harder for companies to secure the skilled workers they need. Now is the time to finally achieve the dream of the Fathers of Confederation to have a prosperous country free of economic barriers,” Mr. Beatty added.

“Mr. Comeau’s challenge highlights the fact that, despite efforts over the years by governments to make internal trade easier, hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized firms still struggle to grow their business across Canada under similar outdated constraints. At a time when our country is engaging in crucial trade talks with several global economies, we can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to enhance free enterprise here within our own borders,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President, National Affairs at CFIB.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region. Visit for more information or follow us on Twitter @CFIB.