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Golden Scissors Awards: Celebrating Canada’s red tape warriors

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The prestigious Golden Scissors Award recognizes politicians, public servants, or other Canadians who have shown leadership in cutting red tape, producing meaningful and positive results for small businesses like yours. 

The ultimate prize of the Golden Scissors is bestowed on only a small handful of people and organizations, out of many distinguished nominees from across the country. 

This year’s finalists include:

  • The Canada Revenue Agency, for its Liaison Officer Service, which provides a free, in-person visit by a tax expert to small businesses who need help navigating their taxes
  • WorkplaceNL, for improving its customer service by moving its payment system online and expanding the digital services it offers to small business owners
  • Joanne Munro, Chief Executive Officer of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, for moving the business registration process online, saving small businesses not only precious time but a cumulative $10 million annually through reduced fees
  • Quebec’s Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault, for eliminating its redundant permit requirements for bowling alleys and amusement equipment in response to receiving a Paperweight “award” in 2019 for being one of the worst regulations in the country
  • Ontario Deputy Minister, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Giles Gherson and the Business Relief Unit, which investigates red tape issues submitted to its Cutting Red Tape web portal and works directly with lawmakers to address them
  • Ontario Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria, for eliminating the requirement for barbers and hairdressers to collect clients’ personal information before picking up their scissors
  • The Government of Manitoba and Premier Brian Pallister, for their major overhaul of government systems, increasing accountability and transparency for citizens and breaking down silos between government departments
  • Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison, for creating a “Help Cut Red Tape” Web Portal that lets business owners fast-track their red tape concerns
  • Alberta’s Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter, who directs the province’s list of red tape initiatives and invites its citizens and businesses to submit their red tape headaches to the Cut Red Tape website so they can be reviewed and addressed
  • British Columbia’s Ministry of Health, for creating a new online application system to enroll for provincial medical coverage that takes only 15 minutes to complete, streamlining citizens’ access to health care

Meet all the finalists. We’ll announce the winners on January 23.


Golden Scissors Awards through the years

2019: Four winners!

In 2019, we celebrated four people who scored great victories in the fight against red tape:

  • At the federal level, former Treasury Board President Scott Brison won for his commitment to reducing federal red tape on a yearly basis. 
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford was recognized for his major overhaul of harmful labour rule changes, and his leadership on cross-government red tape reduction for small businesses. 
  • In Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage were awarded for teaming up to create the Joint Project for Regulatory Modernization.

Find out more about the 2019 winners and finalists

2018: Manitoba's ambitious plan

In 2018, we recognized Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, for instituting an ambitious red-tape reduction plan! The province's “2-for-1” rule will see two old regulations scrapped for every new one introduced, and it has already updated 15 pieces of legislation to get rid of unnecessary rules in industries from agriculture to auto repair.

The honorable mentions were:

  • Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, for allowing small business owners to distribute T4s electronically to their employees. 
  • Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness – Business Navigation Service, for pioneering innovative, personalized ways to help small businesses comply with regulations. 
  • Hon. Dominique Vien, Quebec’s Minister of Labour, for loosening an inflexible rule around voluntary construction work.

Find out more about the winners and finalists. 

Special 2017 Edition: A revolutionary trade agreement

We handed out a special Golden Scissors Award to provincial and territorial trade ministers, to celebrate the passing of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement! The agreement will eliminate needless interprovincial trade barriers, making it easier for small firms to do business across the country.

2017: B.C. creates Red Tape Reduction Day

British Columbia Premier and Minister of Small Business win the award, for introducing an annual Red Tape Reduction Day, leading to the repeal of 37 unnecessary pieces of legislation. The Day also resulted in streamlined online applications for certain permits and more than 200 scrapped regulations.

Honorable mentions

  • Fred Crooks, Chief Regulatory Officer, Nova Scotia: For offsetting each regulation with a cost reduction for businesses.
  • Lise Thériault, Deputy Premier, Québec: For setting a goal of reducing red tape costs by 10% by 2018.
  • Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Ontario: For introducing an online portal (the Red Tape Challenge) where Ontarians can submit ideas of red tape to cut.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency: For setting up a user-friendly online resource for agri-businesses with questions about regulations.
2016: A special task force in Québec

Quebec ministers Sam Hamad (Minister of Labour) and Jean-Denis Girard (Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises) are recognized for creating a red tape task force—and implementing 90% of its recommendations!

Honorable mentions

  • Premier Stephen McNeil, Nova Scotia: For leading the charge on an agreement between the provinces to recognize each other’s apprenticeship programs, allowing Canadians to find more work across the country. 
  • Nancy Heppner, Minister of Infrastructure and Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Trade, Saskatchewan: For harmonizing Saskatchewan’s truck regulations with Alberta’s, to facilitate transportation between the two provinces.
  • Alan McIsaac, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Prince Edward Island: For allowing farmers to register vehicles once, rather than re-registering every year. 
2015: Payroll taxes made easier

Minister of National Revenue Kerri-Lynne Findlay wins for a small, but powerful change to the way small businesses like yours remit payroll taxes to the CRA. Many small businesses can now send in payroll taxes biweekly or monthly, rather than weekly. 

Honorable mentions

  • Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary: For leading the Cut Red Tape initiative, which saved the city’s small businesses $2.8 million.
  • Diane Whalen, Finance Minister, Nova Scotia: For eliminating a regulation that would have required scrap metal dealers to collect sellers’ personal information.

About Red Tape Awareness Week: Each year, CFIB dedicates one week in January to raise public awareness about the impact of excessive regulations and red tape on small business and challenge politicians and bureaucrats across the country to take action.