Trade with EU easier than it is within Canada: CFIB

Premiers urged to strengthen inter-provincial trade, support TFWP.

TORONTO — With Canada recently opening up international markets with historic trade agreements, it’s time to drop trade barriers between the provinces, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The CFIB is urging premiers who meet this week in Charlottetown to use international agreements like the Canada-EU free trade agreement as a model for modernizing trade within Canada’s borders.

In a letter sent to each premier, the CFIB called on each one to:

• put pressure on the federal government to restore access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP);

• take a strong stand against any mandatory increase to payroll taxes in the form of increases to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the creation of new provincial plans like the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP); and,

• improve inter-provincial trade by empowering their trade ministers to move forward on negotiating a more open market within Canada.

“Doing business with someone in Halifax should be at least as easy for a business in Burnaby as one in Budapest,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We have a restaurant member in Toronto that would love to showcase Canadian beer and wine from other provinces, but finds it much easier to carry foreign beverages than to get these products across provincial borders.”

CFIB says the current Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is out-of-date, and does not go far enough in addressing key trade barriers, including the failure to recognize other provinces’ professional credentials and food safety certifications, inconsistent standards for food packaging and truck safety, provincial business registration requirements, and the “puzzling” restrictions on selling alcoholic beverages from one province to the next.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

Click here to read the letter to premiers.

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