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Apr 27, 2015 at 02:31 PM


Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
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I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

 
 

Government of Canada introduces legislation to tackle geographic price discrimination
Dec 09, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Putting Canadian Consumers First

The unexplained and often significant gap between Canadian and U.S. prices for the same products is a frustrating and all-too-familiar reality for any Canadian who has ever shopped online or travelled to the United States.

Today, Industry Minister James Moore announced new legislation to help ensure Canadians are not charged higher prices than Americans simply because of where they live.

The Price Transparency Act will help tackle the practice of geographic price discrimination, one of the key contributors to the Canada–U.S. price gap. Today's announcement provides the Commissioner of Competition with the tools necessary to investigate alleged cases of price discrimination and to publicly report situations where consumers are unfairly targeted with higher prices. The Commissioner will be authorized to seek court orders to compel the production of evidence to expose discriminatory pricing practices that are not justified by higher costs in Canada and to publicly report to consumers on the findings.

Quick facts

  • Studies have shown that the prices of goods in Canada are, on average, 10- to 25-percent higher than they are in the United States.
  • In 2013 the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance found that country pricing by manufacturers is one of the key causes of the Canada–U.S. price gap.
  • A recent study published by the American Economic Review, which reviewed 4,000 separate products, in both Canada and the United States, concluded that distributors or wholesalers are engaging in country pricing strategies.

"Our government believes that hardworking Canadians and their families shouldn't be charged higher prices than Americans simply because of where they live. The intentional manipulation of prices on identical goods for sale in Canada and the U.S. places an unfair burden on Canadians and is simply wrong. The Harper Government is standing up for Canadian consumers with legislation to help address price discrimination."
– James Moore, Minister of Industry

"The Retail Council of Canada and its 45,000 merchants have been strong and consistent advocates for addressing the root causes of unjustified consumer price discrepancies between Canada and the U.S. We support today's announcement by Minister Moore and believe that the Price Transparency Act goes a long way in shedding light on geographical price discrimination and on the true costs of doing business in Canada. This bill is an important step toward enabling Canadian retailers to compete on a level playing field and offer their consumers the best possible prices."
– Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada

Links

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Minister Fast Marks Historic Year for Canadian Trade and Investment
Dec 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today met with key business associations and organizations on Parliament Hill to review the historic achievements in 2014 under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP). Under this pro-export, pro-jobs plan, the Government of Canada delivered on its commitment to eliminate tariffs, provide preferential market access for Canadian businesses and protect Canadian investment through:

  • the conclusion of negotiations and release of the complete text of the historic Canada-European Union trade agreement;
  • the conclusion of Canada’s first free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region with the landmark Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which has received royal assent and is expected to come into force on January 1, 2015;
  • the coming into force of the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement—Canada’s seventh trade agreement in the Americas—and the modernization of the trade agreement with Chile; and
  • a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) with China, bringing to 28 the number of FIPAs Canada has with countries around the world.

As Minister Fast pointed out during the meeting, historic trade agreements require historic trade promotion efforts and support. In line with commitments in GMAP, Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can count on enhanced tools and services to help them seize new opportunities and boost their exports. In 2014, the government:

  • embedded more trade commissioners in business associations across Canada, bringing the total to more than 25 commissioners directly supporting and serving as liaisons to ensure that the government is responsive to the needs of Canadian businesses;
  • launched new Canadian technology accelerators (CTAs) in France, the United Kingdom and India; opened in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, these bring the total number of CTAs to 12;
  • supported the Enterprise Canada Network; accessed through Export Development Canada and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the network provides Canadian SMEs with online access to 30,000 business profiles in the European market;
  • recognized the recently launched Coalition for Canada-Europe Trade, which represents leading business associations and organizations committed to ensuring that the Canada-EU trade agreement achieves its full potential; and
  • opened four new trade offices in China, which bring Canada’s trade network support to 15 locations and 100 trade commissioners.

Minister Fast also provided an overview of the vigorous trade promotion efforts and activities currently under way in order to better assist current and prospective exporters, so SMEs can realize their full export potential.

Key elements include:

  • the launch by Minister Fast last month of a series of cross-country Go Global workshops, which provide SMEs with tools and practical information from all of Canada’s export agencies in one place, so they can take advantage of export business opportunities.
    • workshops have been held in Richmond, British Columbia, Mississauga, Ontario, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, reaching over 300 SME participants;
      dozens more Go Global workshops will be held in communities across Canada in 2015;
    • enhanced coordination among the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, by aligning their activities, facilitating referrals and sharing market intelligence and information to help SMEs export or prepare for export readiness; and
    • trade missions abroad in order to provide on-the-ground support for Canadian businesses in foreign markets; Minister Fast led 13 trade missions in 2014, reaching a total of 20 countries.

