U.S. Federal Departments and Agencies together with Canadian Ministries have been working to develop new frameworks for cooperation since the release of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan last August. Collectively, these documents outline major objectives for bilateral cooperation over the next three to five years in specific areas of regulatory activity.
The Regulatory Partnerships are a significant step toward deepening our cooperation efforts. The newly developed frameworks outline how U.S. and Canadian agencies will manage cooperative regulatory activities moving forward. The frameworks address such issues as governance between the agencies, means for obtaining input from stakeholders, and ways to promote more effective and efficient regulatory engagement between the two countries for the ultimate benefit of both countries’ consumers, manufacturers and producers. As Executive Order 13609 states, in meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation while also reducing unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.
As I stated in my August blog post, Moving Forward on International Regulatory Cooperation, “Regulatory cooperation has to mean more than just “aligning” specific rules across the border; such a rule-by-rule approach is neither practical nor scalable enough to meet our ever-changing regulatory environments. We need to think more broadly and creatively about how to build cooperative frameworks to achieve our economic and regulatory policy goals in a more dynamic manner.” And as outlined in the Regulatory Partnership Statements and detailed Work Plans released today, the United States and Canada are already demonstrating this broad and creative thinking through cooperation activities, including:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will work to establish a single application for crop protection products, like pesticides, that will be accepted in both countries. In addition, the Agencies will develop information technology to facilitate the joint review and processing of pest control product applications submitted to both countries.
U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada
The U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada will coordinate and collaborate on Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communications technology and applications development and implementation for light- and heavy-duty vehicles to ensure they work seamlessly across the border no matter the supplier. This work will include, where appropriate, joint planning and priority-setting for research supporting potential rulemaking actions, collaborative research projects, as well as information exchanges to support analyses as we develop new V2V and V2I architecture and standards.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Health Canada
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate will coordinate their respective submission and review processes for veterinary drug applications. The objective is to enable simultaneous product reviews and move toward simultaneous product availability. The respective agencies will coordinate standards development and assessment activities pertaining to the pre-market evaluation of veterinary drugs, as appropriate. Further work in this area will also explore the availability of electronic templates for veterinary drug applications.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Fisheries and Ocean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will undertake greater cooperation in the environmental management of the marine aquaculture sector, including by comparing regulatory environmental management objectives and outcomes of net pen aquaculture, cooperating on farmed to wild fish interactions, and cooperating on regulatory oversight and management of off-short aquaculture.
These ambitious plans will take time to institutionalize, but I am confident that together with our Canadian partners we can produce meaningful and lasting results.
For RCC updates and information on agency progress, or to view RPS and Work Plan documents, please visit www.trade.gov/rcc.
Howard Shelanski is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.