CETA in depth

Officials announced the end of CETA negotiations on September 26, 2014 and citizens in Canada and Europe were finally given their first opportunity to see the official text of the 1600-page agreement.

Based on a mid-August leak of the final agreement, Canadian and European researchers had already released an initial analysis of the major provisions on of CETA, called Making Sense of the CETA: An analysis of the final text of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Despite media reports, CETA faces an uncertain future as it moves through a ratification process on both sides of the Atlantic that may take two years or more.

On the eve of the September 26, 2014 Canada-EU Summit the Council of Canadians and more than 100 civil society organizations on both side of the Atlantic released a joint statement opposing the agreement.

The former Harper government argued that CETA – along with the other 40 trade agreements the government was negotiating – is central to Canada’s economic future. But the details of the agreement remained secret through the entire negotiation process. And trade deals like CETA only partly address the trade in goods. Increasingly, trade deals are drastic experiments that create new rules that bypass local democracies. They allow back-door policies that affect our health care, education, financial and cultural institutions and even our democratic decision making for years to come.

CETA gives:

  • International competitors the right to bid on mid to large projects in cities, First Nation communities and provinces.
  • Corporations new markets as public services are opened up to privatization.
  • Pharmaceutical companies longer patents so people will have to pay more money for drugs.
  • Foreign corporations the right to sue countries when government regulations interfere with their profit margins.
  • Energy corporations weaker regulations that will send more tar sands crude to European markets.

CETA takes:

  • Power away from cities to create local economic development programs.
  • Effective protection or exclusions away for environmental regulations or public health concerns.
  • The ability for small farms to sustainably provide local food by removing supply management rules.
  • Away our power to create alternative energy and environmental policies.

CETA is not a done deal. More than 2 million Europeans have signed a petition against CETA. The EU parliament and some national governments have expressed serious concerns about the deal and some are suggesting it will not be ratified.

Background Information

In July 2012, the Council of Canadians released The CETA Deception - How the Harper government’s public relations campaign misrepresents the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in response to the misinformation and propaganda campaign the Harper government initiated in April 2012 in response to growing concerns about the CETA negotiations.

Transatlantic Statement Opposing Excessive Corporate Rights (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
The Council of Canadians, with over 70 European, Canadian and Québecois groups, has signed on to a joint statement strongly opposing the inclusion of an excessive investment protection chapter and investor-state dispute settlement process (ISDS) in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The signatories vigorously oppose any transatlantic agreement that compromises our democracies, human and Indigenous rights, and our right to protect our health and the planet. Read the full statement here.

Impact on local governments - CETA 
In January 2013, CUPE, the Council of Canadians, and the Trade Justice Network, Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow and CUPE President Paul Moist wrote a letter to municipal councillors, sharing new information about the impact CETA will have on local governments. Open Civil Society Declaration: Read the declaration (in French) of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.

Presentation to Toronto City Council, Executive Committee Re: Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, February 13, 2012

Legal opinion by Steven Shrybman on the municipal impacts of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, May 2010