Canadian Free Trade Agreement Signals Opportunities for Growth in Canada’s North

YELLOWKNIFE (April 7, 2017) – The new Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) will make it easier for Northwest Territories (NWT) residents to do business across Canada while making allowances for the unique economic circumstances that exist in Canada’s North.

The new Agreement focuses on reducing barriers to trade, investment and employee mobility to promote economic growth within Canada. The CFTA will replace the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) on July 1, 2017.

Through active participation in the negotiations, the GNWT achieved important flexibility for the NWT under the new CFTA, including the ability to continue to apply the Business Incentive Policy (BIP) to its procurements. 

Additional improvements in the CFTA include:

  • Strong and effective regulations to protect NWT residents and environment;
  • Making northern agricultural development and food security national priorities;
  • Expanded procurement flexibility for the NWT’s municipalities, academic institutions, social services entities and health organizations; and
  • The recognition of traditional knowledge in environmental regulation.

The CFTA provides opportunities for the NWT to develop its trade economy and further diversify sectors such as the arts, fisheries, forestry, manufacturing, tourism and traditional harvesting.


“Under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement it will be easier for Northwest Territories’ residents to do business across Canada. I am pleased with the considerations that the Agreement provides for the unique economic conditions that exist in Canada’s North, including a higher cost of doing business and manufacturing as well as our special relationship with Aboriginal governments.”
-Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick Facts

  • Internal trade represents about one-fifth of Canada’s annual GDP, or $385 billion.
  • The AIT was signed in 1994 and came into use in 1995.
  • CFTA negotiations began in 2014 and will come into force July 1, 2017 (Canada 150).

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Media Contact:

Briony Wright
Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Tel: (867) 767-9202 ext. 63049