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Former cabinet minister and head of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty: ‘We are putting Canadian businesses at a serious disadvantage.’ (FRED CHARTRAND/The Canadian Press)
Former cabinet minister and head of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty: ‘We are putting Canadian businesses at a serious disadvantage.’ (FRED CHARTRAND/The Canadian Press)

Canada Competes

Why are we blocking free trade between provinces? Add to ...

I think many businesses have simply given up or have learned to try to accommodate what they see as the inevitability of barriers. We need to redouble our efforts and make it clear, at all levels of government, that these barriers within Canada are a growing threat. The global economy is internationalizing, and if we Balkanize our market at home, we are putting Canadian businesses at a serious disadvantage.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

BARRIERS REMAIN

In Canada, there are no tariffs or duties when goods travel between provinces, but there are still many non-tariff barriers that can make it difficult for companies to ship products or services across the country. Others get in the way of workers moving into a new jurisdiction.

Industrial regulations

Provinces have different rules on truck weights and dimensions, making it more difficult for transport firms to operate in multiple jurisdictions. There are also a variety of regulations for industrial equipment.

Licencing and accreditation rules

Many professionals and tradespeople still have to be licensed, certified or registered in the provinces where they move to, despite some attempts to remove barriers to labour mobility.

Government procurement preferences

Many local and provincial governments and agencies still give preferential treatment to regional suppliers on some government contracts.

Securities licensing

Canada has 13 securities regulators, and the continuing debate over the creation of a national regulator has gone on for decades.

Liquor monopolies

Provincial liquor boards restrict the listings from out-of-province products. And federal legislation to allow cross-border wine transport has not yet been fully implemented.

Food restrictions

Supply management rules and marketing boards limit interprovincial movement of poultry, dairy products and eggs. And many provinces have different rules for packaging and labelling of food products.

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