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Regulatory Affairs – March 2021

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March 2021


When I joined Regulatory Affairs at the Canada Revenue Agency, one of the first e-mails I got forwarded was a copy of Jason R. Ward’s excellent newsletter “The Tax Legist-Jason Standard.”  Now that I’m settled in, I thought I would attempt to follow in his footsteps and create a monthly newsletter on affairs of a regulatory nature including various articles, reports, upcoming learning opportunities, and other developments in the regulatory world.  I hope you find it informative and I look forward to any comments, questions, or suggestions you may have.


Gordon D. Bonnar

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

Book cover for "Simpler: The Future of Government by Cass R. Sunstein"

Simpler: The Future of Government

Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University and Former Administrator, White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

I would highly recommend this book for people wishing to improve their understanding of behavioural economics and/or the regulatory regime of the United States.  The book provides a great overview of the regulatory system, the changes implemented by Dr. Sunstein, and the general principles of behavioural economics in good regulatory design. Nudge, written with Dr. Richard Thaler and Dr. Sunstein, covers the behavioural economics aspects of Simpler in more detail.

Regulatory Quality and COVID-19: Managing the Risks and Supporting the Recovery
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

“During a crisis, when time is of the essence, it becomes hard to anticipate, analyse and thoroughly discuss the impacts of regulations designed to deal with urgent issues. This, however, need not mean that these ’emergency’ regulations adopted in haste receive ‘carte blanche’ treatment. Well-designed regulatory systems can comply with tried and tested recommendations on regulatory policy and governance, even in a crisis. “

Read the full report (GC Intranet)


Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and the Federal Response to COVID-19
Women and Gender Equality

Purpose: “To ensure that we continue to make progress delivering on the Government of Canada’s commitments to advance gender equality and inclusion and to apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to decision-making.

To create policy responses that are reflective of diverse needs particularly of those of the most vulnerable in a time of crisis and ensure that gains made in gender equality are not compromised.”

Access the full presentation (GC Intranet)

Regulations and How to Measure Their Performance
Community of Federal Regulators Video Library

“Regulations are key instruments that government uses to reduce or prevent societal, economic and environmental harm while promoting competitiveness and innovation. How do we measure their effectiveness in reaching the desired result?

Participants had an opportunity to hear about:

  • the principles and foundation of regulatory measurement;
  • existing performance measurement frameworks; and
  • an example of regulatory performance measurement.


  • Steve Montague, Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, and Partner, Performance Management Network Inc.
  • Shannon Townsend, Senior Evaluation Manager, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Scott Postma, Senior Regulatory Policy and Risk Management Advisor, Health Canada “

Access the video and presentation resources (GC Intranet)

Canada’s Regulatory Cooperation Activities
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Cabinet Directive on Regulation mandates regulators to identify area for regulatory alignment or cooperation during regulatory development. Regulatory cooperation applies to a range of regulatory activities, including: policy development; inspections; certification; adoption and development of standards; and product and testing approvals.

This resource provides a public list of Canada’s major regulatory cooperation activities.
Access the list

Upcoming Learning Opportunities and Events

Virtual Café Series: Artificial Intelligence
Canada School of Public Service
March 2, 2021 | 1 hour | Webcast

“This next event in the series features Gillian Hadfield, Director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at the University of Toronto, Karen Hao, Senior AI Reporter at MIT Technology Review, and Shingai Manjengwa, Director of Technical Education at the Vector Institute for AI and Founder of Fireside Analytics. The discussion will explore how AI is impacting our world, the implications of human bias in AI design, and key public policy considerations for effective governance.”

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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