An interpretation policy is an overarching document that outlines the commitments, practices and tools to be applied by a department or agency when providing Canadians and businesses with information and guidance on regulatory obligations to be met. It also identifies the conditions under which written responses to questions will be provided.
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is committed to ensuring all stakeholders, including the general public, understand what they need to do in order to comply with federal regulatory requirements.
PSPC developed this Regulatory Interpretation Policy Statement in accordance with the Government's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan and is committed to providing Canadians with clear and consistent interpretation of PSPC regulations, in plain language, in order to better facilitate regulatory awareness, understanding, and compliance.
The scope of application for this interpretation policy encompasses PSPC's Controlled Goods Program (CGP). The CGP is a registration and compliance program whose mandate is to strengthen Canada's defence trade controls through the mandatory registration and regulation of businesses and individuals who examine, possess and/or transfer controlled goods in Canada. Controlled goods are primarily goods that have military or national security significance.
Plain language commitment
Public Services and Procurement Canada's (PSPC) is responsible for regulating access by private sector organizations and individuals to controlled goods in Canada. It strives to ensure that regulations and policies are drafted in plain language, with the exception of technical terminology which is incorporated directly from national and international commitments, including the Export Control List and the United States International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Providing guidance and building awareness
PSPC uses various tools and practices to build stakeholder awareness, which include:
- conducting formal training and certification of designated company officials
- consulting with an Industry Engagement Committee comprised of Canadian companies and associations in the aerospace, defence, satellite and security sectors
- creating and posting on its website notices to registrants related to various regulations, policies, programs and processes, frequent updates related to regulatory changes, and various publications and reports to ensure consistent communication of compliance requirements
- publishing four new guidelines to assist registrants in interpreting their responsibilities under the Controlled Goods Regulations:
Responding to questions
Individuals with questions and concerns can contact the Controlled Goods Program or consult the website on Controlled goods: Examining, possessing or transferring.
Service commitment and accountability
PSPC's Controlled Goods Program will report on the service improvement, annually, in PSPC's Departmental Performance Report and on the Service standard for the Controlled Goods Program web page.
PSPC will publish on its website notices to Controlled Goods Program for registrants informing them of any changes to the Controlled Goods List or user fees, allowing sufficient time for organizations to plan accordingly.
PSPC's Controlled Goods Program officers receive the necessary training to assist stakeholders in interpreting the regulations and in clarifying all requirements. For example, staff responsible with assisting clients with registration and compliance in the Controlled Goods Program, are provided with formal briefings and training documentation prior to the implementation of any changes to the program.
Commitment to stakeholder engagement
PSPC is committed to engaging stakeholders. PSPC's Controlled Goods Program is committed to regularly engaging industry associations through the above-mentioned Industry Engagement Committee with respect to upcoming regulations, the development of policies, and proposed changes to operations that may affect stakeholders. Consultations with Controlled Goods Program registrants are regularly undertaken with respect to proposed legislative and regulatory changes, as well as proposed policies. The mechanisms for engaging the public include web consultations, round table discussions with interested parties, and responses to inquiries.
Stakeholder engagement mechanisms
PSPC's Controlled Goods Program communicates with its stakeholders through various means. The mechanisms for engaging the public include: quarterly Industry Engagement Committee meetings, web consultations ("Ask the Expert" webinars aimed at providing registrants with more opportunities to ask questions and collectively benefit from program responses), special round table discussions with interested parties, tradeshows and responses to inquiries to program telephone and email accounts, and interactions during the registration and inspections processes.
PSPC committed to amending the Controlled Goods Regulations by March 31, 2015 in order to enhance clarity and transparency relating to the responsibilities of registrants, and to facilitate consistent interpretations among users. PSPC is also committed to introducing a user fee to the Controlled Goods Program in 2015, to ensure that security standards and efficient services are maintained, and contribute to reducing costs to taxpayers.
Through public consultations on proposed regulatory change and on-going regular consultation with the Industry Engagement Committee, PSPC's Controlled Goods Program seeks input on regulatory interpretation. Specific needs for improved clarity on regulatory definitions and reporting requirements have been identified and are being addressed through a regular update process for Controlled Goods Program guidance documentation, described below.
Public Services and Procurement Canada regulatory improvement priorities and metrics report
Priorities identified by PSPC as a result of stakeholder consultations are:
- improved clarity related to interpretation of definitions in the Controlled Goods Regulations
- improved clarity of reporting requirements and associated timelines in the Controlled Goods Regulations
As a result of stakeholder consultations on proposed regulatory amendments as well as regular, on-going consultations with its Industry Engagement Committee, PSPC has identified a need to improve stakeholder understanding related to identification of controlled goods, regulatory definitions and regulator reporting requirements.
In response, PSPC published new Controlled Goods Program guidelines and developed specific approaches to improve stakeholder awareness and established new lines of communication to obtain stakeholder feedback.
- Four new Controlled Goods Program guidelines pertaining to registration, designated officials, inspections and identification of controlled goods
- Offer interactive "Ask the expert" webinars on the Controlled Goods Program to allow stakeholders the opportunity to submit questions and collectively benefit from the program's response
- Inclusion of a standing agenda item for quarterly Industry Engagement Committee meetings regarding regulatory interpretation
- A commitment to review and revise, as necessary, guidelines on a semi-annual basis
Metrics for evaluating implementation
- PSPC will assess progress made against the priorities related to regulatory clarity by implementing a system to track stakeholder requests for clarification of interpretation. The standing Industry Engagement Committee agenda item will be used to formalize this with our key stakeholders. The status will be shown by comparing the total number of requests for clarification to the number of updates completed
- PSPC will report on progress made by March 31, 2017
For more information
- Guide for developing and implementing interpretation policies
- Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management
- Red Tape Reduction Action Plan
- Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council
To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.
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