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4th Meeting of the CETA Regulatory Cooperation Forum

3-4 May 2022, by Videoconference

Joint Report

  1. Discussion among Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) Co-chairs regarding status of work plans, reporting and general organizational issues
    1. Introduction
      The RCF Co-chairs acknowledged the work of regulators in both jurisdictions throughout the past year, particularly the continued efforts of regulators amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

      As the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) nears its 5th anniversary, the Co-chairs are looking forward to building momentum in recovery and develop opportunities for future collaboration.
    2. Online Stakeholder Engagement Platform
      Canada announced that it recently launched a pilot for a new online stakeholder engagement platform, Let's Talk Federal Regulations. Canada will use this platform to seek input from Canadian organizations and individuals on regulatory modernization initiatives, such as regulatory cooperation tables and targeted regulatory reviews, as well as assess their needs regarding regulatory public reporting and educational material. The first project is "Breaking down inter-jurisdictional regulatory barriers" where Canada is seeking input from Canadian stakeholders on barriers and potential work plan items to inform Canada's position on formal regulatory cooperation tables, including the RCF. Stakeholders will have until June 27, 2022 to submit their input.

      While this initiative is focused on gathering input from Canadian stakeholders, the RCF Co-Chairs emphasized that both Canadian and European stakeholders are always welcome to reach out to their regulators directly to suggest possible areas for cooperation.
    3. Reporting
      The Co-chairs remain committed to providing a public update to the work plan when they next meet in Fall 2022.
  2. Discussion and status update with regulators on RCF items
    The past two years have been dominated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has required an unprecedented need for flexibility and agility within regulatory systems. Shifting priorities to support the response to the pandemic have delayed some of the work of the RCF within both jurisdictions. Although challenges have arisen, the RCF and its work plan items continue to see successful implementation.
    1. Consumer Product Safety
      Regulators in Canada and the EU have continued to work together to better protect the health and safety of consumers. A third joint outreach initiative (on children's water safety) took place in July 2021, and regulators collaborated on a fourth campaign aiming to promote Safe Sleep Week in March 2022. While the campaign was launched in Canada, it was put on hold in the EU following the invasion of Ukraine. Work has already started on a joint campaign related to online shopping that is scheduled to take place late summer or early fall of 2022 with a focus on young people, which has been identified as a priority for both jurisdictions and coincides with the EU Year of Youth.

      Following the successful first coordinated market surveillance project on heavy metals in children's jewelry, participants exchanged their experiences in online market surveillance with a view to identifying best practices and new ways of tackling common challenges. This is especially important given the rapid acceleration of e-commerce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting product safety challenges.

      Canada and the EU regularly exchange information between the EU's Rapid Alert system (Safety Gate/RAPEX) and Canada's Regulatory Action Depot / Dépôt d'Actions Réglementaires (RADAR) system. The EU recently revamped the Safety Gate International-Canada module to present data in a more user-friendly format. The EU delivered training to Canadian users on the Safety Gate/RAPEX data, and Canada is planning a training session for EU users on the RADAR data and operation.

      Both parties are working to deepen their co-operation, and regular meetings at technical level allow the regulators to further discuss consumer product safety issues and related policy initiatives.
    2. Cosmetic-like Drug Products
      Canada and the EU have worked together diligently on this item. Through this initiative, Canadian requirements for re-testing and quarantine of certain low-risk cosmetic-like products from the EU such as sunscreens, toothpastes and anti-dandruff shampoos have been removed. This item is an example of a successful and unique collaboration that has reduced unnecessary regulatory differences and burden to industry.  This work plan item was closed in June 2021.
    3. Animal Welfare
      Canada and the EU continue to share information on common animal welfare issues. A joint Canada-EU statement was published online in July 2021.

