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The scope of federal regulations is large, and can be divided into a number of areas most relevant to business. While this is not a comprehensive list, it gives a sense of the scope of federal regulation.
|Major federally regulated sectors||Scope|
|Financial, Commerce, and Government information: regulations affecting business operations in all sectors||
|Broadcast, Telecommunications, Radio Frequency Spectrum||
|Food and Agriculture||
|Energy and Natural Resources||
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to help Canada's agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector increase its environmental sustainability, compete in markets at home and abroad, manage risk, and embrace innovation. The activities of the Department extend from the farmer to the consumer, from the farm to global markets, through all phases of producing, processing and marketing of agriculture and agri-food products.
The other portfolio organizations include: the Canadian Dairy Commission; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; the Canadian Grain Commission; Farm Credit Canada; Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal; and the Farm Products Council of Canada. AAFC also includes the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, a special operating agency that regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting on horse racing at racetracks across Canada. AAFC provides the overall leadership and coordination on federal rural policies and programs through Canada's Rural Partnership, and supports co-operatives to promote economic growth and social development of Canadian society, through the Rural and Co-operatives Development program activity. The Department also supports the Minister in his role as Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Acts
The Canada Border Services Agency provides integrated border services that support national security priorities and facilitate the free flow of people and goods, including food, plants and animals, across the border. Specific responsibilities include the following:
Examples of Acts Administered by the CBSA
The Canada Revenue Agency is the principal revenue collector in the country and is responsible for distributing benefit payments to millions of Canadians each year. The CRA is mandated to administer tax, benefit, and other programs on behalf of the Government of Canada and provincial, territorial, and certain First Nations governments. The CRA exercises its mandate within a framework of complex laws enacted by Parliament, as well as by provincial and territorial legislatures.
Examples of Acts Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with responsibilities flowing from 13 federal statutes and 42 sets of regulations, is responsible for delivering all federally-mandated programs for food inspection, food-related consumer protection and for delivering programs for plant and animal health and production systems. The Agency works with its partners to implement food safety measures; manage food, animal and plant risks and emergencies; and promote the development of food safety and disease control systems to maintain the safety of Canada's agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, and agri-food products. The Agency's activities include verifying domestic and foreign industry compliance; registering and inspecting establishments; testing food, animals, plants and their related products; and approving the use of many agricultural inputs.
CFIA's Legislative Authority
Citizenship and Immigration Canada selects foreign nationals as permanent and temporary residents and offers Canada's protection to refugees. The Department develops Canada's admissibility policy, which sets the conditions for entering and remaining in Canada; it also conducts, in collaboration with its partners, the screening of potential permanent and temporary residents to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians. Fundamentally, the Department builds a stronger Canada by helping immigrants and refugees settle and fully integrate into Canadian society and the economy, and by encouraging and facilitating their ultimate acquisition of Canadian citizenship. CIC is also responsible for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)—jointly administered by CIC, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the CBSA and the Quebec Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles—allows employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis when Canadians or permanent residents are not available.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Acts
Finance Canada is committed to making a difference for Canadians by helping the Government of Canada develop and implement strong and sustainable economic, fiscal, tax, social, security, international and financial sector policies and programs. It plays an important role in ensuring that government spending is focused on results and delivers value for taxpayer dollars. The Department interacts extensively with other federal departments and agencies and plays a pivotal role in the analysis and design of public policy across a wide range of issues affecting Canadians.
Finance Canada's responsibilities include the following:
The Department also plays an important central agency role, working with other departments to ensure that the government's agenda is carried out and that ministers are supported with first rate analysis and advice.
Department of Finance Canada Legislation
Finance Canada oversees the development of tax law and other measures, including legislation governing banks and other federal financial institutions, and payments to provinces such as equalization, all of which the Minister of Finance is responsible for.
The Department is therefore involved in preparing many bills that come before Parliament. In an average year a quarter of all the legislation going to Parliament is sponsored by the Minister of Finance. In some years Finance's share is even greater. The Department releases draft legislation for consultation.
