Eliminating interprovincial trade barriers could lift nation's GDP by four per cent

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2020

VANCOUVER, B.C. — 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  • Over $80 billion in economic potential each year is lost because of outdated internal trade barriers.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.

"Through the health pandemic we have seen how reducing regulatory burdens and red tape can act as a lifeline for businesses struggling to survive," said Bridgitte Anderson, President & CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. "Economic recovery is going to require us to squeeze every ounce of growth and find new opportunities. Eradicating internal trade barriers and opening domestic markets will support businesses, stimulate economic activity and foster future growth for our country."

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."


About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada's leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.

About the Canadian Global Cities Council Founded in 2015, the Canadian Global Cities
Council (CGCC) is a coalition of Presidents and CEOs of the nine largest urban regional Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in Canada: Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Representing more than half of Canada's GDP and population, CGCC collaborates on international and domestic issues impacting our regions' competitiveness.


Media contact:

David van Hemmen
Director, Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade


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