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In his Fall Economic Statement a week ago, Finance Minister, Bill Morneau announced $13.5 million each year for five years, to make national building codes free, to develop them more quickly, and to contribute to code harmonization efforts.

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HRAI has been calling for these measures for many years, including issuing a statement in March of 2017 and maintaining ongoing advocacy since then.

During November this year, HRAI, along with three other organizations, sent an official request to Saskatchewan Premier, Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier, Brian Gallant urging harmonization of model codes through the Canadian Free Trade Agreement work plan. They requested that “First Ministers support and act upon a critical barrier to interprovincial trade…addressing the challenges of disjointed codes and regulations, restricted flow of professional trades and consistent construction sector inspections will ensure Canada is ready for the 21st century.”

In announcing the new funding, the Minister mentioned inspiration from Australia, where greater harmonization is said to have resulted in inter-state trade benefits valued at between $500,000 and $1 billion.

The Economic statement says: “For small businesses—which account for approximately 99 per cent of Canada’s construction industry—the cost of purchasing building codes, and the lack of harmonization between provincial/territorial codes and national codes, make it harder to succeed and grow. The Government is proposing to provide $67.5 million over five years to the National Research Council of Canada…to make access to the National Building Codes free, and to provide sufficient resources for the federal government to address provincial, territorial, and other stakeholder code development priorities in a more timely way.”

The HRAI statement said in part: “HRAI is supportive of the work of the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and its emphasis on harmonization of regulations with the U.S. HRAI also supports a more aggressive federal role in promoting harmonization of standards, codes and regulations among provinces…failure to do so creates unnecessary burdens on industry, increases costs to, and limits product choices for Canadians.”

HRAI is pleased with this announcement and proud of its advocacy achievements in this area. We expect most HRAI members will benefit in some way from free codes and building code harmonization.

For more information, please contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2232 ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.