OTTAWA, June 7 /CNW/ - Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments need to do more to strengthen domestic trade, labour mobility and economic growth, says a national coalition of business groups.
Speaking in advance of the June 10 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial trade ministers, the coalition urged governments across Canada to put in place an effective dispute-resolution process that would protect Canadian individuals, companies and organizations from unfair barriers to trade or labour mobility.
During their annual conference in Regina last summer, Canada's premiers acknowledged the need for improvements to the so-called "person-to-government" dispute mechanism within the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), a 16-year-old pact that was intended to begin the process of dismantling interprovincial trade barriers.
Much has been accomplished under the AIT since 1994, the business coalition says. Yet even after all this time, consumers and businesses - the two groups most affected by interprovincial trade barriers - still have no access to a comprehensive dispute resolution mechanism, including an appeals process, monetary penalties and measures to enforce compliance. Currently, such protections only apply to grievances among the governments themselves.
In April 2008, the business coalition proposed four key steps that, taken together, would strengthen internal trade:
1. Federal legislation to establish a set of "open trade principles"
designed to ensure a free and open market, without discriminatory
2. The creation of a standing internal trade tribunal that would be
accessible to all Canadians as a means of resolving internal trade
3. Implementation of all outstanding rulings by panels established under
the AIT; and,
4. An agreement that all tribunal orders and existing panel decisions
would be subject to enforcement by the courts at the option of the
Coalition members include the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, the Dairy Processors Association of Canada and the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada.
For further information: For further information: Carole Presseault, Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, CGA-Canada, Cell: (613) 796-0422, Email: email@example.com; Sean McPhee, President, Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada, Cell: (416) 970-6878, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org