Dismantling barriers to trade between provinces continues to be a top priority for Alberta’s government.
Despite recent headway, barriers within Canada remain high, impeding economic growth and raising costs to businesses and consumers.
To make progress on this issue, the Government of Alberta commissioned the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) to carry out an independent study on the potential of adopting mutual recognition policies to reduce interprovincial trade barriers.
The report lays out the benefits of mutual recognition, a system where a good or service that meets regulatory requirements in one jurisdiction is deemed to automatically satisfy the requirements of another.
The MLI study finds that implementing these policies would have positive economic effects, increasing Canada’s economy by between 4.4 and 7.9 per cent, which would add between $100 billion to $200 billion in economic output over the longer term.
“This MLI study confirms what I have been saying for years: that ending the patchwork of different rules and regulations across Canada would make us all more prosperous. Alberta has been leading the way on free movement of goods and people, unilaterally dropping 80 per cent of our exceptions under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, and passing the Labour Mobility Act.
“Mutual recognition of regulations would be a massive step toward achieving the dream of Canada as an economic union. I encourage all premiers to join me by advancing this work as quickly as possible. I encouraged premiers to do so again during the Sept. 27 Council of the Federation meeting, and have written to them urging ambitious action on this front to increase our country’s prosperity at no cost to taxpayers.”
At the July 2022 Council of the Federation meeting, all of Canada’s premiers agreed with an Alberta proposal to stress the importance of improving internal trade and accelerating work underway on the mutual recognition of regulations.
To continue its leadership on internal trade and mobility, Alberta will build on the recently passed Labour Mobility Act to make it easier for Canadians moving here by dramatically reducing the number of documents they must submit to get their professional licenses recognized. In the near future, Canadian professionals who want to work in Alberta will only have to demonstrate that they are licensed in good standing in another province.
Alberta leads all provinces in reducing barriers to trade and labour mobility, most notably by eliminating the vast majority of its exemptions to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
Alberta has received the highest grade among provinces from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses on internal trade in 2022 and by the Montreal Economic Institute in 2021.
Alberta has passed the Labour Mobility Act to speed up certification of professional credentials for Canadians coming to work in Alberta.
The study analyzed the use of mutual recognition in other jurisdictions (e.g., Australia and New Zealand) as a model to improve trade between provinces.