CFIB Challenges federal and provincial governments to ensure Canadian Free Trade Agreement reduces red tape

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by Mornville News Staff

On Day three of its annual Red Tape Awareness Week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on 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 identified corporate registration and reporting, agricultural regulations, transportation regulations, professional and trade licensing, and workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety as five priority areas needing immediate action by the RCT:

“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,” Jones said. “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? When we don’t have that mutual recognition, we end up with silly situations like retraining workers to use the same equipment.”

The business advocacy organization is recommending a common corporate registry, with provisions for information sharing between provinces, to eliminate the need to register a business multiple times. Additionally, aligning regulations for wide-load transportation to eliminate cases where inches of difference can cost thousands of extra dollars is something CFIB sees as a priority as well as broadening mutual recognition of trade and professional certifications, so elevator technicians and dental hygienists, among others, can work in different provinces without having to get re-certified.

Last year’s Red Tape Challenge called on provinces to legislate a one-for-one rule whereby one regulatory requirement is removed for every new one added. That process 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.

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