Fractured Canadian market slows our economic recovery, say business leaders
Eliminating interprovincial trade barriers could lift nation’s GDP by four per cent
Calgary, July 29, 2020 – The CEOs of Canada’s nine largest chambers of commerce – from regions that are home to over half of the country’s population and businesses – try and fail to send locally-produced goods, such as alcohol, to each other. Why? Because interprovincial trade barriers prevent it.
In social media videos, heads of the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) highlight how harmonizing regulations and allowing for a freer flow of domestic goods could speed the country’s economic recovery – especially as global markets and travel remain volatile during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CEOs note that:
Over $80 billion in economic potential each year is lost because of outdated internal trade barriers.
Internal trade costs add nearly seven per cent to the costs of goods.
About 9 in 10 Canadians support free trade between the provinces.
Free trade in Canada could raise the country’s gross domestic product by four per cent – more than the gains from any recently signed international trade agreement.
“Canada’s interprovincial trade barriers prevent Albertans from sharing our products and experiences with our neighbours, and business from growing, competing and attracting investment,” said Sandip Lalli, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “Even in pre-pandemic times, this didn’t make sense. Now, we face the historic challenge of emerging from COVID-19 on our front foot, and we must do so by working together.”
With government spending at an all-time high, red tape reduction and regulatory changes are inexpensive ways the governments can support business recovery and stimulate economic growth. As provincial and federal leaders continue to discuss measures to boost Canada’s economy, interprovincial trade must be on that agenda. While cross-country collaboration is best, Premiers can also take unilateral steps to remove barriers to Canadian goods in their own market – including through mutual recognition of inconsistent standards, their reconciliation and removal of duplication.
“There is nothing stopping ambitious Premiers from showing leadership and taking actions on their own to dismantle their own trade barriers,” said Patrick Sullivan, Chair of the CGCC and President and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. “Removing these restrictions will strengthen Canada’s economy during and after COVID-19 recovery by lowering costs for Canadian businesses, boosting competitiveness and encouraging domestic investment.”
The Calgary Chamber is an independent non-profit, non-partisan business organization. For 129 years the Chamber has worked to build a business community that nourishes, powers and inspires the world.
About the Canadian Global Cities Council
Founded in 2015, the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) is a coalition of Presidents and CEOs of the eight largest urban regional Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in Canada: Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa,and Winnipeg. Representing more than half of Canada’s GDP and population, CGCC collaborates on international and domestic issues impacting our regions’ competitiveness.