      A meeting between regulators also took place in November 2021 to exchange information on animal welfare topics of common interest, including the impact of extreme weather conditions in Canada on animal welfare, EU progress on the Farm2Fork strategy, the 'Fitness Check' initiative, protection of animals during sea transport and potential options for animal welfare labelling. The next meeting will be scheduled for early July 2022. Regulators will discuss, amongst other topics, the welfare of horses during transport.
    4. Pediatric Medicines
      Progress on the pediatric work plan continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 as health regulators deployed many of their resources to respond to the global pandemic. This has continued into 2022, but there has been early progress on the file. Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) remain committed to this work. Bi-monthly meetings have been established, with the first meetings held in January and March 2022. Various items were discussed, including risk-based approaches to regulation, and updates on revisions to the EU Paediatric and Orphan Regulations. It is expected that bi-monthly meetings will continue moving forward.

      The EMA continues to share internal operational documents related to the review and approval of Paediatric Investigational Plans (PIPs) to support Health Canada's learning as Canada considers the development of a pediatric regulation. Next steps for the file include the EMA potentially sharing finalized PIP reviews, as well as possibly including Health Canada in a parallel PIP review with the EMA.

      Health Canada noted that work with the EMA under the RCF was extremely helpful to learn how the EU was implementing its regulation and that bilateral cooperation would have an impact on Canada's approach in preparing its own set of rules to improve access to medicines for children.
    5. Cooperation Agreement between the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)
      Collaboration efforts between the SCC and CEN/CENELEC are progressing. A session on circular economy for plastics was held in January 2022, the outcomes of which was reported to Canadian and European experts.  As a next step, both parties' respective technical experts are considering holding an initial meeting to strengthen cooperation and discuss opportunities for specific collaboration.

      A session on hydrogen was held in April 2022 and both parties are considering next steps that will include reaching out to technical experts for further discussion.

      An item of interest report is available online for this issue.
    6. Wood Pellet Boilers
      Canada has continued to facilitate conversations between the EU and Canadian provinces and territories to determine potential paths forward in regard to the import and sale of small solid biomass boilers in Canada. The Provincial-Territorial Advisory Committee (PTAC), a statutory committee of the Standards Council of Canada, has created a project team to explore this issue and examine potential solutions. The project team has met several times since August 2021 and is currently developing a white paper containing possible solution(s) to this issue. Once the paper is finalized, PTAC will consider and discuss next steps. It is important to note that any implementation of solutions recommended by the white paper will be dependent on resources, agreement by partners to undertake work, and uptake by provincial/territorial governments.

      An item of interest report is available online for this issue.
  3. RCF Co-chairs and regulators to discuss potential new work plan items
    The RCF Co-chairs and regulators also discussed issues that might be well suited as work plan items moving forward. While no new work plan items are being developed at this time, the Co-chairs expressed openness to receiving suggestions from regulators on new topics, specifically regarding new and emerging issues, which the RCF is best placed to address.
  4. RCF Co-chair stakeholder debrief and exchange of views
    Following discussions with regulators, the RCF Co-chairs and regulators from the EU and Canada debriefed stakeholders about the RCF's activities and results. The event was hosted by Canada and was held virtually to conform to current health and safety guidelines.

    In a wide-ranging discussion, questions and comments were received on several topics including intellectual property, animal welfare, pediatric medicine, and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications of architects.

    The Co-chairs encouraged stakeholders to provide input, not just on existing issues, but particularly to help identify areas of future cooperation for regulators, to help prevent problems before they arise. Stakeholders were encouraged to communicate any potential issues to the EU or Canada at their convenience.

    Co-chairs confirmed that a report detailing the outcomes of the meeting would be published in the short term, and an updated work plan could be expected in Fall 2022.
  5. Wrap-up and next steps
    The next RCF meeting should take place in approximately one year. The location and format will depend on public health recommendations at that time. Both sides will take stock of progress made on work plan items in Fall 2022. In the interim, suggestions for additional potential work plan items are welcome and regulators are encouraged to continue their exemplary work to achieve positive outcomes on their work plan items.


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