New legislation introduced today, April 30, will implement the workings of a national agreement on trade dispute resolution. The bill was introduced by Economic and Rural Development Minister Murray Scott. An Act to Amend the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act will allow governments in Canada to enforce financial penalties from any unresolved future trade disputes. All provinces, the federal government and participating territories have committed to the same course of action. The revised government-to-government dispute-resolution mechanism will permit monetary penalties for continued non-compliance with agreement obligations. Once all governments have acted, the strengthened dispute resolution will take effect with the common goal to enable people, goods, services and investments to move freely across the country. “Today’s announcement represents a portion of a larger effort to reduce trade barriers within Canada for greater economic growth and prosperity,” said Mr. Scott. “Stronger internal trade practices will help Canadian workers in businesses of all regions improve competitiveness and productivity, and help to ensure lower costs.” Mr. Scott will also introduce a bill to officially change the name of the department. The new name, Economic and Rural Development, reflects government’s renewed commitment to economic development and sustainability in rural communities across Nova Scotia, as well as continued focus on urban centres. “During these uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever to ensure vibrant communities across the province, and to remove obstacles to business to create a strong, efficient internal system of trade,” said Mr. Scott. The Internal Trade Agreement establishes a framework for Canadian governments to work together to develop and maintain an open and efficient domestic market. It covers government procurement, labour mobility, consumer-related measures and standards, agricultural food goods, alcoholic beverages, natural resources processing, communications, transportation, and environmental protection.