The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

November 26, 2015 05:30 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: While Canada Signs International Trade Deals, Work Still Needed to Eliminate Interprovincial Trade Barriers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 26, 2015) - Canada can improve its domestic economy and increase its global competitiveness by eliminating interprovincial trade barriers, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Following the conclusion of negotiations for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the study, Toward Free Trade in Canada: Five Things the Federal Government Can Do To Open our Internal Market, outlines several opportunities for freer trade among Canadian provinces.

"While there has been some progress in building a common national market over the past two decades, at least regionally, more work needs to be done. For example, residents of Ontario still aren't able to order wine from British Columbia; a teacher from Alberta can't work in Newfoundland and Labrador without added certification; and there's no interprovincial trade in dairy products," said Laura Dawson, study author and director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Centre.

In 1995, the federal and provincial governments signed the Agreement on Internal Trade - an agreement to reduce and eliminate barriers to free movement of goods, services and labour within Canada.

The provinces and the federal government have committed to renew the ATI by March, 2016.

In the meantime, ahead of that renewal, the study recommends several unilateral steps that the federal government can take to improve internal trade in Canada.

They include:

  • Implementing policies that facilitate greater labour mobility between provinces such as harmonizing apprenticeship and training programs;
  • Creating a single national system for corporate registration and reporting which will eliminate costly duplication and facilitate greater investment by foreign and domestic enterprises in the Canadian market;
  • Promoting market access and regulatory coherence in provincial energy and environmental policies so that energy products can get to market; and
  • Encouraging trade in dairy products between provinces.

"Without action to remove internal trade barriers, Canadians will again find themselves in the position of granting better market access to non-Canadians than to themselves," Dawson said.

"How can Canadian firms effectively compete in the 320 million-person U.S. market or the 1.2 billion Chinese market if they cannot first grow to scale in a national market of 35 million people? The time has come to recommit ourselves to building a single Canadian market and with it, the conditions of global competitiveness."

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    For interviews with Ms. Dawson, please contact:
    Aanand Radia, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
    (416) 363-6575 ext. 238