FREDERICTON (GNB) – The four provincial governments of Atlantic Canada are joining together to proclaim Jan. 23-27 as Red Tape Awareness Week.

As part of their commitment to reduce trade barriers and harmonize regulatory environments, the governments have adopted a common Charter of Governing Principles for Regulation and passed mirror legislation, the Regulatory Reporting and Accountability Act.

All four are part of the Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness, established in 2015 as a focused effort to reduce red tape, streamline services and harmonize regulations.

“We know how hard small businesses in New Brunswick work to serve their customers and provide jobs for their employees,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “With their help, we are tackling red tape to help small business be more efficient and competitive. While continuing to reduce red tape, it is our job as premiers to create conditions that will allow businesses to thrive and succeed.”

“Atlantic premiers are working hard to find ways our provinces can co-operate to improve the economy across the region,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. “We know having clear, sensible regulations is a way to make the region a more attractive place to do business and will help create jobs. I am very encouraged by the work of the joint office in its early days; there is a plan, tangible action, and measurable results. Everybody wins when we work together.”

A recent study by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council concluded the Atlantic region has the most to gain by eliminating trade barriers, and estimates a 10 per cent reduction could increase regional GDP annually by at least $1 billion, resulting in a more vibrant economy and strengthening employment.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced its full participation in the joint office in December 2016.

“Reducing red tape helps create an attractive business environment across the Atlantic region and will help all four provinces achieve economic gains,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball. “Through our participation in the joint office, we look forward to finding ways to encourage economic development and grow our regional economy.”

All four provinces will adopt the One Business One Number system for workers’ compensation boards and commissions; will mutually recognize targeted occupational health and safety equipment and safety training standards; and are moving to standardize the carrier profile system in the trucking sector.

The Atlantic provinces and the federal government are also working collectively on the Atlantic Growth Strategy to identify shared economic priorities and collaborate on the design and implementation of economy-building actions.

“In order for our four provinces to tap into our economic potential, as outlined in the recent Atlantic Provinces Economic Council report, there requires a cohesive and consistent effort toward regulatory alignment and red tape reduction across Atlantic Canada,” said Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan. “I am confident businesses across the region will benefit from our collective efforts.”

The Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness works with the region's business community and other stakeholders who are partners in regional regulatory initiatives and the Atlantic Growth Strategy.