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Federal/Provincial/Territorial Cooperation

Regulation in Canada is not solely the domain of the federal government; provincial, territorial and municipal governments also use regulation within their respective areas of jurisdiction to protect the health and safety of their citizens and of the environment, and to ensure that market forces operate efficiently and fairly.

Although regulation is premised on an over-arching definition of 'public interest', regulatory authorities for each order of government interpret the concept from the vantage point of the constituencies they serve. For federal regulators, the focus is on regulations that can be applied across the country to address public policy imperatives. While provincial, territorial and municipal regulators acknowledge the imperative for regulations that are national in scope, their focus is to develop regulations that reflect local needs, circumstances and values.

However, industry continues to cite overlapping and contradictory regulatory requirements across jurisdictions as a significant burden that diminishes their overall competitiveness, despite efforts by all orders of government to minimize regulatory overlap and duplication and to establish common regulatory standards. It is argued that, without progress on harmonization, investors will be less inclined to invest in Canada, and the cost of regulation will place Canadian exporters at a competitive disadvantage.

Areas for discussion:

What are the priorities for federal-provincial-territorial regulatory cooperation in the 21st century? In which sectors or areas is regulatory harmonization across jurisdictions most important, and why?

What are the consequences for Canada of regulatory non-cooperation?

In which sectors or areas should governments work together to harmonize the regulatory process? This could entail developing a ' single window' approach to regulatory approval by federal, provincial/territorial and municipal authorities (e.g., obtaining in a single transaction all of the regulatory information needed to seek approval to proceed; submitting a single project proposal that simultaneously addresses the separate legal, technical and operational requirements of each jurisdiction).

Are there other methods of harmonizing the regulatory process across jurisdictions that could contribute to creating a more efficient and effective system?


Last Modified:  9/22/2004

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