Environment Canada's is one of the largest regulators in the federal government, with statutory and program responsibilities relating to biodiversity and environmental protection. The objective is to generate standards and guides for practices that will enhance Canada's natural capital and second, set out boundaries and barriers to activities that put Canada's environment at risk. In discharging its regulatory responsibilities, Environment Canada also assumes an enforcement function necessary to ensure that companies and individuals comply with pollution prevention and wildlife acts and regulations. This effort, which includes compliance promotion, is undertaken in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, national and international agencies and organizations, and addresses, for example, the use of toxic substances and their release to air, water or land. Wildlife enforcement officers enforce Canadian wildlife legislation which protects plant and animal species from human interventions, such as hunting or trade that could adversely affect long-term wildlife conservation.
Environment Canada Acts
Over 20 acts and regulations provide the Department with its mandate and allow it to carry out its programs. Under the Department of the Environment Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of the Environment extend to and include matters relating to:
Other key acts:
Environment Canada is also a key partner with other federal departments on other acts:
Health Canada has many roles and responsibilities that help Canadians maintain and improve their health. As a regulator, Health Canada is responsible for the regulatory regime governing the safety of products including food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, natural health products, consumer products, chemicals, radiation emitting devices, cosmetics and pesticides. It also regulates tobacco products and controlled substances, public health on aircraft, ships and other passenger conveyances, and helps manage the health risks to humans posed by environmental factors such as air, water, radiation and contaminants.
Acts for which Health Canada has Total or Partial Responsibility
Acts for which Health Canada is involved or has a special interest
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada delivers its mandate through three business lines: programs that support human resources and skills development, the Labour Program, and Service Canada. Together HRSDC's three business lines deliver a range of programs and services that affect the lives of Canadians during all stages of life, including: Old Age Security; Canada Pension Plan; Employment Insurance; Canada Student Loans & Grants; National Child Benefit; and Universal Child Care Benefit. Through the Labour Program, HRSDC is responsible for labour laws and policies in federally-regulated workplaces. Its mandate includes promoting and protecting workplace health and safety and labour standards, facilitating constructive labour relations, developing labour-related policy and program options in response to changes in economic and social conditions, providing customized information about industrial relations and workplace trends, representing Canada in international organizations dealing with labour issues, and negotiating labour cooperation agreements and cooperative frameworks with free trade partners and emerging economic partners. HRSDC, through Service Canada, connects Canadians with a wide range of programs and services offered by the Government of Canada. Through its network of service channels and offices, it helps Canadians find information about Government of Canada programs and services, apply for national programs managed by HRSDC such as Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan, or Employment Insurance, and access services delivered on behalf of partners, such as the Passport Receiving Agent service.
Human Resources and Social Development Canada Acts
Industry Canada is the Government of Canada's centre of microeconomic policy expertise. The Department's founding legislation, the Department of Industry Act, established the Ministry to foster a growing, competitive and knowledge-based Canadian economy.
Industry Canada is a department with many entities that have distinct mandates, with program activities that are widely diverse and highly dependent on partnerships. Industry Canada works on a broad range of matters related to industry and technology, trade and commerce, science, consumer affairs, corporations and corporate securities, competition and restraint of trade, weights and measures, bankruptcy and insolvency, intellectual property, investment, small business, and tourism.
The many and varied activities Industry Canada carries out to deliver on its mandate are organized around three, interdependent and mutually-reinforcing strategic outcomes, each linked to a separate key strategy.
