Provinces and Feds Challenged to Ensure Canadian Free Trade Agreement Reduces Red Tape

Provinces and Feds Challenged to Ensure Canadian Free Trade Agreement Reduces Red Tape

CFIB’s Red Tape Challenge 2018: resolve at least three regulatory barriers to internal trade

Toronto – As part of its annual Red Tape Awareness Week™, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is challenging federal and provincial governments to resolve at least three regulatory issues in 2018 through the newly launched Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT). The table was established under the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), which came into effect in July 2017.

“This year we are challenging governments to make the new trade agreement a success by eliminating persistent cross-provincial red tape frustrations that have plagued the country for years,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategic Officer.

CFIB has previously put forward five priority areas for immediate action by the RCT: corporate registration and reporting, agricultural regulations, transportation regulations, professional and trade licensing, and workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety.

“Canadians continue to be subjected to dumb rules, such as not being able to take beer across provincial lines. But there are lots of other equally nonsensical obstacles. If you’re doing business in different provinces, for example, you have to comply with different eye protection, foot protection and fall protection rules. Gravity works the same way everywhere so why can’t the provinces simply agree to mutually recognize each other’s rules?” asked Jones. “When we don’t have that mutual recognition, we end up with silly situations like retraining workers to use the same equipment.”

CFIB is recommending:

  • A common corporate registry, with provisions for information sharing between provinces, to eliminate the need to register a business multiple times.
  • Aligning regulations for wide-load transportation, to eliminate cases where inches of difference can cost thousands of extra dollars.
  • Broadening mutual recognition of trade and professional certifications, so elevator technicians and dental hygienists, for instance, can work in different provinces without having to get re-certified.

Last year’s Red Tape Challenge, a call to legislate a one-for-one rule (where one regulatory requirement is removed for every new one added), is now law in both Manitoba and Quebec. British Columbia first introduced the one-for-one rule and continues to have it in place as a matter of policy. Federally, Canada is the first country in the world to legislate a one-for-one rule.

CFIB is asking all provinces to rise to this new Red Tape Challenge on internal trade.

“Failure to make meaningful progress on issues like these by the end of 2018 would be a clear signal to Canada’s small business community that the new CFTA is not an improvement over the old interprovincial trade deal,” said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s Senior Vice-President, National Affairs and Partnerships. “However, we are still optimistic our federal and provincial governments are keen to make progress. We will continue to provide them with ideas about where to start and will be cheering them on.”

About Red Tape Awareness Week:

Now in its ninth year, Red Tape Awareness Week™ (January 22–26) highlights the cost and impact of excessive regulations. The annual campaign continues to influence governments across the country to launch red tape reduction initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow #redtape.

About CFIB:

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at