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Conferences — Annual Meeting of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee of Ministers on Internal Trade — PRESS RELEASE - PROGRESS ON PERSON-TO-GOVERNMENT DISPUTE RESOLUTION ENFORCEMENT


Brudenell, Prince Edward Island June 16, 2011 Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for Internal Trade met today in Brudenell, Prince Edward Island. The Honourable Allan Campbell, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, chaired the meeting on behalf of the Government of Prince Edward Island.

In welcoming Ministers to the Committee on Internal Trade meeting, Minister Campbell stressed the importance of making significant progress and coming to a resolution on some key outstanding issues on the internal trade action plan which will further strengthen interprovincial trade.

Today, Ministers agreed to undertake a more effective enforcement mechanism under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) for disputes brought by "persons" (individuals, businesses and other organizations) against a government. This dispute process allows persons to challenge a government's actions that appear to be contrary to the AIT. The changes agreed to today include monetary penalties and the removal of dispute resolution privileges in situations of continued non-compliance by a government following a decision by an independent dispute resolution panel.  These are largely based on the new process applicable to disputes between governments which was put in place in 2009. 

Ministers also agreed on a full review of the AIT Dispute Resolution Chapter to ensure procedural fairness and consistency and they directed officials to incorporate all of the agreed upon changes into a 14th protocol of amendment which would be tabled at their June 2012 meeting, along with an interpretative note to clarify the new Chapter 9 (Agriculture), for their consideration.

Ministers gave their approval to the Thirteenth Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), improving the openness and transparency of procurement practices, including the designation of a single electronic tendering system for publishing tender notices in each jurisdiction.

Recognizing the importance of linkages between the Agreement on Internal Trade and international trade agreements, and where all those who are party to the AIT are supportive, the Committee on Internal Trade directed officials to develop options on extending domestically, where appropriate, any benefits provided under international agreements.

Ministers received status reports on the regulatory harmonization work plan, government procurement and labour mobility (coverage of financial services occupations) and directed officials to continue work in these important areas of interprovincial trade.

Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) for its presentation that focused on the history and evolution of trade patterns within the Atlantic region.

Northwest Territories will be the host of the next annual meeting of the Committee on Internal Trade, in June 2012, under the chairmanship of the Honourable Robert R. McLeod, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Established under the Agreement on Internal Trade, the CIT meets annually to review progress on reducing or eliminating barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility across Canada.

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Media contact
Ron Ryder
Innovation and Advanced Learning