PSAC is deeply concerned with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s vow to cut federal regulations by 25% and implement a 2-for-1 rule, whereby any new regulation must be offset by the cancellation of two existing regulations.
The 2-for-1 rule is copied straight from the playbook of U.S. President Donald Trump, who introduced the policy in 2017, leading to the rollback of dozens of regulations in the areas of worker health and safety, environmental protection, and food inspection. It is also an acceleration of the approach led by Stephen Harper, whose own so-called Red Tape Commission trumpeted a 1-for-1 rule that itself led to the reckless gutting of regulations.
Scheer’s plan can be expected to dramatically weaken existing regulations that protect the environment, federally regulated workers and the health and safety of Canadians. It can also be expected to result in layoffs of federal public service workers responsible for developing and administering these important frameworks.
Events in recent years demonstrate that, if anything, there is a need for greater oversight to ensure corporations do not endanger the lives of Canadians and abuse the rights of workers. For example:
The 2013 Lac Mégantic derailment and explosion, which killed 47 people, was partially the result of weak federal regulations that allowed just one engineer to operate trains carrying dangerous goods while also allowing them to remain unlocked and unattended on the tracks overnight.
The thousands of retirees from firms such as Nortel and Sears who were left without pension guarantees after those companies went bankrupt had little recourse because of a lack of regulations requiring adequately funded and protected pension plans.
The currently emerging health concerns around vaping and e-cigarettes demand closer federal oversight and regulation by the federal government.
The notion that regulations can only be introduced if twice as many regulations are rolled back is absurd, reckless and irresponsible. Canadians deserve better from their government.