Members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce use their expertise to support Canadian prosperity and economic stability as they study issues related to banking, insurance, trust and loan companies, credit societies, and small-loan companies. The committee is also responsible for considering customs and excise issues, taxation legislation, patents, royalties, corporate affairs, and bankruptcy-related issues.
During this parliamentary session, the committee released five reports. Notable among them was the committee’s report, Tear down these walls: Dismantling Canada’s internal trade barriers, which examined barriers to trade within Canada and their effect on business and economics. To highlight the difficulty of trading across interprovincial borders, the committee released an infographic containing the top 10 weirdest internal barriers to trade.
The committee hosted more than 10 meetings in Ottawa and conducted a fact-finding mission to Vancouver and Calgary. The Canadian Free Trade Agreement, an agreement to improve trade among Canada’s provinces and territories, entered into force on July 1, 2017. Although not all of the Senate’s recommendations were adopted — particularly relating to the free movement of alcohol across provincial borders — members of the committee were pleased that the government took these first steps toward a more profitable and equitable future and look forward to future progress in this area.
As a follow-up to the internal trade report, the committee released National corridor: Enhancing and facilitating commerce and internal trade, on June 21, 2017. The report calls for the construction of an east-west corridor that would unlock significant economic opportunities. The idea is to establish a right-of-way that would accommodate highways, railways, pipelines as well as electrical transmission and communications networks.
When it was tabled in the Senate in December 2016, Copyright Board: A rationale for urgent review, recommended a full review of the copyright board aimed at removing the delays in the settling of tariffs for copyrighted works that have been longstanding irritants to artists and businesses. In August 2017, senators welcomed news that the federal government had launched public consultations to review possible regulatory changes to the decision-making process of the Copyright Board of Canada. The members of the committee look forward to the results.
Senators also met with representatives from the U.S. financial sector, federal agencies, regulators, think tanks and trade associations during their Study on the current and emerging issues of the banking sector and monetary policy of the United States. This report was released in June 2017 upon their return from their second fact-finding mission to New York City and Washington, D.C.
The committee’s study on the present state of the domestic and international financial system concluded with the release of the report, The Fluctuating Canadian Dollar: What it means for Canadians, in March 2016.
A functioning economy is the greatest contributor to a healthy society. The committee has worked since Confederation to keep Canada’s economy strong, free and fair.
“Not since Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy in the 1870s has Canada had such an opportunity to build such a monumental infrastructure project with the potential to transform the country’s economy. As Canada looks forward to its next 150 years, a national corridor is the kind of infrastructure it will need to tap into new foreign markets.”
“The Canadian Free Trade Agreement is the most comprehensive reform to Canada’s internal market in over 20 years — it will help facilitate trade across our country and make it easier for Canadian firms to conduct business. The committee will be following closely the implementation of this agreement.”
This article is part of a series showcasing Senate committees — a report back to Canadians about the work committee members have accomplished during the past sitting of Parliament.
Committees are at the core of the Senate's work. They are recognized for their major contributions to legislation and public policy. Senator Muriel McQueen Fergusson, the first female Speaker of the Senate, called committees "the heart and soul of the Senate.”
In the last four years alone, over 7,500 witnesses have appeared before Senate committees, leading to the crafting of 531 reports and better legislation.
Through this work, senators speak up for their regions and give a powerful voice to underrepresented groups like women, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and linguistic and visible minorities.