REGINA – The premiers of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are forging ahead with changes to the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) that will make trade in the west more open.
Currently, the NWPTA agreement provides the most open trading environment in Canada and the premiers are asking ministers to make further improvements. Specifically, ministers are to:
- Implement a bid protest mechanism by November 2014
- Review exceptions to determine if these are other possible improvements to liberalize trade, particularly in the area of occupational health and safety by March 31, 2015.
“While exceptions can be important in areas like occupational health and safety, it makes sense to review these from time to time to harmonize those that create unnecessary barriers to trade,” said B.C. premier Christy Clark.
“For example, if we can all adopt the highest standard among our jurisdictions for things like first aid kits that will make trade across the region easier.”
The New West Partnership has undertaken significant work to make it easier for business to operate across the region by harmonizing truck rules and regulations,” Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said. “In today’s businesses environment companies and workers often cross provincial borders.”
“We all have a strong interest in ensuring worker health and safety and it makes sense to have a common set of rules for businesses and workers to uphold these safety objectives.”
“The New West Partnership is the model for eliminating unnecessary barriers to trade,” said Alberta premier Dave Hancock. “We continue to break down barriers to the benefit of citizens in each of our provinces.”
The three premiers noted the federal government also has a keen interest in internal trade.