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The Regulatory Efficiency Act

By Scott Proudfoot & Michael Teeter
April 1995

The Regulatory Efficiency Act was introduced in the House of Commons by then Treasury Board President Eggleton on December 6, 1994

The Regulatory Efficiency Act was introduced in the House of Commons by then Treasury Board President Eggleton on December 6, 1994. This Act is unique in the sense that it offers regulated industry an opportunity to apply to the government for a special agreement exempting the company or the industry from regulations. While the government must ensure that the intention of the regulations is met, the "compliance agreement" may save the applicant significant time and money, while producing faster approvals and increasing investment certainty.

The Act is based on the important principle that compliance with regulations should be based on whether performance standards are met (e.g. through self regulation or through internationally recognized standards), rather than through strict compliance with technical regulatory specifications. It is the opinion of Treasury Board that some of Canada's 40,000 pages of regulations may be seriously out-of-date and may in fact impede competitiveness and creative entrepreneurship.
How does the process work?

Each federal Minister responsible for regulations will be responsible for approving compliance plans and administrative agreements. In other words, the Minister and the department doing the regulating would have to agree with the applicant in order to permit the exemption to the regulations.

Compliance Plans

Step one:  Each regulating department would first publish the list of regulations under its responsibility in which applicants can apply for compliance plans.

Step two: These same departments would publish in the Canada Gazette "criteria and procedures" for applying for compliance plans.

Step three: Any person or company or association may apply to the responsible Minister for a compliance plan. The applicant must designate how the regulatory goals and objectives are going to be met (without complying with regulations), including information on monitoring compliance, quality assurance standards, and a possible commitment to paying the government (cost recovery) for the costs of approving the plan.

Step four: The Ministry will make a "reasonable effort" to consult governments and other interested parties.

Step five: There is a requirement to "pre-publish" the government's decision only if the specific regulations require this. Otherwise, the government is under no obligation to "pre-publish"; rather, they are obligated to publish the notice of their decision within 60 days of granting permission. The name of the applicant and the nature of the compliance plan (subject to privacy considerations) must be published in the Canada Gazette.

Compliance Plans may be terminated at the discretion of the responsible regulatory authority.

Administrative Agreements

This section of the Bill would permit responsible regulatory authorities to strike agreements with other regulatory authorities respecting the efficient administration of any designated Act or Regulation.  This process would encourage federal-provincial agreements and department-to-department cooperation on regulations, approvals and enforcement. With time, this provision could reduce the regulatory ambiguity and overlap that currently exists among departments and between levels of government.

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