On July 22, 2016, the Government of Canada announced that an unprecedented agreement-in-principle to modernize Canada's internal trade framework was endorsed by premiers at the Council of the Federation. The agreement is the result of a collaborative effort among the Government of Canada, the provinces and the territories. A press release by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada said that in an increasingly global economy, Canada must have a free trade agreement that lowers barriers within the country. An open Canadian market creates well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. It drives economic growth and provides consumers with more choice. It also enables Canadian businesses to be as competitive at home as they are abroad.
The Government of Canada has taken a lead role in ensuring that the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement will help grow the economy, create new opportunities for Canadian businesses and provide consumers with increased choice. This modern and ambitious agreement creates the right conditions for companies to turn ideas into innovations, get new products and services to market faster, and scale up their businesses more quickly and easily.
- To respond to an issue that is important to Canadians, the premiers agreed to address alcohol in the agreement. This is the first-ever commitment by all parties to work on options to liberalize trade in alcoholic beverages, with a specific timetable and accountability to ministers.
- Almost all federal departments and Crown corporations and most provincial and territorial government entities will be covered by the procurement rules of the agreement, making it easier for small and medium-sized companies to compete for business opportunities across Canada.
- In a historic commitment, all parties have agreed to establish an ongoing process to bring down regulatory barriers and limit the creation of new barriers to trade in Canada. This will reduce the cost of doing business across Canada.
- The agreement will contain stronger dispute resolution provisions to ensure that governments abide by its trade-liberalizing rules.