Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison announced the Government of Saskatchewan will sign an amendment to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) to enable the narrowing or elimination of interprovincial trade exceptions. This follows the commitment made at the Council of the Federation (COF) meetings earlier this year to collaborate on more liberalized interprovincial trade.
“Increasing interprovincial trade and market access has been a priority for our government and we will continue to work to address existing trade irritants,” Harrison said. “This amendment is another significant step that will ultimately reduce regulatory barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility and benefit all of Canada.”
Under the current process all parties must sign off on an amendment to the trade agreement which can require cabinet approvals. This is a lengthy process and can sometimes take up to two years, depending on the jurisdiction. The revised agreement allows for signatories to narrow exceptions within 45 days and eliminate exceptions immediately. At COF, Premiers agreed to undertake a full review of their own provincial exceptions by the end of 2019. Once provinces have completed their reviews, the new streamlined process to narrow or remove exceptions will enable the new and expedited process. The Governments of Alberta and Ontario have also announced that they will support modifications to the CFTA to break down barriers in order to encourage increased trade between jurisdictions in Canada.