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43rd Parliament, 2nd Session
(September 23, 2020 - Present)
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The House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade studies and reports on matters referred to it by the House of Commons. The Committee can also initiate studies of subjects falling within its mandate. As a permanent committee established by the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, the Committee may be asked to comment on legislation, departmental activities and spending, and other matters under its jurisdiction.

The general subject area of the Committee includes the following:

  • international trade policy, including trade and investment liberalization, as well as Canada’s economic relationship with other countries;
  • Canadian international competitiveness, as well as the effects of global competition on Canadian firms and the Canadian economy; and
  • the global trade and investment environment, including the World Trade Organization, international markets and regional trade blocs.

The federal departments and agencies under the Committee’s direct scrutiny include:

The Standing Committee on International Trade was created in April 2006 when the Standing Orders were amended during the 39th Parliament. At that time, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade was divided into two committees: the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the Standing Committee on International Trade.

From 1995 to 2005, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade conducted much of its trade-related activities through its Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes, and Investment. That Subcommittee produced a number of reports that were adopted by the Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee on International Trade was created in April 2006 when the Standing Orders were amended during the 39th Parliament. At that time, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade was divided into two committees: the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the Standing Committee on International Trade.

From 1995 to 2005, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade conducted much of its trade-related activities through its Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes, and Investment. That Subcommittee produced a number of reports that were adopted by the Standing Committee.

Staff Assigned to the committee

In the execution of its functions, each committee is normally assisted by a committee clerk, one or more analysts and a committee assistant. Occasional assistance is also provided by legislative clerks and lawyers from the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel. These individuals are non-partisan and serve all members of the committee and representatives of all parties equally.

Committee Clerk

The clerk performs their duties and responsibilities under the direction of the committee and its Chair. As an expert in the rules of the House of Commons, the clerk may be requested to give advice to the Chair and members of the committee should a question of procedure arise. The clerk is the coordinator, organizer and liaison officer for the committee, and as such, will be in frequent contact with members’ staff. They are also responsible for inviting witnesses and dealing with all the details regarding their appearance before the committee.

Committee Assistant

The committee assistant provides a wide range of specialized administrative services for the organization of committee meetings and the publishing of documents on the committees’ Website. The committee assistant works with the clerk to meet the needs of committees.

Committee Analyst

The Library of Parliament’s analysts, who are subject-matter experts, provide authoritative, substantive, and timely research, analysis and information to all members of the committee. They are part of the committee’s institutional memory and are a unique resource for parliamentarians. Supported by research librarians, the analysts work individually or in multidisciplinary teams.

Analysts can prepare: briefing notes on the subjects being examined; detailed study plans; lists of proposed witnesses; analyses of an issue with a list of suggested questions; background papers; draft reports; news releases; and/or formal correspondence. Analysts with legal training can assist the committee regarding any substantive issues that may arise during the consideration of bills.

OTHER RESOURCES AVAILABLE AS REQUIRED

Parliamentary Counsel

Within the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, parliamentary counsel (Legislation) are available to assist members who are not in Cabinet with the preparation of private members’ bills or of amendments to government bills or others.

At various stages of the legislative process, members may propose amendments to bills. Amendments may first be proposed at the committee stage, during a committee’s clause-by-clause review of a bill. Amendments may also be proposed at the report stage, once a bill returns to the House.

Once a bill is sent to committee, the clerk of the committee provides the name of the parliamentary counsel (Legislation) responsible for the drafting of the amendments for a particular bill to the members.

Legislative Clerk

The legislative clerk serves all members of the committee as a specialist of the process by which a bill becomes law. They are available to give, upon request from members and their staff, advice on the admissibility of amendments when bills are referred to committee. The legislative clerk organizes the amendments into packages for committee stage, reviews all the committee amendments for procedural admissibility and prepares draft rulings for the Chair. During clause-by-clause consideration of bills in committee, a legislative clerk is in attendance to assist the committee with any procedural issues that may arise. The legislative clerk can also provide members with advice regarding the procedural admissibility of report stage amendments. When a bill is sent to committee, the clerk of the committee provides to the members the name of the legislative clerk assigned to the bill.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO)

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) is an officer of Parliament created by the Parliament of Canada Act who supports Parliament by providing analysis, including analysis of macroeconomic and fiscal policy, for the purposes of raising the quality of parliamentary debate and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability.

The Parliament of Canada Act also provides the PBO with a mandate to, if requested by a committee, estimate the financial cost of any proposal over which Parliament has jurisdiction. Certain committees can also request research and analyses of the nation’s finances or economy, or of the estimates.

Further information on the PBO may be found at: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/

In February 2020, the Standing Committee on International Trade considered Bill C-4 An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, and reported it without amendment.

Following its creation, and in addition to the bills that it has studied, the Standing Committee on International Trade has produced a number of reports on various aspects of Canada’s international trade policy. Since 2010, these reports have addressed the following subjects:

Canada’s trade and investment relations with other countries and regions:

  • Canada and the Pacific Alliance (May 2019)
  • Expanding Trade and Investment with Selected Asia-Pacific Countries (June 2018)
  • Canada–United States–Mexico Trade Relations (December 2017)
  • Canada and the Other Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries (April 2017)
  • Canada–United States Trade Relations (March 2011).

Trade and Canada’s small and medium-sized firms:

  • Canada’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Federal Support for their International Trade Activities (June 2019)
  • Connecting Canadian Companies to International Markets: Global Markets Action Plan and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (June 2015).

Other topics related to trade, including in specific sectors:

  • Impact of Certain U.S. Tariffs on Canadian Firms and Workers (February 2019)
  • Multiculturalism and International Trade (May 2018)
  • E-Commerce: Certain Trade-Related Priorities of Canada’s Firms (April 2018)
  • The Canadian Steel Industry’s Ability to Compete Internationally (June 2017)
  • Canada–United States Softwood Lumber Agreement (June 2016)
  • The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (March 2012)
  • Canada–United States Agreement on Government Procurement (May 2010).