Under GMAP, the government committed to developing comprehensive strategies and stakeholder linkages to keep Canada at the forefront of key economic sectors and strengthen its trade, investment and people-to-people ties. In the first year of GMAP, the government has delivered on these commitments and implemented all strategies and linkages:

  • the launch in January 2014 of a comprehensive international education strategy to attract innovative researchers and international students to Canada and enrich the ties between world-class Canadian educational institutions and their global counterparts;
  • the launch in February 2014 of an export-oriented defence procurement strategy;
  • the launch in November 2014 of an extractive sector strategy to further the interests and leadership of Canadian companies abroad, including the release of the enhanced corporate social responsibility strategy for Canada’s extractive sector abroad; and
  • the November 2014 announcement by Minister Fast and Brad Woodside, Mayor of the City of Fredericton and President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), of a joint working group between FCM and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. The announcement also highlighted the 83 local organizations that have received more than $4 million in funding through the Invest Canada-Community Initiatives program to help attract job-creating investment.

These historic efforts in the first year of GMAP will benefit Canadian businesses and workers, boost exports and create jobs and opportunities for years to come.

In 2015, the government will continue to build on the momentum of the most significant year for trade in Canadian history by:

  • holding Go Global workshops in every region of the country to continue supporting SME export success;
  • leading trade missions to priority markets for Canadian exporters; Minister Fast will lead his first trade mission of the year to South Korea from February 8 to 13;
  • In addition, during the first half of 2015, Minister Fast will lead trade missions to:
    • member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations;
    • China;
    • the European Union;
    • India; and
    • the Philippines (during the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting);
  • supporting Canadian companies and working closely with stakeholders and business associations as they prepare to take advantage of the new opportunities that the Canada-EU trade agreement provides;
  • deepening its trade relationship with the U.S, Canada’s largest trading partner, to improve North American competitiveness while continuing to stand up for Canada’s interests;
  • working to boost Canada’s exports to China and secure market access for Canadian products following successful 2014 market-access wins for Canadian products such as canola, bone-in beef and cherries;
  • deepening economic ties with Japan, both bilaterally and through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations;
  • continuing to advance bilateral and plurilateral negotiations, including those for the TPP, the trade agreement with India and various WTO initiatives;
  • accelerating work on a trade agreement with Ukraine to further enhance economic cooperation, people-to-people ties and opportunities for Canada-Ukraine partnerships; and
  • building on the 2014 ASEAN road show to promote exports and business-to-business linkages with ASEAN countries; this effort will include close collaboration with the Canada-ASEAN Business Council.

Quick Facts

  • One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports, representing 60 percent of our economy.
  • Since 2006, the government has concluded free trade agreements with 38 countries, bringing the total to 43.
  • There are more than one million SMEs across Canada, with 41,000 currently exporting—11,000 of these to emerging markets.

Links

Twitter: @Canada_Trade
Facebook: Canada’s International Trade Plan-DFATD

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Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Further Enhance World-Class Pipeline Safety System
Dec 08, 2014 at 03:47 PM

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced the introduction of the Pipeline Safety Act. This Act introduces legislative measures to further enhance Canada’s world-class pipeline safety system.

Today’s announcement builds on previous action taken by the Harper Government to prevent incidents, including increasing the number of annual pipeline inspections and audits conducted by the National Energy Board (NEB) and strengthening the Board’s enforcement capabilities by giving it authority to fine pipeline operators for smaller incidents. Currently, 99.999 percent of the oil transported through 73,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipeline is completed safely, including 1,500 kilometres in Quebec.

The Government’s latest measures proposed in the legislation introduced today in the House of Commons include:

  • Introducing absolute liability for all NEB-regulated pipelines, meaning that companies will be liable for costs and damages irrespective of fault — up to $1 billion for major oil pipelines; companies continue to have unlimited liability when at fault or negligent;
  • Providing the NEB authority to order reimbursement of any cleanup costs incurred by governments, communities or individuals; and
  • Providing the NEB authority and resources to assume control of incident response if a company is unable or unwilling to do so (i.e., in exceptional circumstances).

Other non-legislative actions being taken by the Government of Canada include:

  • Developing a strategy with industry and Aboriginal communities in an effort to increase Aboriginal Peoples’ participation in pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response and related employment and business opportunities; and
  • Seeking the NEB’s guidance on the use of the best available technologies used in federally regulated pipeline projects. This includes materials, construction methods and emergency response techniques.

Minister Rickford linked the improvements to pipeline safety to the Government of Canada’s plan for Responsible Resource Development, which strengthens environmental protection, enhances Aboriginal engagement and streamlines the review of major resource projects to make the process more timely and predictable.

These new measures enhance Canada’s already world-class pipeline safety system and build on the principles of incident prevention, preparedness and liability. As part of this commitment, a number of amendments to the National Energy Board Act are also proposed to improve transparency and operations of the Board and its enabling legislation.

Quick Facts

  • Currently, 99.999 percent of the oil and petroleum products transported on federally regulated pipelines is carried out safely, and the measures announced today aim to improve Canada’s record even further.
  • New funding provided in Economic Action Plan 2012 allowed the National Energy Board to increase annual inspections of oil and gas pipelines by 50 percent and double the number of comprehensive audits to improve pipeline safety across Canada.
  • In the next decade, over 400,000 Aboriginal youth will be entering the workforce, creating an unprecedented opportunity to address the need for new workers in the oil and gas industry.
  • In 2012, more than 13,500 Aboriginal people worked in the Canadian energy sector.

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