Public Affairs Update Header
July 14, 2014
In This Issue
Federal Industry Minister calls for free-trade zone in Canada
Kenney to consider TFW program exemptions
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

Federal Industry Minister calls for free-trade zone in Canada
Federal Minister of Industry James Moore says the time is right for the federal government to pursue free trade within Canada. Minister Moore is poised to release a white paper on internal trade barriers in Canada that critiques the 20-year-old Agreement on Internal Trade originally intended to break down internal trade barriers. He is also expected to give officials a mandate to start the process of negotiating with provinces as early as this fall.The announcement came after Premier Christy Clark, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta Premier Dave Hancock came together at the annual Western Premiers’ Conference to push for the removal of trade barriers between provinces. They say this approach would reduce the costs of doing business and help provincial economies grow.

Moore says the status quo is costing billions of dollars a year in lost business opportunities and jobs. He highlighted one study that estimates the losses at $50 billion. He says trade restrictions are most damaging in regard to labour mobility, investment mobility, and provincial and municipal government procurement. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has also cited interprovincial trade restrictions as a reason for what it considers low productivity performance in Canada.

B.C. Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat stated that B.C. is among Moore’s strongest supporters, arguing that it should not be easier to trade with other countries than within Canada. She highlighted B.C.’s wine industry, which would benefit greatly from the change. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa voiced opposition, however, noting that a number of sectors in Ontario are strong because they are protected.

Kenney to consider TFW program exemptions
Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney said last week that he’s willing to consider “local exemptions” to his recent overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program.According to media reports, Kenney said he would consider exemptions in specific areas with very low unemployment, located in regions with higher unemployment.

However Kenney emphasized that he won’t compromise on his core goal of the program overhaul: ensuring that Canadian employers don’t use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as a cheap source of labour when they could be hiring unemployed Canadians.

2014 BCCC Policy & Positions Manual (Coming Soon)
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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.