WH reaches deal with Canada to cut red tape

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the terms of a new regulatory partnership with Canada aimed at reducing the cost of doing business between the neighboring nations. 

The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan is a set of agreements to streamline rules in some areas, reduce duplicative requirements and allow regulators to share information, said Howard Shelanski, the White House’s regulatory czar. 

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“This kind of international cooperation on regulations between the United States and Canada will help eliminate barriers to doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies, grow the economy, and create jobs,” said Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. 

Shelanski, in a White House blog post, called the accord “a significant pivot point” in cooperative efforts between the two governments that would institutionalize the way regulators can work together. 

The plan identifies two dozen areas where the two countries will focus their efforts over the next three to five years. 

In the initial phase, regulators from the United States and Canada plan to spend the next six months establishing joint work plans meant to lay the groundwork for shared goals, including the alignment of U.S. and Canadian energy efficiency standards. 

That initiative alone is expected to avert millions of dollars in unnecessary costs to the public and private sectors. 

Shelanski stressed that the plan goes beyond merely aligning regulations, and will involve department-level partnerships, including commitments that the officials from the two nations will collaborate on a variety of technical work plans. The efforts will be focused on laws and policies accompanied by regulations that present the biggest challenges. 

“Working together with our Canadian partners can make government regulations smarter, doing business easier, and consumers safer,” Shelanski said.