Public Service International (PSI) affiliated unions from Canada have concluded the North America Sub-regional meeting in Ottawa from March 3-4, 2016 in agreement that recent changes to the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) do nothing to address its fundamental flaws or to mitigate the harm it will cause.
The backroom re-negotiation of CETA that resulted in changes to the Investor State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS), now referred to as the Investment Court System (ICS), do not in any way “fix” CETA as the Canadian Government has claimed. Foreign corporations will still have unprecedented power to sidestep the domestic courts and can sue our government if a public policy decision is deemed to prevent future profit. We continue to believe our public court system is the fair and accountable way to handle any disputes about government policy.
Canada is the most-sued developed country under existing investor rights rules in NAFTA. We have already paid more than $200 million to corporations. Giving thousands of European corporations the right to challenge our democratic decisions will make the problem far worse.
Furthermore, the new ICS does nothing to address the fundamental flaws in CETA that include:
- Increases in the cost of pharmaceuticals in our health care system by $1 billion or more per year;
- Putting our public services at risk by making it harder to reverse failed privatizations in sectors such as healthcare, water or energy, or to expand public services in the future;
- Limiting the rights of provinces, municipalities, schools and hospitals to get the most out of their procurement spending by favoring local goods and services.
We are emboldened by the growing opposition and mobilization against the dangerous provisions in CETA. It is clear we must continue to resist this agreement in its own right, and because we know it will pave the way for other agreements such as the TTIP and TPP. We are clear that CETA remains a terrible deal for Canadians, and it cannot be ratified without a thorough and transparent renegotiation that puts the public interest at the heart of the process.