Agreement on Internal Trade—For Consumers
Modernizing internal trade in Canada:
What's in it for you?
It may come as a surprise that, while you can easily cross from one province or territory to another, some goods—like beer and wine—can't always do the same.
Have you ever taken a trip to a different province, found a product you love and then later discovered that it is not available back home?
One reason is Canada's internal trade rules.
Why? Over time, governments have introduced different standards and regulations that vary across provinces and territories. So it can be a bit tricky for businesses to modify their products and services and complete all the necessary paperwork to meet the requirements in each jurisdiction. This means that some Canadian products and services can't be easily offered Canada-wide.
As Garrison is reaching out to new markets across the country, we appreciate any government efforts to eliminate barriers and support the growth and diversity of the craft beer sector. We welcome initiatives that give Canadians more options and choices to enjoy their favourite craft beer.
Canada's Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is over 20-years-old. It needs to be updated and modernized and while we've seen some progress, it's slow because you're negotiating things that are in, rather than what the exclusions are so it's a very important discussion for us.
I will work closely with my provincial colleagues to determine how to make this agreement even more effective and facilitate trade between us. Quebec will play an active role on the Council of the Federation. Eliminating barriers to internal trade paves the way for our businesses to grow. We stand to win by having an economic environment that is open, reliable and efficient. We must continue to make much-needed amendments, taking into account advances on the international trade agreement front.
—M. Jacques Daoust, Minister of the Economy,
Innovation and Exports, Government of Quebec, May 30, 2014
I think there's agreement in terms of the government of Canada's approach and the government of Saskatchewan in seeking as free and open and fair trade as we possibly can. The Agreement on Internal Trade, to not put too fine a point on it, has moved at a glacial pace in terms of any sort of advancement.
Minister of Trade, Government of Saskatchewan, June 21, 2014
Gray Monk Estate Winery prides itself on producing high-quality 100-percent Canadian made wines. We applaud the decision of the federal government to pass Bill C-311, allowing the sale of wine across Canada without restriction. While this has been a great step forward, after two years only a few provinces have followed through. Restrictions by most provincial jurisdictions still limit our ability to provide our wines to Canadian consumers. We fully support and will collaborate with all wine industry proponents looking to work together to allow the open and unencumbered sale of Canadian wines to all Canadian consumers. We welcome the opportunity to further this process by hosting Minister Moore's roundtable discussion.
Because of the complexity and the dynamic effects of barriers and potential barriers, it is frankly impossible to come up with an estimate of their costs that will not be subject to legitimate criticism by the friends of the status quo. … Yet here is what we can state with confidence: Such barriers exist, they leave us all far worse off materially and the harm compounds with time. Worst of all, the barriers are an affront to our rights of citizenship, preventing Canadians from buying from and selling to one another and pursuing their lawful occupation in any part of this country. That cost is not forgone economic progress, but violated rights and obstructed nationbuilding. Confederation was in part about tearing down these barriers between Canadians. The job is far from done.
—Brian Lee Crowley
Managing Director, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, August 8, 2014
Our fundamental approach to internal trade in Canada remains flawed. Instead of slowly whittling away at barriers, we need to think of Canada as a single domestic market. But instead of looking for creative ways to move beyond the AIT, Canadians have come to accept the imperfect system as the ‘best available option.’ It won't be easy, but with the right political leadership it's possible for us to hammer out a new, pan-Canadian agreement on internal trade.
CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, December 17, 2013
It makes no sense for Canada to provide greater benefits to our trading partners than to companies, workers and consumers within our country. We urge all levels of government to cooperate in the elimination of all unnecessary barriers.
Improving the competitiveness of the Canadian economy and expanding access to new business opportunities are shared overarching priorities for both business and government. For that reason, we, as national associations representing businesses and professionals, support the call for Canada's leaders to dismantle internal trade barriers and ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between all parts of the country.
Where our own trade is concerned, we'd recommend a joint industry-union-government working group to come up with proposals on the removal of barriers. We, and our counterparts in industry, have done extensive research into the impediments to the free movement of our members and we have workable ideas on how to dismantle them. The movement towards freer interprovincial trade will get bogged down in bureaucratic mire if the entire process is carried on behind closed doors. The movement of goods and people between provinces is too important a subject to be left to the politicians.
—Joseph Maloney, International Vice-President,
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, August 8, 2014
Other Actions for Consumers
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