OTTAWA, Ont.–The United States and Canada have released the US-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan which builds on the 2011 Joint Action Plan, the momentum it has generated within government and with stakeholders, and lessons learned over the last few years. The Joint Forward Plan will advance from the initial issue-based Joint Forward Plan to new partnership arrangements and a framework of more institutionalized commitments by U.S. and Canadian regulators, the government said.
“The long-term goal is to have bilateral regulatory cooperation within the regular planning and operational activities of regulatory agencies. To help guide this transition, and for the foreseeable future, the RCC will continue to provide central oversight and remain focused on government-to-government coordination, and intends to function as it has to date. In the fall of 2013, we published notices in the Canada Gazette and US Federal Register seeking public comment on how best to advance U.S.-Canada regulatory cooperation. We received a significant response, with thoughtful submissions from about 160 individuals and organizations, representing a wide range of sectors and regions,” the government said.
A number of themes emerged from the submissions:
• strong interest in advancing bilateral regulatory cooperation work between Canada and the United States;
• desire for more regular opportunities for stakeholder consultation and input, both in identifying regulatory cooperation priorities and in their implementation;
• interest in deepening the work in regulated areas that were included in the initial Action Plan, as well as expanding into new areas (e.g., energy efficiency); and
• recognition of the importance of “institutionalizing” regulatory cooperation between the regulators so that working in partnership becomes an ongoing, routine part of how U.S. and Canadian regulators operate.
Based on this stakeholder input, the Joint Forward Plan outlines three key components of the government’s future work:
(A) Department-Level Regulatory Partnerships: Public documents that will
outline RCC strategies and the framework for how the activities will be
managed between regulatory partners.
(B) Department-to-Department Commitments and Work Plans: A first set
of commitments to cooperate in specific areas of regulatory activity, for
which technical work plans will be developed annually
(C) Cross-Cutting Issues: Identifying current laws, policies and practices
in both governments that can present challenges/opportunities to
international regulatory cooperation, regardless of sector, and considering
new tools and approaches to support regulators in achieving their
cooperation objectives where possible.
As a first step, over the next six months regulators will develop Regulatory Partnership Statements (RPSs). These statements will be public documents that outline the framework for how cooperative activities will be managed between agencies.
Given the need for flexibility, the exact form of these arrangements will vary from agency to agency. In some cases, agencies have vehicles for cooperation already in place, and in other cases enhancements or entirely new frameworks will need to be established. The RPSs are intended to outline the bilateral regulatory partnership arrangements.
Although the structure and format of the RPSs will vary by partnership, they should all include three key elements critical to effective cooperation:
• High-level governance between the agencies and a commitment to work together
• Opportunities for stakeholders to provide input, to inform strategies, identify
priorities and discuss progress on the implementation of initiatives as appropriate.
• A mechanism for annual reviews of work plans to consider adjustments and
provide status updates on the progress.
Each of these Regulatory Partnership Statements will be posted on the RCC websites at
www.trade.gov/rcc and http://actionplan.gc.ca/rcc