Alberta tops CFIB report card on interprovincial trade

A new CFIB report card grades governments and suggests a more ambitious approach to reducing barriers to internal trade and cooperation

by Morinville Online Staff

The Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) agreement came into effect July 1, 2017. To mark the fifth anniversary,  the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) created a new report card called The State of Internal Trade: Canada’s Interprovincial Cooperation Report Card.

That report card indicates Alberta tops the country with a score of 8.3 out of 10, resulting in a B. Manitoba and Saskatchewan followed in second and third with scores of 8.1 and 7.5, respectively.

“The signing of the CFTA signalled that Canadian governments were finally serious about reducing barriers to the movement of goods, services, labour, and investment. But progress has been slow, and many high-profile barriers remain. For example, if you visit a winery, distillery, or brewery in one province, you still can’t ship a box of product home to most other provinces. Isn’t this long overdue for a fix?” said CFIB Executive Vice-President Laura Jones in a media release Thursday.

The CFTA uses a negative list approach. What this means is that everything is acceptable, unless a specific exemption is taken. Alberta achieved a 10 out of 10 on the report card for its exceptions. CFTA signatories also created a Regulatory Cooperation Table (RCT) to address regulatory differences that act as barriers to trade.

The report card, shown below, grades governments in three areas: exceptions to the CFTA, select barriers to internal trade, and implementation status of reconciliation agreements. Overall grades range from a low “F” to a high of a “B”, with some grades in the subcategories being higher.

The 2022 report card grades are:

Jurisdiction I. Total Exceptions to the CFTA in 2021 II. Select Barriers to
Internal Trade
III. Implementation Status of Reconciliation Agreements Overall Inter-Provincial/Territorial Cooperation
Score and Grade
AB 10.0 A 4.2 D- 8.8 A- 8.3 B
MB 8.6 B+ 4.2 D- 9.5 A 8.1 B
SK 8.3 B 3.7 F 8.8 A- 7.5 B-
NS 6.2 C- 3.8 F 9.0 A 6.8 C
BC 7.6 B- 3.3 F 7.5 B- 6.7 C
ON 4.8 D- 5.0 D- 9.0 A 6.5 C-
PEI 5.2 D 1.7 F 6.3 C- 4.9 D-
NT 5.5 D+ 0.0 F 5.6 D+ 4.5 D-
NU 4.8 D- 0.0 F 5.6 D+ 4.2 D-
NL 4.8 D- 0.0 F 5.6 D+ 4.2 D-
NB 2.1 F 1.7 F 7.2 C+ 4.0 D-
YT 0.7 F 0.0 F 8.8 A- 3.8 F
QC 0.0 F 2.5 F 7.0 C 3.3 F
FED 2.1 F 7.2 C+ 4.6 D-

CFIB offers the federal government several recommendations, including working quickly to remove internal trade and labour mobility barriers, providing better and more transparent data on progress, particularly on the implementation of reconciliation agreements, and proactively engaging stakeholders.

“The low grades on our first report card do not indicate that no progress has been made. Rather, they reflect that much more work remains,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB.

“At one time, eliminating unnecessary barriers to working and trading across Canada was less urgent. Today, with labour shortages and cost pressures mounting, wasting time and money is a luxury few can afford.”

For more information on grades and marking criteria, refer to Canada’s Interprovincial Cooperation Report Card.

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