Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Final Communique from the Council of the Federation

REGINA, August 7, 2009 – Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale discussed the importance of enhancing international relationships, particularly with the European Union (EU) and Asia-Pacific.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale welcomed the federal government’s invitation to provinces and territories to take part directly in the EU negotiations in areas under their jurisdiction.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale have been taking a leadership role in promoting increased trade in the Asia- Pacific, for instance by leading a mission to China last November.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale urge the federal government to promote and launch negotiations for comprehensive economic partnership agreements with China, India, Japan and other Asian economies, in the coming year.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale call for the federal government to make it easier for Mexicans living outside Mexico City to obtain Canadian visas and to work on a longer-term resolution of this issue.

Much of the leadership on climate change in North America to date has come from provinces and territories and US states. Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale agree that Canada would be well served to work with the United States on a continental approach to climate change and energy security.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale accept Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s invitation to join him in Copenhagen and to participate in the development of the Canadian position in advance of the COP 15 meeting in December.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale agreed on the vital importance of innovation in ensuring Canada’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale focused their discussions on innovation to green the economy, improve competitiveness and support the knowledge sector.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale agreed to implement a Canada-wide water efficiency labeling program. This program will reduce water consumption by informing consumers of the most efficient products on the market.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale also agreed to create a Council of the Federation Water Stewardship Council based on the already existing Council in Western Canada. The Council of the Federation Water Stewardship Council will focus its work on water efficiency and conservation and will report to the Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale at their next summer meeting.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale called on the federal government to modernize Canadian Environmental Assessment Act by amending the legislation to permit the federal government to enter into agreements with provinces and territories on a case by case basis to allow for the process and decision to be made on a one project-one assessment basis. The benefits of one project-one assessment include reducing overlap, eliminating unnecessary delays and assigning clear authority for decision-making, while ensuring the highest standards of environmental protection.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale encourage citizens and the private and public sectors to further embrace innovation as a core principle. Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale identified numerous additional areas where they will be taking action to strengthen innovation, which are outlined in the attachment.

Millions of jobs in Canada and the United States are linked to the integrated economies and supply chains that currently exist. Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale strongly support the work of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and International Trade Minister Stockwell Day on Buy American provisions.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale will work alongside the federal government to rapidly reach an agreement with the US administration that would exclude Canada from the negative effects of these provisions and address the concerns of Canadian businesses.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale are also fully committed to participating with the federal government in further negotiations toward a broad, reciprocal procurement liberalization agreement with the US.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale will continue their advocacy efforts with the US Administration, Congress, Governors and US business and labour leaders, on a bilateral, regional and nationwide Basis

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale today agreed on a new Agriculture Chapter for the Agreement on Internal Trade. This builds on the achievements of the Council of the Federation in recent years to further increase the free flow of people, investment, goods and services in Canada.

All jurisdictions in Canada have now approved the new Labour Mobility Chapter of the Agreement on Internal Trade, allowing professionals and tradespeople greatly improved freedom and opportunity to pursue their careers across Canada. All Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale have agreed to the new Dispute Resolution Chapter.

Building on these successes, Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale have agreed to initiate a new round of improvements on internal trade.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale agreed on the urgent need to modernize the Employment Insurance system to support a modern workforce in a modern economy and called for a national summit on retirement income.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale called for urgent attention to the issue of how private and public retirement plans can better meet the needs of Canadians as they retire. They called on the federal government to host a national summit on retirement income.

Finance Ministers have established a Research Working Group on Pension Coverage and Retirement Incomes. Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale welcomed this as a good first step. However, due to the urgent nature of this issue, Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale directed Finance Ministers to report on possible options for reform by the private sector and governments by the end of the year.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale discussed the extensive preparations that provinces and territories have made to limit the spread of the H1N1 virus. There has been full coordination and collaboration among provinces and territories and with the federal government.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale express their appreciation to the chief medical officers of health across Canada for the work they have done so far and are committed to a cooperative and coordinated approach.

Further, Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale acknowledged that, since the SARS outbreak, the federal government has played a welcome and improved leadership role in pandemic preparedness.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale expect the federal government to take a strong role as a full partner in all elements of addressing a H1N1 virus that represents a serious challenge to the health of Canadians.

Premiers and Kathy Dunderdale agreed to pay special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations in preventing and treating H1N1.

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For more information:
Ian Hanna
Communications Advisor
Office of the Saskatchewan Premier