January 15, 2020 – Federal, provincial and territorial governments (“Parties”) have committed to review their own Party-specific exceptions under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).

The CFTA has been amended to allow Parties to remove or narrow their own Party-specific exceptions more quickly and efficiently. Parties will now be able to remove their exceptions without requiring the approval of all Parties and to narrow their exceptions through a more streamlined process. This amendment will facilitate the liberalization of trade across Canada, and help reduce and eliminate barriers to internal trade.

Exceptions under the CFTA provide flexibility for Parties to maintain measures (e.g., legislation and regulations) that would otherwise be inconsistent with the obligations in the Agreement. Reducing or narrowing these exceptions will open up new opportunities across the country that will benefit Canadians.

At the May 29, 2019, Committee on Internal Trade meeting, Ministers directed officials to draft the First Protocol of Amendment outlining the proposed amendments to the Agreement. All 14 Parties have now signed the First Protocol of Amendment, which gives legal effect to these changes in the Agreement.

The updated agreement has been posted to the CFTA website at: https://www.cfta-alec.ca/canadian-free-trade-agreement/.

CFTA Parties will continue to work collaboratively to eliminate internal trade barriers and encourage the free movement of goods, services, labour and investment across Canada.