May 25, 2022

Chamber urges Government to move more broadly and urgently on regulatory modernization at Senate Banking Committee

On May 17, 2022, Robin Guy, the Canadian Chamber’s Senior Director, Transportation, Infrastructure and Regulatory Policy, appeared at the Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and Trade’s Study on Bill S-6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization.

During his remarks, Guy commended the government for moving forward with an agenda to modernize regulations, however reiterated the need to move more broadly and with more urgency. Specifically, Guy recommended the government focus on three key topics: implement an economic lens mandate to new regulations; aligning regulations within Canada and abroad, and; provide regulatory certainty.

Together, these can help Canada’s economy grow.

Robin Guy’s opening remarks:
Check against delivery

Chair and Honourable Senators, it is a pleasure to be appearing at this Committee for the first time. 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on Bill S-6, and provide comment on how we believe the Federal government can improve Canada’s regulatory system.

Regulation continues to be a growing concern for many businesses and to our members.

As the pace of change facing Canadian businesses accelerates, companies must remain agile and adapt to remain competitive. The right policy environment sets industry up to succeed in this rapidly changing context and generates long-term economic growth. Making Canada an attractive destination for business investment that will support economic growth requires getting the fundamentals right. Regulatory effectiveness is an integral dimension of competitiveness.

Bill S-6 represents needed change to the federal regulatory system and the need for continued commitment to its modernization. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcome any incremental steps towards regulatory modernization.

While I commend the government for pushing a regulatory modernization agenda, I would challenge the government to move more boldly, and more urgently.

I would like to commend the government for opening the Government’s “Let’s Talk Federal Regulations” portal.  The ability for business to provide feedback on regulations is critical in moving the file forward.

In the time available, allow me to focus on a few points of interest moving forward.

First, the government must look to implement an economic mandate to federal regulators.

Too often regulators do not give sufficient considerations to economic and impacts on business when making decisions. To remain competitive, this cannot be the case. We would urge the government to adopt an economic and competitive lens mandate for regulators, to ensure it does not hinder growth for Canadian business.

Second is Regulatory Alignment across jurisdictions, including both international, and within Canada.

When regulations are more consistent between jurisdictions, Canadian business are better able to trade within Canada and beyond, while also giving Canadian consumers greater choice.

The government must actively work to improve collaboration and alignment to ensure Canadian businesses are not at a disadvantage in the global economy by “made in Canada” regulatory approaches that won’t undermine our ability to compete with other jurisdictions.

Third, and lastly, the Government must publicly pledge to provide regulatory certainty to Canadian business. While unpredictable and burdensome regulations hold back entrepreneurial businesses, sound and effective regulation can both protect the public interest and promote market success. Uncertainty and changing expectations in the regulatory process are a ‘poison pill’ to those looking to invest billions of dollars developing new pipelines, new mines and other large-scale nation building infrastructure projects

The government needs to focus on facilitating and safely removing unnecessary barriers to level-up Canada’s competitiveness with other jurisdictions. The bill before the Committee is a positive step forward.

Honourable Senators, the status quo is can’t be used as an excuse not to act. Modernizing Canada’s regulatory system provides an opportunity for government to work with business on becoming more competitive. It’s an opportunity to grow our economy coming out of the pandemic. It does not require expensive new programs.

Thank you again for the opportunity to address the Committee and I look forward to your questions.

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