Interpretation policy

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.

Departmental context

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.

Predictability

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:

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

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.

Staff training

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.

Stakeholder engagement

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.

Improvement

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.

Related report

Public Services and Procurement Canada regulatory improvement priorities and metrics report

Priorities identified by PSPC as a result of stakeholder consultations are:

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.

Improvements include

Metrics for evaluating implementation

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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