News Releases

Panel releases report on trade dispute between Manitoba and Ontario

Winnipeg – February 13, 2022 – A Panel has ruled on a dispute under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) between Manitoba and Ontario regarding labour mobility for certified general accountants (CGAs). In July 2011, Manitoba had requested a panel to determine whether an Ontario measure to achieve a legitimate objective for the occupation of public accountant was inconsistent with the AIT. Manitoba was supported by British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Panel composed of James Horsman (Chair), Lorne Seitz, and Barbara McDougall, held a public hearing in Toronto on November 29, 2021 and issued its Report to the Parties on January 13, 2012.

In its findings, the Panel concluded that:

  • Ontario’s Notice of Measure is inconsistent with AIT Article 706.1
  • ?Ontario’s Notice of Measure concerning Public Accountants cannot be justified under the provisions of Article 708 as necessary to achieve a legitimate objective.
  • The Public Accountants Council of Ontario and the Certified General Accountants of Ontario are subject to the terms of the AIT and Ontario has an obligation to ensure that both non-governmental organizations comply.
  • Ontario’s Notice of Measure has impaired or would impair internal trade and has caused or would cause injury.

Accordingly, the Panel has recommended that:

  • Ontario withdraw its Notice of Measure concerning Public Accountants.
  • Ontario ensure that its regulatory authorities comply with Ontario’s AIT obligations and, in particular, allow CGAs certified to practise public accounting in the jurisdictions of all Parties to be certified to practise public accounting in Ontario without any requirement for any material additional training, experience, examinations or assessments.
  • Ontario complete the necessary steps to bring itself into compliance with the AIT by April 15, 2012.
  • All Parties take steps to reinvigorate consultations with each other directly or through the appropriate regulatory authorities, to develop a consistent standard for public accountants across the country.
  • Ontario carefully consider all provisions of the AIT in its efforts, and those of its regulatory bodies, to revise its measures with respect to public accounting.

The AIT is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian First Ministers in 1994. Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada so as to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market. Since 1994 First Ministers have continued to strengthen the AIT especially on labour mobility issues.

Access to the dispute resolution mechanisms of the AIT is open to governments, individuals and businesses. For more information on the AIT and its dispute resolution procedures contact:

Anna Maria Magnifico, Executive Director, Internal Trade Secretariat
T: 204 – 987-8094
or email:

Biographical Notes – Panel Members

James D. Horsman is a lawyer with extensive experience in government, education, politics, business and negotiation. He served five consecutive terms for Medicine Hat in the Alberta Legislative Assembly from 1975 to 1993. For fourteen years he served as a Minister of the Crown in the following portfolios: Minister of Advanced Education & Manpower, Minister of Federal & Intergovernmental Affairs, Attorney General & Provincial Secretary, Deputy Premier, Deputy Government House Leader, and Government House Leader. He served as lead minister for the Province of Alberta on trade and constitutional matters during the Canada/USA Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA , the Uruguay Round of the GATT and all Canadian constitutional issues between 1982 and 1992. He also acted as the chief negotiator for Alberta on Internal Trade in Canada.

R. Lorne Seitz is a former deputy minister in the British Columbia government, serving in several portfolios including Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and International Business and Immigration. He also served as C.E.O of the B.C. Trade Development Corporation and the B.C Assets and Land Corporation. From 1993 to 1995 he was a lead negotiator for B.C. in the negotiations leading to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). Prior to joining the B.C. government, he served as Senior Vice-President, International, of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce during the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement negotiations. More recently, Mr. Seitz served as Vice-Chair of the B.C. Agriculture Land Commission and Director of the British Columbia Safety Authority.

Barbara McDougall is an advisor at Aird & Berlis, counseling clients on matters of international business development, corporate governance and government relations. She was a Member of Parliament for nine years and held several cabinet posts, including Finance (Minister of State), Privatization, Employment and Immigration, and finally External Affairs. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, a Chartered Financial Analyst and has an honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence University. She is a former Senior Resident at Massey College, University of Toronto. Prior to entering politics, Mrs. McDougall worked in various sectors within the financial community, largely as a financial analyst, in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto. She was also a columnist and television commentator. Following her career in politics, Mrs. McDougall was a director of a number of Canadian corporations, including the Bank of Nova Scotia. She now chairs the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre, a federal crown corporation.