Talks taking place in Toronto on plan to ease interprovincial trade barriers
Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid speaks during a Ubisoft Toronto news conference in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Michelle Siu)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 8, 2016 5:36AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 8, 2016 11:56AM EDT
TORONTO -- Expectations are high that the provinces will reach an agreement later today in Toronto to dismantle long-standing trade barriers that have been a headache for businesses and consumers.
Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid says he fully anticipates his federal and provincial counterparts to agree on a proposal that seeks to open up the flow of goods and create jobs.
Duguid, who also serves as chairman of internal trade renewal renegotiations, says the premiers will have the final say on whether to sign or revise a proposal that has been worked on for about two years.
Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison says considerable progress has been made and he is also optimistic a deal will be reached that can be passed on the premiers for their approval when they convene for their annual meeting later this month in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Deron Bilous, Alberta's trade minister, was more circumspect ahead of today's meeting, saying any trade deal would have "far-reaching" implications and he wants to take the time to make sure the deal is in the interests of his province and the country.
An internal trade agreement was signed in 1994, but Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz has said that Canada's internal trade is actually less free in many respects than its external trade.
One frequently cited example of the effect of interprovincial barriers is how they restrict the export of beer around the country.