Regulatory Cooperation Council

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Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC)
Member countries:
 United States

The Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) is an executive, non-binding agreement between Canada and the United States with a mandate of working together "to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination" between the two countries.[1][2][3]

The Council of Canadians claimed that the now defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (2006–2009) extended the controversial "no fly list" of the USA, made Canadian water a communal resource, and forced Canada and Mexico to adopt the USA's security policies—one of which would allow foreign military forces to neglect sovereignty in the case of a "civil emergency". In addition, it also touched on the issue of Athabasca Oil Sands expansion to five times its current size.(Behind Closed Doors: What they're not telling us about the Security and Prosperity Partnership) Some thirty US-based organizations also sent an open letter to Congress on April 21, 2008 criticizing the secrecy and lack of any sort of democratic oversight: "What differentiates the SPP from other security and trade agreements is that it is not subject to Congressional oversight or approval. The SPP establishes a corporate/government bureaucracy for implementation that excludes civil society participation. … Facing a worrisome pact pushed forward in secrecy, it is time for Congress to halt this undemocratic approach and establish a process based on openness, accountability, and the participation of civil society."[4]

The Canadian Senate Standing Committee on National Finance [notes 1] however, in its report entitled The Canada USA Price Gap recommended that "the Government of Canada, through the Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council, continue to integrate the safety standards between Canada and the United States with the intent to reduce the price discrepancies without compromising the safety needs of the two countries (page vi and 27)."[5] In his testimony before the Senate Committee, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said results of the bank's September 2011 survey showed a major price gap, with Canadians paying 11% more than Americans for identical goods. He notes that this was an improvement over April 2011 when the difference was 18%.[6]

The agreement is not a legally binding treaty, and relies on the political will and ability of the executives of both governments to implement the terms of the agreement. These types of executive agreements are routine—on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Joint Action Plan[edit]

Joint Action Plan issues [7] include

  • Agriculture & Food (Food Safety, Agricultural Production, Marketing)[8]
  • Transportation (Surface: Road & Rail, Marine, Other Transportation Issues)[8]
  • Health And Personal Care Products And Workplace Chemicals [8]

Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the RCC mandate, undertook the "first of its kind" initiative by selecting "as its first area of alignment common cold indications for certain over-the-counter antihistamine ingredients (GC 2013-01-10)." [9]

  • Environment [8]
  • Cross-Sectoral Issues (Small Business Lens, Regulatory Approach To Nanomaterials).[8]


The mandate is to work together "to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination" between the two countries.[1][2][3]

Canada-United States[edit]

  • February 4, 2011Washington, DC Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the creation of a U.S.–Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to better align "regulatory approaches. The goal of regulatory cooperation is to remove unnecessary requirements and align standards. Such differences and duplications slow down trade and investment, limit timely access to products, and add costs to manufacturers and consumers. The RCC's work will focus on addressing these, thus making it easier for Canadian and American firms to do business on both sides of the border."[3]
  • December 7, 2011Washington, DC Prime Minister Harper and President Obama signed the Joint Action Plan which called on both countries to spend more on border infrastructure, share more information on people who cross the border, and acknowledge more of each other's safety and security inspection on third-country traffic. An editorial in The Globe and Mail praised the agreement for giving Canada the ability to track whether failed refugee claimants have left Canada via the U.S. and for eliminating "duplicated baggage screenings on connecting flights".[10]
  • May 2012Washington, DC President Obama issued an Executive Order "strengthening institutional mechanisms for facilitating international regulatory cooperation and reflecting a commitment to regulatory cooperation going forward."[7][11] "In some cases, the differences between the regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements (President Obama 2012)."[11]

See also[edit]

Related infrastructure projects:


  1. ^ Standing Committee on National Finance examined "the potential reasons for price discrepancies in respect of certain goods between Canada and the United States, given the value of the Canadian dollar and the effect of cross border shopping on the Canadian economy; That, in conducting such a study, the committee take particular note of differences between Canada and the United States including, but not limited to, market sizes, transportation costs, tariff rates, occupancy costs, labour costs, taxes and fees, regulations, mark-up (Standing Committee on National Finance 2013-02)." The Committee was unable to explain why Canadians paid 11% more than Americans for identical goods, even after considering tariffs, etc and in spite of a dollar at par for many years and observed that "As more Canadian consumers become aware of smartphone applications and Internet sites for price shopping and comparison, and become price-savvy consumers, competitive pressures in Canada will increase and the price for products in Canada will converge to U.S. prices."


  1. ^ a b "Joint Statement by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper of Canada on Regulatory Cooperation". 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  2. ^ a b "PM and U.S. President Obama announce shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness between Canada and the United States". Prime Minister of Canada. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b c "United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Action Plan: Developing and implementing the Joint Action Plan". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. December 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ Open letter to the U.S. Congress, April 21, 2008.
  5. ^ The Canada USA Price Gap (PDF) (Report). Report of the Standing Committee on National Finance. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Senate of Canada. February 2013. Retrieved February 2013. 
  6. ^ CP (November 2, 2011). "Bank of Canada pinpoints Canada-U.S. price gap". CTV News. 
  7. ^ a b Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan Progress Report to Leaders (PDF) (Report). Perimeter Security & Economic Competitiveness. Government of Canada. December 2012. Retrieved February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan" (PDF). December 2011. Retrieved February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Notice: Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Products: Common Monograph Working Group: Selection of a Monograph for Alignment". Canada's Action Plan. Government of Canada. January 10, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Canada-U.S. border agreement a good thing". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). September 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b The President (May 4, 2012). "Executive Order 13609 (Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation) 26413" (PDF). Federal Register (White House) 77 (87). Retrieved February 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]