Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • Budget 2018: The Most Disappointing Budget Ever March 14, 2018
    Premier Pallister’s Trump-esque statement that budget 2018 was going to be the “best budget ever” has fallen a bit flat. Instead of a bold plan to deal with climate change, poverty and our crumbling infrastructure, we are presented with two alarmist scenarios to justify further tax cuts and a lack of decisive action: the recent […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2018 Federal Budget Analysis February 14, 2018
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis Some baby steps for dad and big steps forward for women, by Kate McInturff (CCPA) An ambition constrained budget, by David Macdonald (CCPA) Five things […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CED in Manitoba - The Video January 29, 2018
    Community Economic Development in Manitoba - nudging capitalism out of the way?
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • With regional management BC’s iconic forest industry can benefit British Columbians rather than multinational corporations January 17, 2018
    Forests are one of the iconic symbols of British Columbia, and successive governments and companies operating here have largely focussed on the cheap, commodity lumber business that benefits industry. Former provincial forestry minister Bob Williams, who has been involved with the industry for five decades, proposes regional management of this valuable natural resource to benefit […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Community Economic Development in Manitoba - a new film January 16, 2018
    Cinameteque, Jan 23.  7:00 pm - Free event Film Trailer CCEDNET-MB, CCPA-MB, The Manitoba Research Alliance and Rebel Sky Media presents: The Inclusive Economy:  Stories of Community Economic Development in Manitoba
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Pear-Shaped Agreement Spotted on Canada’s East Coast

The deal, unveiled yesterday by the Premiers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is not actually called PEAR, but PARE: Partnership Agreement on Regulation and the Economy.

Like TILMA, it was signed pursuant to Article 1800 of the existing Agreement on Internal Trade to further “liberalize trade, investment and workforce mobility.” Unlike TILMA, it does not establish an enforcement mechanism that allows business to directly challenge public policy.

While there is room for debate about the similarity between PARE and TILMA, it is worth remembering The Halifax Chronicle-Herald’s eminently reasonable recommendation that “Nova Scotia should hold public hearings, just like Saskatchewan, if it is toying with joining TILMA or a regional version thereof. Both sides of this interesting argument deserve to be heard – in full.”

To the best of my knowledge, no such consultations took place in either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. In PARE’s preamble, the provincial governments do not claim to have consulted anyone but business: “Atlantic Premiers directed their Ministers to consult with Atlantic stakeholders in order to target key areas in which opportunities exist for additional harmonization, and/or streamlining of regulations that would benefit the operation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.”

It makes sense for provincial governments to communicate and co-ordinate when developing or reviewing regulations. PARE formalizes a process for two governments to do so. Unfortunately, it may also imbue this process with an excessively pro-business tone.

Of course, business interests should be taken into account – along with labour interests, consumer interests, etc. – in formulating regulations that serve the broader public interest. However, PARE commits to “Utilizing a business lens, where appropriate, when reviewing or developing regulations, including a business impact test.”

By my count, the word “business” appears 26 times in the 20-page document. “Environment” appears six times but is preceded by the words “business” or “economic” three of those times. “Worker” appears six times and “citizen” appears only three times. Words like “labour” and “consumer” are not used at all.

A key issue is whether bilateral harmonization proceeds in an upward or downward direction. For example, PARE promises to “harmonize” employment standards legislation and particularly its administration. This explicit proposal is interesting because TILMA promoters typically asserted that basic labour standards were exempt.

Harmonization is not inherently good or bad. I would welcome harmonizing employment standards so that workers in one of the provinces gain the faster minimum-wage increases and additional vacation pay currently available in the other province. But I would reject harmonization down to the lowest-common denominator.

PARE also proposes to harmonize compulsory trades. To me, the ultimate solution should be for both provinces to train all of their tradespeople to Red Seal standards, enabling them to work in any province (except Quebec). Upward harmonization between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick could be a halfway house on the path to this solution.

However, I cannot see much justification for permanently harmonizing at some level below full Red Seal certification for all eligible trades. The worst-case scenario would be harmonization by making certain trades non-compulsory in the province where they currently are compulsory.

Anyway, the appeal from CUPE and the Council of Canadians to “read the fine print” is worth heeding.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from scott
Time: February 25, 2009, 1:11 pm

What is the connection (if any) between these inter-provincial trade agreements and the SPP?

Write a comment

Related articles