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Fractured Canadian market slows our economic recovery, say business leaders

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

Montréal, August 12, 2020 – 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  • Over $80 billion in economic potential each year is lost because of outdated internal trade barriers.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.

“Like the other leading chambers of commerce in Canada, we are troubled by the difficulty which local products have in reaching the Canadian market, due to interprovincial barriers. Never has there been a more opportune time to eliminate internal trade obstacles in Canada, as we restart our economies following the pandemic. We must strengthen the east-west trade corridors as part of this reopening. Removing these obstacles is critical to stimulating the competitiveness and growth that our businesses need today. The time has come to allow Canadians, wherever they live, to have access to Canadian products,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

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 Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)
With a network of over 8,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world. 

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.



Julie Serero
Advisor, Media Relations
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, Ext. 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
To continue the discussion: #ccmm

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