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Stakeholder Sessions in Washington January 30 & 31, 2012

On December 7, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama released the Canada–United States Joint Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation. The Joint Action Plan is a practical first step to increased regulatory cooperation and alignment between Canada and the United States.

Bilateral working groups, led by senior officials from regulatory departments, have been established and will lead the implementation of the initiatives identified in the Joint Action Plan. Working groups are developing work plans with concrete objectives, deliverables and milestones for tangible progress within the RCC’s two-year mandate.

On January 30th and 31st, 2012 in Washington, DC the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) provided an opportunity for stakeholder organizations to engage with the RCC and to provide their views on implementation and technical aspects of the Joint Action Plan.

January 30, 2012 – Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Meets with Stakeholders in Washington to Discuss Implementation of Joint Action Plan initiatives

As committed to in the Canada–United States RCC Joint Action Plan announced on December 7, 2011, an RCC stakeholder engagement session took place on January 30, 2012 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. This meeting was the first formal RCC stakeholder engagement session to discuss the RCC’s overall objective of regulatory cooperation and provided a useful opportunity for stakeholders from both Canada and the United States to share their views on this joint initiative.

The session allowed for an exchange regarding the implementation of Joint Action Plan initiatives, ways to foster ongoing alignment, and to prevent future unnecessary regulatory differences between Canada and the United States.

The session served to:

  • Confirm that a key outcome of the RCC initiative is to move beyond previous approaches to cooperation and advance regulatory relationship to a new level by developing lasting regulatory cooperation mechanisms to foster ongoing alignment and prevent future unnecessary differences from occurring.
  • Emphasize that this is an initial Joint Action Plan where each initiative represents a vehicle to establish these mechanisms that create a new form of advanced cooperation (e.g., standard setting, product approvals).
  • Confirm the goal of making our regulatory systems more efficient and effective without compromising protections for health, safety, the environment, privacy and sovereignty that are already in place.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to engaging stakeholders in the process and provide ongoing opportunities to comment on technical, directional and strategic elements of the Joint Action Plan

Participants encouraged the RCC to continue to make stakeholder engagement a central and ongoing part of their work.

The next formal RCC stakeholder session will take place in Ottawa later in 2012. In addition, there will be ongoing stakeholder engagement activities that form an integral part of the implementation process by working groups

January 31, 2012 – Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Technical Review and Stakeholder Advisory Sessions in Washington

The following individual RCC stakeholder sessions were held on January 31, 2012 in Washington:

Agriculture and Food, Session A

  • Perimeter approach to plant protection

Agriculture and Food, Session B

  • Crop protection products

Agriculture and Food, Session C

  • Meat/poultry – equivalency
  • Meat/poultry – certification requirements
  • Meat cut nomenclature

Agriculture and Food, Session D

  • Veterinary drugs
  • Zoning for foreign animal disease

Agriculture and Food, Session E

  • Financial protection to produce sellers

Agriculture and Food, Session F

  • Food safety – common approach
  • Food safety – testing

Road Transport – Motor Vehicles

  • Existing motor vehicle safety standards
  • New motor vehicle safety standards

Air Transport

  • Unmanned aircraft

Transportation

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems

Transportation

  • Dangerous goods means of transportation

Marine Transport

  • Safety and security framework & arrangement for the St. Lawrence Seaway & Great Lakes System
  • Marine transportation security regulations
  • Recreational boat manufacturing standards
  • Standard for lifejackets

Rail Transport

  • Locomotive Emissions
  • Rail Safety Standards

Environment

  • Emission standards for light-duty vehicles

Personal Care Products & Pharmaceuticals

  • Electronic submission gateway
  • Over-the-counter products – common monographs
  • Good manufacturing practices

Occupational Safety Issues

  • Classification & labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals

Nanotechnology

  • Nanotechnology

Led jointly by senior officials from Canada and the United States, the purpose of the various technical review sessions was to seek expert advice and technical input from the approximately 240 stakeholders in attendance. The sessions provided stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on technical and directional/strategic elements in two fundamental RCC Joint Action Plan areas:

  • The resolution of issues contained in the Joint Action Plan; and
  • The development of regulatory cooperation mechanisms to secure ongoing alignment into the future.

The sessions resulted in considerable, high value input and dialogue around ways to move forward on the initiatives and means to broaden the work to include permanent mechanisms that could be more widely applied across sectors and foster ongoing alignment and prevent future unnecessary differences from occurring.

In addition to providing specific input on draft work plans, a number of themes emerged from these technical review sessions:

  • There was clear desire for ongoing dialogue between Working Groups and stakeholders, both in the process of completing the work plans and the implementation of Joint Action Plan initiatives over the coming months;
  • Work plans should be more precise as to how regulatory alignment will be ensured on an ongoing basis; and
  • Stakeholders expect the work plans to have prescribed timelines outlining expected results and tangible progress to occur in the short term and throughout the duration of the work plan implementation.

Once complete, the work plans will outline details regarding deliverables and timelines that constitute steps in addressing individual Joint Action Plan issues, and how ongoing regulatory alignment will be achieved.

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