From left to right: Minister Bloyce Thompson, Minister Cliff Cullen, Minister Rajan Sawhney, Minister Caroline Wawzonek, Minister Victor Fedeli, Minister Christopher Skeete, Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Premier Tim Houston, Premier Andrew Furey, Minister Margaret Johnson, Minister Ranj Pillai, Minister Jeremy Harrison.
December 8, 2022 – Trade ministers from across Canada convened today in Toronto to advance the ongoing implementation of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The Honourable Ranj Pillai, the Yukon’s Minister of Economic Development, chaired this annual meeting of the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT).
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the CFTA. Ministers took the opportunity to reflect on the progress made to facilitate trade in goods, services, investment and labour mobility within Canada and to consider future priorities to promote internal trade. Further strengthening Canada’s internal market is critical for supporting continued and sustainable economic growth, reducing supply chain constraints, and addressing affordability issues among the provinces and territories.
A number of key decisions were taken by ministers to drive the internal trade agenda forward, including:
- Ministers declared the negotiations to cover trade in non-medical cannabis under the rules of the CFTA as being successfully completed.
- Ministers agreed on a path forward to complete negotiations towards a Financial Services Chapter for inclusion in the CFTA by July 1, 2023.
- Ministers recommended the relaunch of initiatives to increase economic opportunities in the Territories related to growing, harvesting and processing healthy food.
In addition, ministers reviewed the ongoing work of the CFTA’s Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) to identify and reconcile unnecessary barriers to trade. Ministers further received an update and discussed collaborative efforts, including through the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, to strengthen labour mobility across the country.
Provinces and territories discussed their priorities and recent actions to improve internal trade. The federal government also delivered an update on its priorities, including its Budget 2021 commitment to allocate $21 million to renew efforts on internal trade and provide open and accessible pan-Canadian internal trade data.
In closing the meeting, Minister Pillai reiterated the importance of supporting a strong internal market for the benefit of all Canadians. The Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Trade and Export Development, as the incoming Chair of the CIT, invited his counterparts to Saskatchewan for another engaging CIT meeting to be held in 2023.