< Browse more articles

Following a meeting of the Council of the Federation last week in St. Andrews, NB, Canada’s Premiers issued a communiqué acknowledging the urgent need to accelerate the pace of reducing barriers to trade within Canada, and declaring that they will take focused actions. This work is particularly important given the U.S. Administration’s protectionist measures and the trend away from bi-national harmonization.                                                                                    

The Premiers committed to advance the work of the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) established under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). One year ago, the CFTA came into effect, achieving broad coverage of the Canadian economy and, among other things, seeking to break down inter-provincial barriers within Canada.

The Premiers’ communiqué includes a list of measures that the CFTA-RCT will pursue. Among the measures identified are three initiatives related to standards and codes that have been priority issues for HRAI and CIPH, namely:

 1.      Timely adoption and implementation of Building Codes by provinces and territories. Provinces and territories base their codes on national code content for building, fire, plumbing and energy efficiency and jurisdictional variations to the codes remain in terms of scope of application and special requirements. Policy and historically driven variations in each jurisdiction to the national codes has resulted in barriers related to the manufacture, operation, inspection, education/training, design, cost, mobility of labour, recognition of use and certification for products, process or activities regulated by these codes for industry, trades, professionals, local governments, international jurisdictions, regulators, the public and others. Variations also occur where jurisdictions are not harmonized to national codes in a timely manner.

 2.      CRN for Pressure Equipment.  The Canadian Registration Number (CRN) is an alpha-numerical identifier which serves as proof that a pressure equipment design has been registered for use by a provincial or territorial regulator. Currently, each province and territory issues its own CRN through a separate application process. A manufacturer is required to obtain a CRN for each jurisdiction where it plans to sell its equipment. Provincial and territorial CRN application processes and associated fees vary in each jurisdiction. This has been identified by stakeholders as being confusing, time consuming, and costly. The cost, administrative burden and time associated with the CRN process can impede investment, innovation, and product choice.

 3.      Energy Efficiency Standards for Equipment.  Discrepancies between federal and provincial energy efficiency requirements for appliances can impose unnecessary regulatory burden on industry. Currently, federal energy efficiency regulations are lower than some provinces, but aligned with others. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is responsible for administering the Energy Efficiency Act and Regulations to set and enforce minimum energy performance standards for energy-using products, such as labelling requirements. These appliances are typically manufactured outside of Canada for the larger North American market.

The list of measures also includes a commitment to reduce regulatory duplication for companies doing business in multiple provinces in relation to corporate registration and workers’ compensation.

Details of how these problems will be addressed remain to be announced, but HRAI will work with CIPH and other allied associations to ensure appropriate actions are taken. 

For more information, see the News Release issued by Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Dominic LeBlanc and Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board.   A First Minister’s Meeting will be held this fall t specifically dealing with internal trade.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.