[Last update: 11 May 2001]

Ottawa FTAA Resolution

On April 11, 2001, the City of Ottawa became the 20th Canadian City to pass a resolution calling upon the Federal and the Provincial Governments to take action and respond to the contents of the resolution. FTAA Resolution

The vote was: For: 17; Against: 2; Absent: 3


RESOLUTION FOR HEALTH, RECREATION & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE

IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS
ON PROVISION OF HEALTH, RECREATION, SOCIAL SERVICES,
AND OTHER MUNICIPAL SERVICES

WHEREAS the recent Metalclad case has made it clear that international trade and investment agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), already have the potential to restrict the ability of municipal governments to deal with threats to public health and other matters under their jurisdiction;

AND WHEREAS the Health, Recreation and Social Services Committee is concerned about the impact of international trade and investment agreements, such as the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and possible changes to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on the ability of municipal governments to take action on such matters as protecting public health, housing and the delivery of recreation and social services;

AND WHEREAS Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and corresponding sections of GATS and the proposed FTAA, directly threaten the jurisdiction of governments by permitting foreign governments and international corporations to sue governments which through their laws, regulations or other measures adversely affect future corporate earnings;

AND WHEREAS the Metalclad case has demonstrated that the explicit provisions in NAFTA exempting municipal governments from Chapter 11 are not sufficient to protect municipal governments from the application of the provisions of Chapter 11;

AND WHEREAS the GATS, and very likely the proposed FTAA, are clearly intended to further undercut the powers of local governments by penalizing governments which enact laws or regulations that constitute "unnecessary barriers to trade in services";

AND WHEREAS under the "national treatment" provisions of NAFTA and proposed agreements local governments would be required to provide large international corporations, including those active in the fields of health, recreation and social services, every benefit or advantage given to small and local enterprises;

AND WHEREAS the Federal Government has not adequately informed or consulted Canadians and local governments regarding the potential impact of trade and investment agreements;

AND WHEREAS the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has endorsed a policy stating that "any international trade and investment agreement must not limit municipal governments in any way", and the UBCM, the City of Vancouver, and other municipalities have passed resolutions asking the Federal Government to work for significant reform of trade and investment agreements;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

  • 1. THAT the Health, Recreation and Social Services Committee recommend that the City of Ottawa urge the Government of Canada to make clear the impact on protecting public health, housing, the delivery of recreation and social services and other matters under municipal jurisdiction and consult extensively with municipal councils and with Canadians in general about the impact of such agreements;
  • 2. THAT the City of Ottawa urge the Government of Canada to include a permanent and explicit exemption in trade and investment agreements limiting their application to areas of Federal jurisdiction to ensure that sub-national, and especially municipal, governments maintain local flexibility and control within their areas of jurisdiction;
  • 3. THAT the City of Ottawa, while recognizing that trade can and does have beneficial impacts on our region, petition the Government of Canada to refuse to sign any new or revised trade or investment agreements, such as the FTAA and the GATS, which:
  • i. prohibit municipalities from favouring local organizations or firms which provide benefits to the local community as delivery agents for municipal services, including health, recreation and social services;
  • ii. include investor state provisions similar to the ones included in NAFTA;
  • iii. restrict the lawmaking powers of municipalities or impose penalties in response to laws, regulations or other measures enacted by municipalities within their recognized areas of jurisdiction; or
  • iv. inhibit the ability of municipal governments to exercise their jurisdiction in the manner that best promotes the well-being of citizens, local business and the natural environment:
  • 4. THAT the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) be urged to dedicate staff to monitoring international trade discussions and alert Canadian municipalities of any encroachment on their jurisdictions; and
  • 5. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Motion be:
  • a) sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for International Trade and Members of Parliament and of the Provincial Legislature representing areas within the City of Ottawa, with the request that these elected local Members endorse the City's action;
  • b) forwarded to The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Executive for endorsement.
  • April 11, 2001

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