Ottawa – Industry Canada
Industry Minister James Moore today announced support for four new research projects to demonstrate the benefits to Canadian consumers of having free trade within Canada. The projects are another step in the concrete actions that the Government of Canada has been taking to free Canadian businesses, workers and consumers from the protectionist barriers that limit their success, movement and choice.
This important work will be completed by the following consumer organizations:
- The Consumers Council of Canada will identify ways in which consumer groups can harmonize trade among the provinces and territories.
- Option consommateurs will examine means of improving Canadians' views on consumer protection safeguards across Canada.
- The Public Interest Advocacy Centre will work with Canadians to determine how a new internal trade agreement could amend the dispute resolution and enforcement regimes to include direct access for consumers.
- Union des consommateurs will identify best practices in the European Union and Australia for addressing internal trade barriers and how similar barriers can be broken down in Canada.
The results of this important work will be released in June 2015.
- When the Agreement on Internal Trade came into effect nearly 20 years ago, Canada had concluded trade agreements with only two countries. Today, we have agreements in force or being finalized with 43 countries, giving Canadian businesses preferential access to over 1.1 billion consumers worldwide.
- The Agreement on Internal Trade is an intergovernmental accord on trade within Canada focused on eliminating barriers to establish an open, efficient and stable domestic market.
- Nearly 40 percent of Canada's trade occurs within its borders.
- On August 20, 2014, Minister Moore unveiled One Canada, One National Economy: Modernizing Internal Trade in Canada, which outlines two potential paths for federal, provincial and territorial partners to advance a modern internal trade framework: targeted reform that addresses priority areas of concern or a complete redesign of the Agreement on Internal Trade to bring it in line with recent international trade agreements.
- A request for proposals to create a new Internal Trade Barriers Index was launched on September 5, 2014. As outlined in Economic Action Plan 2014, the index will increase knowledge of the barriers to domestic trade and help governments identify priority areas for action.
- The Government will provide $330,000 for four consumer-focused research projects conducted by Canada's largest consumer organizations.
- The Office of Consumers Affairs' Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations works to strengthen the consumer's role in the marketplace by promoting sound research and analysis and by encouraging the financial self-sufficiency of consumer and voluntary organizations.
"Eliminating internal trade barriers will create jobs, boost economic growth and lead to more choices for Canadian consumers. While I am encouraged by the progress to date, there is still work to be done to strengthen our national economy and global competitiveness. The contribution announced today will support essential work to show how free trade within Canada will directly benefit Canadians and their families."
– James Moore, Minister of Industry
"The Consumers Council of Canada appreciates the support from the Office of Consumer Affairs, Industry Canada, for its investigation of ways consumer groups can play a strong role in achieving trade harmonization that will benefit the country's consumers. It's important that consumer groups take part in the process of interprovincial trade reform as effectively and efficiently as possible. Our research, devoted to the improvement of consumer representation in a reform effort of national significance, will be among the Council's most important ever. We hope the outcome of the research will reward all Canadians in their roles as both consumers and taxpayers."
– Aubrey LeBlanc, President, Consumers Council of Canada
"The research conducted by Option consommateurs will give the government insight into Canadians' views on standardizing consumer protection safeguards. Being a consumer organization, we think it's important to take those views into account."
– Maryse Guénette, Head of the Representation and Research Department, Option consommateurs
"Our research will seek to improve access by consumers to transparent, effective interprovincial trade dispute resolution and enforcement regimes in Canada. This should benefit all stakeholders, including Canadian businesses and their customers."
– John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre