Canada’s Premiers Discuss Affordability and Global Challenges

The comprehensive Canada-United States trade relationship is crucial to the economic well-being of both countries. Provinces and territories have played an important role in raising concerns about protectionist measures in the United States, including the expansion of Buy America domestic content requirements and ongoing trade disputes, such as softwood lumber, and will continue to work with the federal government to maintain fair and open trade between Canada and the United States and to fairly resolve ongoing trade disputes. In the context of geopolitical instability, provinces and territories will continue to advocate for the resolution of these outstanding issues, strengthen our already deep economic relationships with our U.S. neighbours, and further mutual objectives related to resilient supply chains.

Premiers reiterate their ongoing commitment to facilitate internal trade. Increased trade between provinces and territories supports Canada’s economic growth, while improving affordability, choice and security of supply. Building on recent progress, Premiers are committed to continuing to work cooperatively to ensure the success of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, reducing trade irritants and aligning regulatory approaches where possible. While provinces and territories have been playing the leadership role in improving internal trade, the federal government must take real action to remove barriers and red tape under its jurisdiction, prioritizing removing constraints related to federal procurement. Premiers direct the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table to accelerate work underway on developing a potential model for mutual recognition of regulations with a negative option list.

A recent ruling by the Court of Appeal of Alberta found the federal Impact Assessment Act to be an unconstitutional intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Premiers are concerned about on-going federal intrusions into provincial and territorial jurisdiction.

Labour Supply

Premiers discussed workforce challenges, including the needs of employers and employees. A strong labour force advances Canada’s social and economic growth and underpins affordability for Canadians. This includes attracting and retaining skilled workers from within Canada and abroad, enhancing labour force participation of under-represented groups, continuing investments in training and work force development, and improving labour mobility across Canada. Strengthening our labour force also means increasing investments in skills training for Canadians to ensure they are more resilient and that they can adapt to rapid shifts in the labour market.

Premiers call on the federal government to provide sufficient, predictable, and reliable funding, and to work with provinces and territories to strengthen Labour Market Transfer Agreements. This includes providing additional funding and ensuring provinces and territories have the flexibility and tools required to offer skills training opportunities needed to respond to diverse labour force and economic needs. Premiers also call on the federal government to work collaboratively with provinces and territories on any changes to Employment Insurance to ensure employment and skills training programming meets local and regional needs, and upholds provincial and territorial authority for the development and delivery of skills training programs.

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