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Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Regulatory Cooperation Forum Work Plan

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) Work Plan is a living document and will be updated on an ongoing basis as regulatory cooperation opportunities arise, and following each RCF meeting


On September 21, 2017, the Canada-EU CETA entered into force provisionally. Chapter 21 lays out the framework for regulatory cooperation activities, including the establishment of the RCF. The chapter builds on and replaces an existing agreement between the EU and Canada on regulatory cooperation ('Framework on Regulatory Co-operation and Transparency between the Government of Canada and the European Commission, done at Brussels on 21 December 2004’).

The role of the RCF is to facilitate and promote regulatory cooperation between the Parties. RCF will perform the following functions:

RCF Structure

On the EU side the work is led jointly by DG GROW and DG TRADE and on the Canadian side jointly by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Global Affairs Canada.
EU Co-chairs:

Canadian Co-chairs:

RCF will:

Stakeholder Involvement

To inform their regulatory cooperation activities, including the exchanges of regulators at RCF meetings, both Parties have carried out consultations in line with the Article 21.8 of CETA, in order to collect views of European and Canadian stakeholders for potential topics where EU and Canadian regulators can meaningfully cooperate.

Each Party may choose to conduct additional stakeholder consultations to inform their issues and sectors of interest under the RCF.

Work Plan Development

Informed by the input Canada and the Commission received through their consultations, the Parties have exchanged proposals that outline the issues, sectors and regulatory areas that are of interest to them. Through internal analysis and discussions with their respective regulators, as well as through dialogues with one another, the Parties are working to identify those issues that are of mutual interest. While these dialogues and exchanges continue, both Parties have agreed that work on the exchange of information on the safety of consumer products as defined in the Article 21.7 of CETA should start expeditiously

As the Parties reach agreement on areas that are of mutual interest, they will work with regulators to add these items to a table of cooperation areas (Annex A), which includes actions and timelines.   

Annex A

Overview of CETA RCF Regulatory Cooperation Areas

Sector: Consumer product safety

Canadian Department: Health Canada

European Department: European Commission, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST)

Regulatory Cooperation Statement: The safety of consumer products sold on their national markets is a major concern for regulators around the world. The increased globalization of markets and supply chains, the rise of online/cross-border shopping, and the increasing number of new products reaching markets have made physical borders non-existent. The same consumer products or types of products appear in similar markets, which means that authorities in the EU and in Canada often face similar product safety challenges. In this context, it is imperative that the Government of Canada and the European Union regulators cooperate to efficiently identify potential dangerous consumer products.

Initiative: Exchange of information between the EU RAPEX alert system and RADAR, Canada’s consumer product incident reporting system

Desired Outcome: Canadian and European regulators have timely and detailed consumer product safety information coming from each other, allowing for better informed decisions to fulfill their mandate of improving the health and safety of their citizens in relation to consumer products:

Project Timeline
Technical exchange of information between EU RAPEX and Canada's RADAR systemsQ1, Q2, Q3, Q4OngoingFollowing a testing phase, the exchange of information started on June 5, 2019.
Possible coordinated   market surveillance activity Q3, Q4In planningParticipants exploring the possibility of implementing coordinated joint market surveillance activities.
Possible joint awareness-raising campaign Q4In planningParticipants exploring the possibility of organising a joint awareness-raising campaign addressed at consumers.
Bilateral meetingsQ1, Q2, Q3, Q4OngoingFollowing the signing of the administrative arrangement, both Participants have decided to hold regular monthly meetings at working level to discuss consumer product safety issues and identify possible areas of cooperation to improve the safety of consumer products in the markets within their respective jurisdictions. Since January 2019, three meetings have taken place.

Sector: “Cosmetic-Like” Drug Products

Canadian Department: Health Canada

European Department: European Commission, Directorate-General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)

Regulatory Cooperation Statement: Canada is seeking to increase regulatory harmonization with the EU regarding specific “cosmetic-like” products.

Initiative: Eliminate Canada’s quarantine and confirmatory re-testing requirements for low-risk “cosmetic-like” drug products imported from the E.U.

Desired Outcome:

Project Timeline
Exemption from re-testing/quarantine of EU sunscreen productsQ4 2019Came into effect 14-02-2019No set expiry date.  The intent is for this to remain in force until such time as regulatory amendments are made.
Possible exemption from re-testing/quarantine of EU low risk cosmetic-like products, i.e. toothpastes and antidandruff shampoosTargeting  FY2019/20Possible exemption from re-testing/quarantine of EU toothpastes and antidandruff shampoosHealth Canada is contemplating a number of regulatory amendments which could lead to these exemptions. Timelines to be determined by timing of regulatory amendments, which are separate from the Sunscreen pilot expansion.

Sector: Pharmaceutical Inspections 

Canadian Department: Health Canada

European Department: European Commission, Directorate-General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)

Regulatory Cooperation Statement: In October 2016, Canada and the EU signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Protocol on the mutual recognition of the compliance and enforcement programme regarding good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical product. In addition to allowing continued mutual recognition each other’s certificates of GMP compliance, the Protocol article 5(2) indicates that Canada and the EU may accept certificates of GMP compliance issued by an equivalent regulatory authority of the other Party with respect to a manufacturing facility outside the territory of the Parties.

