Taxes are, of course, a huge cost to businesses in Manitoba. And as you’d expect, the government keeps a close eye on how many taxes there are, how much they will cost businesses and residents, and which ones they are trying to add to or, ideally, lessen.
Red tape is also a huge cost to business owners like you, but why then is red tape not receiving the same attention as taxation from governments across Canada? Fortunately for Manitobans, the province now has North America-leading measurement, tracking, reporting and reduction requirements for red tape.
While progress is being made, red tape is still a huge cost and problem for Manitoba’s job creators. CFIB estimates that in 2017, red tape at all levels of government cost Manitoba’s businesses about $360 million. Reducing red tape, while maintaining the essential rules will save businesses time and money, while improving compliance to make life safer for everyone.
Provincial Red Tape:
More can and must be done to reduce red tape for Manitoba’s small businesses. At the provincial level, CFIB members cite PST (57%), WCB, Workplace Safety and Health (55%) and Employment Standards (43%) concerns as the most burdensome regulations in terms of how much time they and their staff spend on compliance. Many of these rules and regulations are important, but the government can still reduce red tape in these areas while maintaining safety for employees, employers, residents and the environment.
To accomplish these goals, the Government of Manitoba must maintain the legislative tools created to measure, track, report, and reduce red tape. Then, the government must work regularly with small businesses, industry stakeholders, and the civil service to continually identify the different red tape headaches that stifle growth in Manitoba.
CFIB challenged Manitoba parties to:
- Maintain the Regulatory Accountability Act’s one-for-one reduction requirements and produce an annual report outlining the province’s progress;
- Consult annually with businesses and stakeholders to identify red tape headaches in different sectors; producing an annual report outlining feedback received and actions taken to reduce red tape;
- Introduce red tape reductions through a legislative vehicle on an annual basis with a focus on reducing red tape for small businesses;
- Improve communications of requirements and changes with business owners through an online business portal;
- Introduce a Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code;
- Create an annual Red Tape Reduction Day; and
- Work with stakeholders of every size and trade in the construction industry to pass prompt payment legislation or make other legislative changes to improve the speed and reliability of payments to all contractors doing construction in the province.
Inter-provincial Red Tape:
Inter-provincial trade is rising each year and represented $406 billion of goods and services in 2017. Signing the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) in 2017 was a big deal for business across Canada. Progress made so far has included streamlining standards for tires and health and safety equipment. Work planned going forward will help improve labour mobility, driver training in transportation, and liberalize the trade of alcoholic beverages, among others. However, much work is left to be done to continue breaking down inter-provincial barriers to trade.
CFIB challenged Manitoba parties to, through the Council of the Federation, work with other provincial, territorial and federal leaders to ensure the success of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the reduction of inter-provincial trade barriers.
Municipal Red Tape:
Manitoba enjoys short summers and red tape found in permits, among others, negatively impacts growth during our construction seasons, discourages investment, and makes compliance more challenging. According to the Manitoba Treasury Board Secretariat’s (TBS) Report on Planning, Zoning, and Permitting, for every day we can reduce permitting delays, the Manitoba GDP would grow by $17 million, provincial tax revenues would grow by $1.7 million and municipal revenues by $400,000.
The City of Winnipeg is underway with its own red tape review focusing on permitting and roadwork construction mitigation, but like all municipalities in Manitoba, will likely need the help of the next provincial government to make several important changes to help reduce red tape at the municipal level.
CFIB challenged Manitoba parties to:
- Share red tape tools and experience with Manitoba’s municipalities to further reduce red tape for businesses at the local level; and
- Work with the City of Winnipeg and other Manitoba municipalities to cut red tape with permits and mitigate the impacts of roadwork at the municipal and provincial levels.
To find where the Government of Manitoba stands on small business priorities, visit CFIB’s Party Leaders’ Survey on Small Business Priorities.
Do you have stories to share about how red tape has negatively impacted your business? Call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or send an email to [email protected].