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Fractured Canadian Market Slows Our Economic Recovery, Say Business Leaders

30 July 2020

Fractured Canadian market slows our economic recovery, say business leaders

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  • Over $80 billion in economic potential each year is lost because of outdated internal trade barriers.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.


“Canada is a trading nation – but far too few businesses have customers across Canada because it’s often easier to trade with another country than it is to do business in another province.” said Janet Riopel, President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “With global supply chains disrupted by the pandemic, there has never been a better time to tear down trade barriers. Canada’s job creators have never needed domestic free trade more than they do now.”


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.”



The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is the official voice of business in the Edmonton Region. With more than 1,900 member companies who employ nearly 100,000 people in our Region, we are one of the largest Chambers in Canada and among the most influential business organizations in the country.



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.


Media contact

Brent Francis


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