By: The Working Forest Staff
Toronto Star — Ontario and Quebec need to work harder to harmonize regulations in a variety of sectors or risk harming the economy of both provinces, provincial trade ministers said Tuesday.
According to a report in the Toronto Star, two years after the introduction of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement eliminated many interprovincial barriers, there’s still plenty of work to be done on eliminating rules and regulations, which still have a real economic impact, Ontario’s economic development and trade minister Vic Fedeli told an audience at the Toronto Board of Trade.
“We call on Quebec, the federal government and other provinces and territories to join us in eliminating red tape. We want to expand the flow of trade across the country,” said Fedeli, in a public discussion with Quebec economy and innovation minister Pierre Fitzgibbon that was moderated by Torstar CEO and Toronto Star publisher John Boynton.
Fedeli added that cutting and harmonizing regulations could help boost what is already $80-billion in annual trade between the two provinces.
Fedeli said the transportation sector, for instance, is still ripe for change, despite some progress.
Fedeli cited the example of a tractor-trailer bringing logs from the North Bay area to a lumber processing facility in Temiscaming, Que.
“You’d stop just after you crossed the border, unhitch your tractor, then drive back to Ontario. Then a tractor would come from Quebec, and pull the trailer 60 feet into the parking lot of the plant. That’s what we’re talking about when we mean red tape and regulation. That’s gone today, but there’s still much more to be done in the transportation sector,” said Fedeli.
Fedeli said he and Fitzgibbon were recently at a roundtable with business leaders from both provinces. They heard a raft of complaints about regulations being different on either side of the provincial border. He called on businesses in both provinces to continue making their voices heard.
“Tell us what they are, so we can work on solving them. You can’t fix what you can’t see,” said Fedeli.
In a report last year titled Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called the interprovincial regulatory differences “a tyranny of small variances.”
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