The State of Internal Trade: Canada’s Interprovincial Cooperation Report Card

The 2023 edition of the report card grades federal, provincial, and territorial governments' interprovincial cooperation efforts and provides an overview of the work done to reduce the barriers to internal trade. It offers a snapshot of the progress made and highlights the challenges faced by governments in achieving a more prosperous and integrated union.

This report card grades three major areas of interprovincial/territorial cooperation:

  1. Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) exceptions,
  2. the existence of inter-jurisdictional barriers to internal trade, and
  3. the status of items from reconciliation agreements.
Within this framework, governments with the highest overall report card scores are those that have the fewest exceptions and have made the most progress towards reducing specific barriers. Manitoba receives the highest overall score of 8.9 (A- grade) in the report card, followed by Alberta with a score of 8.6 (B+ grade), (see Table 1).

No jurisdiction received an A grade in the overall score, indicating that much work remains to be done to reduce internal trade barriers.
Table 1: Areas of Interprovincial/Territorial Cooperation, Score and Grade 1 , 2
Grades are highest for the total exceptions to the CFTA and status of items from reconciliation agreements; the reduction of interjurisdictional barriers remains a challenge.
Jurisdiction I. Total Exceptions to the CFTA in 2023 (40%) II. Interjurisdictional Barriers to Internal Trade (20%) III. Status of Items from Reconciliation Agreements (40%) Overall Score and Grade
MB 9.7 A 5.4 D 10.0 A 8.9 A-
AB 10.0 A 4.0 D 9.5 A 8.6 B+
SK 8.3 B 4.0 D 9.5 A 7.9 B
BC 7.6 B- 4.1 D 9.6 A 7.7 B-
NS 6.2 C- 4.4 D 9.6 A 7.2 C+
ON 4.8 D 5.6 D 9.2 A 6.7 C
NT 5.9 D 2.0 F 9.1 A 6.4 C-
NL 5.9 D 1.6 F 8.8 A- 6.2 C-
PEI 5.2 D 2.9 F 8.6 B+ 6.1 C-
NU 4.8 D 2.0 F 9.1 A 6.0 C-
FED3 2.1 F     9.6 A 5.8 D
YT 2.4 F 3.0 F 9.1 A 5.2 D
NB 2.1 F 2.9 F 7.9 B 4.6 D
QC 0.0 F 3.6 F 9.2 A 4.4 D
  1. Score: 10 is best, 0 is worst. The scores of the three areas of interprovincial/territorial cooperation are combined into a single score that allows for a ranking of governments from best (highest score) to worst (lowest score).
  2. Grade: A, A-: 8.7-10 (Excellent performance); B+, B, B-: 7.5-8.6 (Good performance); C+, C, C-: 6.0-7.4 (Satisfactory performance); D: 4-5.9 (Less than satisfactory performance); F: 0-3.9 (Unsatisfactory performance).
  3. The federal government is scored on two areas: the Total Exceptions to the CFTA in 2021 based on the number of procurement exceptions they maintain, and the Implementation Status of Reconciliation Agreements. Both areas are weighted equally (50% each) as the select barriers area was not available for this analysis.

For details on how scores were calculated, refer to the Methodology section in the Appendix D of the report.

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