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Consumer representation concerning internal trade

The Government of Canada, responding to stakeholders from business, labour and the  professions, has called for stakeholder engagement in processes to reform Canada's internal trade practices. This is a sophisticated political, legal and regulatory process affecting  markets in Canada and impacting consumers profoundly. Many complicated issues must be  resolved to further liberalize trade in Canada while protecting consumers. Consumers have an interest in various trade reforms and the harmonization of consumer protection measures. There are four Canadian consumer groups with a record collectively of engaging public policy processes, and conducting related research, on behalf of consumers. They are Consumers Council of Canada, Option consommateurs, Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Union des consommateurs. These groups have modest iinancial resources. For a meaningful stakeholder process to take place concerning internal trade reform, provision must be made for authentic and capable consumer representation, which these consumer groups could provide with suitable financial support from the process. This can be best undertaken on the basis of a national commitment by all stakeholders involved. Public confidence in internal trade reform at the consumer level will be enhanced by consumer group engagement in the process, which Canadians think should happen.

A Consumers Council of Canada report on the subject includes recommendations about improving consumer representation in the internal trade reform process based on the expectations of Canadian consumers and the input of stakeholders and policy leaders.

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