Marketplace and Trade Regulation
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Legislation
Registrar General Functions
Portfolio and Agency Legislation
Natural Resources Canada seeks to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada's natural resources and the competitiveness of Canada's natural resource products. Leader in science and technology in the fields of energy, forests, and minerals and metals and use our expertise in earth sciences to build and maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of our landmass. Through the Major Projects Management Office, NRCan will continue to provide overarching management of the federal regulatory review process for resource projects and to work collaboratively with other federal regulatory departments and agencies to develop and implement innovative new approaches to improve continually performance of the federal system. This work will include the development and implementation of a whole-of-government strategy to modernize the regulatory review process for project reviews, including improvements to the federal legislative and/or regulatory framework. It will also include working collaboratively with provincial governments to identify opportunities to improve the integration of federal and provincial review processes. Within the Government of Canada, the Minister of Natural Resources also has responsibilities for the natural resources portfolio, which includes:
Natural Resources Canada Acts
The core powers, duties and functions are set forth in the Department of Natural Resources Act, the Resources and Technical Surveys Act and the Forestry Act. List of other acts:
Public Works and Government Services Canada is the Government of Canada principal banker, accountant, central purchasing agent, linguistic service provider and authority, office space portfolio manager and enabler of access to government services online. PWGSC publishes the Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. Proposed regulations and supporting documentation are published in Part I of the Canada Gazette, while regulations that have been made are published in Part II. Part III of the Canada Gazette contains acts of Parliament after they have received royal assent, as well as a list of the Proclamations of Canada and Orders in Council (OIC) relating to the coming into force of federal acts. The Minister of PWGSC is also the Receiver General for Canada and has the authority for the administration of services related to benefits, superannuation, pension plans, and the disbursement of pay to federal employees. The Minister is also responsible for maintaining the Public Accounts of Canada.
Public Works and Government Services Canada Acts
The Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, (1996) established the Department and set out the legal authorities for PWGSC's services. The act established PWGSC as a common service organization providing government departments, boards and agencies with support services for their programs, including:
The statistics produced by Statistics Canada inform national policy and support evidence-based program management. A large portion of Statistics Canada's activities is devoted to meeting the needs of federal, provincial and territorial government policy departments, and to measuring continually Canadian socioeconomic dynamics and emerging trends.
Statistics Canada Acts
Statistics Canada's mandate derives primarily from the Statistics Act, R.S.C. 1970. The Act requires that the agency collect, compile, analyse and publish statistical information on the economic, social and general conditions of the country and its people. This mandate covers a broad range of statutory requirements and instruments, as well as contractual obligations, for which Statistics Canada must produce information.
The Statistics Act requires Statistics Canada to conduct a Census of Population and a Census of Agriculture every fifth year. The Act also confers substantial powers on the agency to request information for statistical purposes through surveys of businesses and households.
Statistics Canada is also mandated to co-ordinate and lead the national statistical system, specifically to prevent duplication in the information collected by government. Statistics Canada can also, by law, access all administrative records (e.g., tax data, customs declarations, and birth and death records), enabling it to reduce reporting burden on business and individual respondents, and to reduce redundant data-collection efforts across government. Statistics Canada is considered a leader among statistical agencies in reducing reporting burden by using administrative data. Partnerships and cost-recovery arrangements with other federal departments, other jurisdictions and external organizations play a large role in reducing reporting burden.
Transport Canada is responsible for the Government of Canada's transportation policies and programs. The Canada Transportation Act makes the department responsible for monitoring the ongoing health of the national transportation system, as well. While not directly responsible for all aspects or modes of transportation, the department plays a leadership role to ensure that all parts of the transportation system work together effectively.
Transport Canada is part of the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio. Under this portfolio, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities heads a complex organizational structure that includes Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, three agencies operating at arm's length from the department, 16 Crown corporations (e.g. VIA Rail, Marine Atlantic) and over 40 shared-governance organizations (e.g. Port of Montreal, Vancouver International Airport). This portfolio brings together key organizations, policies and programs to provide an integrated focus to issues affecting Canada's transportation system and public infrastructure.
Transport Canada has the responsibility and authority to propose and enforce laws and regulations to ensure safe, secure, efficient and clean transportation. The Minister of Transport is responsible for 52 statutes and shares responsibility for 5. This includes approximately 365 regulations directly related to the management of the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Portfolio.
Key Acts for which the Minister is responsible (Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada)