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Budget sets out process for regulatory reform

Agri-food is one of the sectors earmarked for review to streamline regulations

The federal government intends to launch a five-year, $67.8-million process to modernize its regulations in the agri-food and other sectors.

The process, set out in the 2019 budget, comes in response to repeated criticisms of the regulatory burden facing Canadians. Last fall the agri-food strategy roundtable called for “an agile regulatory system that promotes the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and moves at the speed of commerce.”

Last summer the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a report called ‘Death by 130,000 cuts,’ which detailed a morass of federal, provincial and municipal regulations Canadians have to navigate.

Ottawa’s next step will be for the formation of an External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness to bring together business leaders, academics and consumer representatives to identify opportunities to streamline regulations and adopt novel regulatory approaches.

Agri-food and aquaculture, health and biosciences and transportation and infrastructure are sectors earmarked for review of “regulatory requirements and practices that impede innovation and growth in the following high-growth sectors,” the budget said. The government will strengthen its capacity “to draft the legislative and regulatory changes needed to facilitate a new approach to regulations in these sectors and others.”

It will also introduce regulatory road maps to address issues and irritants in these sectors based on the recommendations from the economic strategy tables and other forums.

The road maps will also encourage the use of more digital services such as online portals and electronic templates along with clearer guidance for industry so that new products can be made available more quickly, the budget said.

One such change will replace CFIA’s paper-based system for issuing export certificates with a digital process, which should make overseas sales easier.

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