STEADY BROOK, N.L. (GNB) - The Council of Atlantic Premiers concluded meetings in Steady Brook, N.L. today.

Premier Brian Gallant said he and his regional counterparts are working together to improve the lives of Atlantic Canadians by focusing on issues such as economic growth including increasing trade, regulatory alignment and improving health-care outcomes and patient care.

“Robust trade with the United States is important to the Atlantic region’s economy,” said Gallant. “We have agreed to work together on doing everything we can to strengthen trade with our partners in the United States.”

The United States is Atlantic Canada’s largest trading partner and 35 of the 50 states have Canada as their largest trading partner. Given the importance of this relationship, the premiers committed to work with the prime minister and their colleague premiers to demonstrate to both Americans and Canadians the benefits of keeping borders open to trade, and economies closely integrated.

Maintaining and strengthening the economic partnership  will be a key theme when the Atlantic premiers meet their New England counterparts at the annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, to be hosted by Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan in Charlottetown in August. The conference will, for the first time, feature business-to-business meetings to enhance trade and commercial relationships.

“The trade agreement between Canada and the European Union which was ratified by the European Commission last week is an opportunity for our businesses to diversify their markets, increase exports and create jobs in Atlantic Canada,” said Gallant.

The premiers applauded the recent ratification by the European Parliament of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The premiers announced they will lead a mission to Europe in June to strengthen trade, tourism and education partnerships in this important market.

The Atlantic premiers are also taking action to align government regulations across the region to make it easier to operate and do business in more than one Atlantic province. All four provinces 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.

The premiers’ successes in improving regulatory efficiency across the region include simplifying business registration with workers’ compensation, and standardizing requirements for trucking companies to improve the ease of moving goods throughout the region.

Other new actions approved at the meeting today include:

  • Moving from four separate provincial licences to one regional licence for each trade related to technical safety, taking a phased-in approach.
  • Mutual recognition across the region of safety equipment for head and foot protection, and training for occupational health and safety committees and first aid.
  • Adopting a streamlined licensing process for insurance adjusters to allow swift movement within the region to respond to severe weather events and emergencies.

The premiers will continue to look for new areas to enhance regulatory efficiency and make it easier for businesses to succeed and expand throughout Atlantic Canada.

Other topics discussed during the meetings included enhanced regional collaboration in clean growth and climate change, trade and investment and infrastructure development.

New Brunswick will host the next meeting of the Council of Atlantic Premiers.