Ottawa, provinces sign internal free trade agreement

For years, Canada pursued and successfully completed a free trade deal with Europe.

Now, after decades of complaints about interprovincial barriers, the federal government and provinces have agreed upon a new deal for internal trade.

On Friday morning, the governments unveiled what is being called the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). It replaces the Agreement on Internal Trade, which applied to only certain sectors of the economy.

Dan Mazier, Keystone Agricultural Producers president, said the deal is great news for farmers.

 “Canada imports more than $47 billion in food from other countries, much of which is meat, grains and vegetables that Canadian farmers also produce right here at home,” Mazier said in a statement. “Interprovincial trade barriers have too often made it easier for processors and retailers to import food from another country than from another province.”   

Consumers should also benefit, in terms of choice and price. Beer is one obvious example. Brewers have long grumbled about provincial rules that strangle exports to other jurisdictions and regions.

“Landing a new inter-provincial trade deal is no small achievement,” said Luke Harford, Beer Canada president.

The free trade agreement will create a working group to liberalize trade in beer and alcohol between provinces.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business also praised the deal, calling it major step forward.

“There is more to do to eliminate some silly, irritating rules but the deal creates an innovative framework that we haven’t had before to get outstanding red tape issues resolved,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB.

For more on the CFTA, please visit


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