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Regulatory Affairs – April 2021

April 2021


Spring is officially here; the sun is out, and we’re gaining ground against the COVID-19 pandemic.  I’d like to thank everyone who provided feedback on the first issue. I have always enjoyed sharing interesting things with other people.  I’ve had some form of blog since 1998, even though my current endeavour, Policy Geek, has been sitting idle for almost a year now.  I am hoping that the research and writing I put into producing this newsletter will re-ignite my interest in writing about the state of policy analysis and regulatory systems around the world.

For the moment, the newsletter will only contain public information or links to Government of Canada resources available to all public servants.  The majority of the feedback I received, came from other departments and agencies and I feel a general approach would be more useful for a broad audience. I will reassess this in the future and determine if there is demand for a CRA internal version which, for example, could point to published regulations and CRA specific policy initiatives and events.  Let me know what you’d like to see.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I did putting it together.

Gordon D. Bonnar

What to Read: Books, Articles, Reports, and Blogs

Regulatory Reform: The Search for the Elusive Silver Bullet
Michael Presley, Adjunct Professor, Regulatory Governance Institute, Carleton University

While this blog post from the Regulatory Governance Institute at Carleton University may have been published in 2019, the core argument rings true today.  We’re well on our way to a more robust regulatory regime in Canada, but we aren’t there yet.

“Even the best designed and consulted regulatory proposal can prove ineffective if it isn’t well implemented and monitored for its impact. Every regulation is actually an experiment and only careful management, monitoring and adjustments will increase the likelihood that it will work as intended.”
Read the full post

Staffing the Crisis: The Capacity of Eleven Municipal Departments Across Canada
Stefan Hodges, Manitoba Office, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This study covers eleven municipalities in Canada and assesses them for accessible housing tools and support.  The study, in no uncertain times, calls out Manitoba for lackluster policy and implementation of tools to improve access and quality of affordable rental unites.  One uplifting result of the study is an outline of the decision Québec which has allowed Montréal top undertake novel and empowered approaches to improving access to affordable rental housing.  I was saddened to see that Ottawa was not included in the study.

“With new authority granted from the province of Québec in 2017, Montréal is developing a by-law that will require the inclusion of affordable and social housing units in large developments. The mandated inclusion of affordable units is a bold regulatory power that has not been seen in other Canadian cities. In most provinces, Cities have not been granted the legislative power to mandate the inclusion of affordable units, so they have instead found ways of encouraging or assisting the development of affordable housing by offering incentives”
Read the full study

How do laws and regulations affect competitiveness: The role of regulatory impact assessment
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Regulatory Policy Working Papers No.15

“The report categorises regulatory impacts on competitiveness into three strongly interrelated components: cost competitiveness, innovation, and international competitiveness. Given these interlinkages, there is scope to develop a more complete framework for policy makers to define and assess the competitiveness impacts of regulation as part of their regulatory impact analysis] processes. “

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) partnered with the OECD to identify critical factors needed to implement competitiveness assessments as a regular component of regulatory impact analysis.  TBS is seeking feedback on the working paper. Please direct your comments to
Read the Report


Legistics – Legislative Drafting
Department of Justice

For the many regulators who do not have legal education the Department of Justice’s Legistics provides clear explanations of the use of common terms and drafting techniques.

“Legistics est un recueil d’articles portant exclusivement sur les questions de rédaction en anglais des textes législatifs. La nature même de l’ouvrage fait en sorte qu’il n’est offert qu’en anglais.”
Access Legistics

Upcoming Learning Opportunities, Consultations, and Events

Online Regulatory Consultation System (ORCS) Information and Demonstration Session
Community of Federal Regulators with the Canada Gazette
Online Video | 40 minutes  | Demonstration

Chapter 28 of the Canada-United States – Mexico (CUSMA) agreement, the Good Regulatory Practices chapter commits Canada to improving online consultations on proposed regulations by requiring a system for allowing comments on specific regulatory elements and publishing comments online received during consultations.

“In 2021, Public Services and Procurement Canada will launch a new function on the Canada Gazette website that will support the government’s commitment to a transparent regulatory process and enhance its accountability in regards to regulatory initiatives. The Online Regulatory Consultation System (ORCS) will standardize and simplify the regulatory consultation process by providing a means for Canadians to submit comments securely online and view comments submitted by other stakeholders during consultation periods.”

In the coming months, the system will be rolled out and tested with a limited selection of regulations before being implemented for all departments and agencies. In order to comply with the our international commitment in CUSMA, this system will be mandatory for managing comments on all regulatory proposals at the pre-publication stage.

If you are interested in seeing a system already in place, the United States maintains a central system for consultations and publication of comments received on proposed regulations. 
Watch the Video

Indigenous Policy Making in Canada
Canada School of Public Service
April 8, 2021 | 2 hours | Webcast with simultaneous interpretation

“This event will look back at the history of Indigenous policy making in Canada and at the federal government’s agenda for advancing reconciliation based on a recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

Join us as we explore the drivers of Indigenous policy making in this new context and address the need for a holistic policy development process that is rooted in nation-to-nation, Inuit–Crown, and government-to-government relationships.”
Read more about this event

Policy Considerations Shaping Digital Transformation
Canada School of Public Service
April 12, 2021 | 2 hours | Webcast with simultaneous interpretation

“There is a high degree of consensus that digital transformation is key to meeting the rising expectations of citizens and clients. Success, however, will require significant structural and cultural reforms within the public service.

Policy changes will also be needed. This includes exploring questions around data management and privacy, trust, ethics, security, misinformation, diversity and inclusion, as well as imbalance of power. Understanding the policy issues and the need for solid digital policies is essential in creating a robust and sustainable digital future, where all citizens thrive.”
Read more about this event

This is a pilot project to see if there is interest for a monthly newsletter of developments and resources related to policy analysis and regulations.  Please send me your comments and suggestions as I’d like to make this newsletter as helpful as possible.

Regulatory Affairs is prepared and distributed by Gordon D. Bonnar and all views expressed herein are my personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada.

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