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Canadian Chamber Addresses Federal Regulatory Modernization Initiatives Before OGGO Committee

Canadian Chamber Addresses Federal Regulatory Modernization Initiatives Before OGGO Committee

On June 12, 2024, we addressed the Federal Regulatory Modernization Initiatives before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO).

On June 12, 2024, Alex Greco, Senior Director of Manufacturing and Value Chains at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, addressed the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) on Federal Regulatory Modernization Initiatives.

Representing 400 chambers of commerce and over 200,000 businesses, we emphasized the need for streamlined, efficient regulations to foster economic growth and business investment in Canada, and highlighted the regulatory burdens that stifle business operations, particularly for small enterprises, and called for a collaborative, transparent approach to regulatory reform.

The full recording and remarks can be found below.

Mr. Chair, Honourable Members:

It is a pleasure to once again appear before you on behalf of 400 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 200,000 businesses of all sizes from all sectors of the economy and from every part of the country.

As I have already had the chance to share an opening statement with this committee and I am looking forward to taking as many questions as I can from you, I will keep my opening remarks fairly brief.

As I mentioned in my last appearance, the regulatory burden is an ongoing issue for Canadian business. It stifles business growth and investment in Canada. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada ranks second last among a group of 31 countries in terms of business investment growth.

The relatively poor investment performance of Canada compared to other countries suggests that businesses see less opportunity in Canada, spelling trouble for the country’s future economic growth prospects.

While our members frequently bring forward specific regulatory challenges, they all lead to a broader general theme: the government is moving too slowly on regulatory modernization, while taking a piecemeal approach. As a result, the complexity of our regulatory system continues to stifle economic growth.

Canada also has a complex network of overlapping regulations from all levels of government that make a lot of things more expensive and difficult than they need to be for businesses.

Every hour and every dollar businesses spend dealing with redundant paperwork and confusing compliance issues is an hour or dollar not spent on running and growing a business. This is especially true for small businesses, which often lack the specialized staff and financial resources of larger companies to deal with regulation and compliance.

Moreover, while some steps have been taken to strengthen interprovincial trade with the launch of the Canadian Internal Trade Data and Information Hub, we have missed opportunities to reduce interprovincial trade barriers. Internal trade barriers cost Canada’s economy more than $14 billion each year. Progress on strengthening on internal trade is necessary to reducing barriers, ensuring an open market and the free flow of people, and goods across Canada.

Regulatory modernization does not mean de-regulation or lessening of environmental, labour, safety or any other important societal standards. Rather, it means writing regulations smarter, more efficiently, and in a manner that focuses on economic growth and business investment.

Now is time for the government to move boldly and urgently on a collaborative, transparent, whole-of-government approach to regulatory reform.

The three recommendations I put forward in my last appearance were as follows:

First, the government must move to implement an economic and competitiveness mandate to federal regulators.

Second is regulatory alignment across domestic and international jurisdictions.

Finally, the government should pledge to provide regulatory certainty to businesses.

The Canadian Chamber also recently submitted recommendations to the President of the Treasury Board regarding the reignition of the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).

Our relationship with our most important trading partner is of the utmost priority. And it was good to see yesterday that Canada and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to regulatory cooperation. In such a competitive global environment, we need to streamline and align regulatory processes, promote trade, pursue mutual recognition, and enhance the efficiency of cross border operations between our two countries.

A reinvigorated RCC will do just that, while promoting Canadian prosperity, sustainability, and safety.
With nearly $3.5 billion CAD of trade crossing our border every day, we must do everything we can to ensure regulatory alignment that will support further growth in trade and market access.

That said, I cannot stress enough that for Canada to be a competitive trading partner globally, we must have our own house in order. This will require not just regulatory harmonization with the United States but addressing the web of overlapping regulations between Canadian jurisdictions.

As I said previously, when regulations are more consistent between jurisdictions, businesses are better able to trade within Canada and beyond.

Thank you for the opportunity to bring further testimony to the Honourable members of this committee. I look forward to your questions.

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