Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Regulate Smarter Series

Bringing Back Fee Fairness

“Inefficient processes and poorly conceived regulations result in less business creation, expansion, investment and innovation, and fewer economic opportunities for Canadians. We need better processes and well-designed regulations to help minimize the costs to business while improving public health and safety benefits.” — The Hon. Perrin Beatty, P.C., O.C., President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce


User fees play an important role in how departments and agencies are funded. Like taxes, they affect the competitiveness of businesses that pay them.

The federal government replaced the User Fees Act with the Service Fees Act in the 2017 federal budget.

The legislation was included in the omnibus budget bill, meaning it received far less parliamentary debate, committee study or public scrutiny than it would have as standalone legislation. Unfortunately, Health Canada’s 2017 attempt to dramatically increase fees for drugs and medical devices, gave no consideration to business competitiveness impacts and reinforced industry concerns about the federal shift on fees.

2020 will mark three years since the passage of the Service Fees Act and given the hasty implementation of changes to federal cost recovery rules, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has examined how the government and Health Canada specifically have exercised these new authorities in their latest report, Bringing Back Fee Fairness: The Implications of Rushed Changes to Federal Cost Recovery Rules.

To learn more on how Canada’s regulatory system is a mix of complex, overlapping rules from all levels of government that has created a costly and uncertain environment to run a business, visit the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Regulate Smarter site.