Given the high integration of the automotive industry, Canada and the U.S. build vehicles seamlessly on both sides of the border to essentially the same vehicle safety and emissions standards. Future free trade agreements will need to ensure Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) and vehicle emission standards (greenhouse gas and smog-related standards) are accepted and recognized.
Alignment and harmonization of vehicle standards with the U.S. ensures Canadian consumers have access to vehicles that are among the safest and cleanest in the world at the most competitive prices. Efforts to bring greater alignment between Canadian and U.S. safety and emissions standards have been on-going for several years with significant progress being made most recently through the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council. Vehicles assembled in one jurisdiction need to be available for export and sale in the other without regulatory constraint or unnecessary complexity and cost.
The auto industry’s vision of Canada-U.S. regulatory harmonization remains – ONE PRODUCT, TESTED ONCE AND CERTIFIED ONCE FOR SALE ACROSS ONE MARKET. This means one set of regulatory requirements in Canada and the United States, testing to one common protocol and certified once for sale and registration across one integrated U.S. and Canadian market.
As Canada moves towards accelerating trade with other countries in emerging markets, this alignment and harmonization of vehicle standards will need to be an accepted component of any trade agreement to support global competitiveness. The ability for any country to differentiate would significantly undermine these high levels of vehicle standards.