Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)

In 1995, the provinces, territories and the Canadian government signed the national Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT).

The purpose of the AIT is to foster improved interprovincial trade by addressing obstacles to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada. Its establishment was a significant achievement in helping to remove the existing interprovincial trade barriers, prevent the establishment of new barriers and harmonise interprovincial standards. It was felt that these actions would reduce extra costs to Canadian businesses by making internal trade more efficient, increasing market access for Canadian companies and facilitating work mobility for trades people and professionals.

Guiding Principles
  • • Parties to the AIT agreed to six general rules, established to prevent governments from establishing new trade barriers and to reduce existing barriers: 

  • • Non-discrimination: Establishing equal treatment for all Canadian persons, goods, services and investments.

  • • Right of entry and exit: Prohibiting measures that restrict the movement of persons, goods, services or investments across provincial or territorial boundaries. 

  • • No obstacles: Ensuring provincial/territorial government policies and practices do not create obstacles to trade. 

  • Legitimate objectives: Ensuring provincial/territorial non-trade objectives which may cause some deviation from the above guidelines have a minimal adverse impact on interprovincial trade. 

  • • Reconciliation: Providing the basis for eliminating trade barriers caused by differences in standards and regulations across Canada.

  • •Transparency: Ensuring information is accessible to interested businesses, individuals and governments. 

The AIT focuses on reducing trade barriers within eleven specific sectors (see Overview of the Agreement on Internal Trade): Procurement ; Investment; Consumer-Related Measures and Standards; Agricultural and Food Products; Alcoholic Beverages; Natural Resources Processing; Energy; Communications; Transportation; Environmental Protection; and Labour Mobility. 

Of the 11 Sectors, Labour Mobility is the most critical to the CFPFA and its Member Agencies as it focuses on enabling qualified workers to practice their occupation anywhere in Canada by eliminating residency requirements, requiring licensing, certification and registration of workers to be based primarily on competence, committing to recognizing a worker's occupational qualifications and reconciling differences in occupational standards.