These certificates are currently exchanged on a voluntary basis by Canadian and European Regulatory Authorities in situations deemed appropriate by the Parties. 

There is an opportunity to officially recognize pharmaceutical inspections conducted in third countries and implement the exchange of certificates in order to further enhance cooperation and regulatory alignment between the EU and Canada.

Initiative:  Expanding the existing approach of recognizing inspection results from the respective Parties to include inspections that are conducted in countries outside of the respective Parties’ jurisdictions (i.e. extra-jurisdictional inspections)

Desired Outcome: Mutual recognition of inspection results would lead to more efficient and effective regulatory oversight and benefits trade between Canada and the EU without diminishing the high standards of safety and quality that exist in both jurisdictions. It would also reduce regulatory burden on industry and lead to better regulatory alignment among international regulatory partners.

Project Timeline
Activity 1 – Reliance on GMP inspections conducted outside of the territories of the PartiesGoal for completion Q2/2020Two discussions took place where both Parties are working on identifying the scope and developing an action plan
Activity 2  - Exchange of  GMP information on  inspections conducted outside of the territories of the PartiesGoal for completion Q1/2020Both Parties to establish a process and agree on the type of information to be exchanged by Q3  2019

Sector: Cybersecurity

Canadian Department: Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada

European Department: European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology (DG CONNECT)

Regulatory Cooperation Statement: The deployment of connected devices, or “internet of things” (IoT) devices, in the marketplace is a growing area of economic activity, with a potential for risk. The growth of IOT devices and their ability to generate data is fuelling innovation in the development of algorithms supporting Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The increased connectivity of devices combined with the volume of connected devices available raises the risk of cybersecurity threats that can lead to real life safety issues for citizens related to areas such as health, transportation, and critical infrastructure.

To realize the benefits of the digital and connected economy, there needs to be an environment of trust and accountability regarding the safety and security of these devices. Citizens and businesses must trust the technology they interact with, have a predictable environment, and rely on the safeguards protecting them in the marketplace. Mechanisms, such as labelling, can provide consumers with the necessary safety and security information of IOT devices. A multi-jurisdictional approach could strengthen the benefit of IOT product labelling.

There is a need for greater cooperation between Canada and EU to identify, categorize, and address risks to connected devices, including addressing increased standardization, transparency, and design regulation when designing, developing and deploying these products. We must also consider challenges and risks regarding liability, supply chain security, criminal use, privacy, and cyber security. Maintaining a balance between regulation and innovation is important.

Initiative: Align Canadian and EU IOT regulations and standards, as necessary.

Desired Outcome:

Project Timeline
High-level update call to discuss development on addressing IoT security issues in each jurisdiction.June 2019Shared links to recent government announcements related to Canada’s Digital Charter-Canada presents Year-one report of Canadian Multistakeholder Process on IoT Security after released for public comment. -Launch of Canada’s Digital Charter and marketplace reform proposals EU presents progress/result of EU Cybersecurity Act
Drafting of a short fiche on framework policies in respective jurisdictions to be considered for possible future regulatory cooperation on IoT security issues.November – December 2019: Canada will complete an initial draft and then will go through iterative process with EU counterparts
Exchange of views on cybersecurity conformity assessment and labelling.At least two calls between June-October 2019Subjects:
  • baseline requirements for Consumer IoT;
  • approaches to conformity assessment and labelling
Stakeholder engagement to brief respective communities on the progress of this discussion and the short fiche on framework policiesDecember 2019Explore the role of marketplace framework laws in support of IoT standards and approaches including labelling

Sector: Animal Welfare

Canadian Department: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

European Department:  European Commission, Directorate-General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) and Directorate-General Trade (DG TRADE)

Regulatory Cooperation Statement: Canada has a very large geographical territory. Long distance transport of animals is essential for several reasons. For example, large breeding operations that raise stock for domestic and international trade often situate their facilities in remote areas for biosafety purposes and to minimize disease risk, which necessitates longer transport to markets; facilitating the ongoing exchange of breeding stock across Canada is critical to maintaining the genetic well-being of animal populations, especially as global biodiversity continues to decline; specialization and consolidation of breeding functions for some species, specifically poultry and swine, is beneficial to gain economies of scale and to focus investments on genetic improvement, but necessitates long distance transport to markets.

The European Union is also interested in Canadian experience on this topic and information sharing between Canada and the EU will facilitate a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of both systems.   

Initiative: information sharing regarding various aspects of long distance animal transportation

Desired Outcome:

Project Timeline
Teleconference - Technical information exchange between EU and Canada.June 2019Completed – fully metIdentified a need for further information exchange.
Information and document sharingJune – Nov. 2019OngoingAs identified in June meeting
Teleconference – Continued technical information exchange between Canada and the EUNovember 2019In planning  
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