December 13, 2021 – Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for the Canadian Free Trade Agreement met today to discuss their joint efforts to reduce interprovincial trade barriers. This virtual Committee on Internal Trade meeting was chaired by Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation for British Columbia. Ministers began by emphasizing that an open and efficient internal market for the movement of goods, services, workers, and investment is key to driving Canada’s economic recovery, particularly given the current economic challenges associated with the global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and disrupted supply chains.
Ministers acknowledged the collective efforts to-date to remove barriers to trade, and took stock of progress since the CFTA came into force in 2017.
Ministers reviewed the status of ongoing negotiations regarding trade in financial services and trade in non-medical cannabis. They instructed officials to conclude negotiations by July 2022 for trade in non-medical cannabis and exchange final offers for trade in financial services by December 2022. Ministers were also updated on the progress of the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table’s work to reduce internal trade barriers, including the adoption of the 2021-2022 Work Plan.
Several jurisdictions have been collaborating on a working group to explore feasible models for interprovincial direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales of alcoholic beverages for personal consumption. Those jurisdictions prepared to accelerate this work will finalize a DTC model and form an implementation taskforce.
Ensuring Canadians can pursue economic opportunities across the country remains a priority. To this end, ministers received a report on remaining impediments to interprovincial labour mobility from the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, and discussed initiatives their jurisdictions are working on to drive further progress in this area.
Ministers also welcomed the Government of Canada’s April 2021 budget announcement of $21 million over three years to help strengthen internal trade. They engaged in a dialogue on how to collaboratively advance this budget commitment, including the option of creating a repository of open and accessible pan-Canadian internal trade data.
CIT ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continued collaboration to strengthen internal trade in Canada.