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Two more Ontario municipalities want a CETA exemption as Toronto resolution goes to executive committee

The Council of Canadians received letters today from the City of Stratford and Township of Pelee, both in Ontario, informing us they have passed resolutions calling for “a clear, permanent exemption for local governments from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.”

This brings to at least 28 the number of Canadian municipalities to pass a CETA resolution of some kind, and at least 16 that have asked their province to exclude local governments from any procurement commitments in the deal. That number does not include the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and B.C. School Trustees Association, both of which have asked the province to exclude the so-called MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals) from the Canada-EU trade deal.

Meanwhile, a motion “to protect City of Toronto interests and existing powers in any trade agreement signed between the Government of Canada and the European Union” came before Toronto city council this afternoon but was deferred to an executive committee meeting in January.

The Toronto motion from Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, seconded by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, recommends that:

1. City Council request the Province of Ontario issue a clear, permanent exemption of the City of Toronto from the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and that it otherwise protect the powers of municipalities, hospitals, school boards, utilities, universities and other sub-federal agencies to use public procurement, services and investment as tools to create local jobs and otherwise support local economic development.

2. City Council request the Federal Government to protect the powers of the City – to create local jobs, protect the environment, and provide services and programs as it sees fit – from any restrictions to those powers in the CETA.

3. City Council request the Province of Ontario to explain the scope and content of trade negotiations with the EU, including the details of its procurement, services and investment offers.

4. City Council request the City Manager to review the available information on the impact the CETA will have on municipal governments, with special emphasis on the programs mentioned above and report to the appropriate committee on how to protect any the City’s interests that might be impacted by the new trade agreement.

5. City Council send this resolution to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for consideration and circulation.

The councillors brought the CETA motion forward after hearing from many different local groups about the Canada-EU trade negotiations, including the Toronto chapter of the Council of Canadians. If you’re in the Toronto area and would like to get involved in the campaign to keep cities out of CETA, write the chapter at torontochapter(*a*)

We will be posting a list of Canadian cities, towns and school boards that have passed CETA resolutions to our website very soon. If you would like to speak to your councillor about CETA, our municipal action toolkit can help. Click here for information on CETA and how you can pass a resolution in your community.