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Canada’s red tape report card: BC best in country

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BC only province to have received an “A” grade from the CFIB

On day two of Red Tape Awareness Week™, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued its annual red tape report card. The report card looks at measurement, public reporting and political leadership.

British Columbia gets the only “A” grade in the country for a fifth consecutive year. The province gets its top marks for continuing to measure (there are 204,826 regulatory requirements in place), setting a target to maintain (the government has committed to no-net increase in regulatory requirements through 2019) and for political leadership (cutting red tape is a clear priority for the Premier Clark).  

“BC has been a model for other provinces and countries since 2001 when it first stepped on the red-tape scale and committed to lose weight,” said Laura Jones, CFIB executive vice-president. “But BC has done something far more impressive than cutting red tape. It has been disciplined about not letting regulatory creep set in. Losing weight is one thing, keeping it off for over a decade is a far more impressive accomplishment,” she continued.

In 2015, BC demonstrated its continued leadership on cutting red tape by declaring the first ever “Red Tape Reduction Day” in Canada to be observed the first Wednesday of every March, starting this year.   

Report Card

On the other end of the spectrum, the government of Manitoba’s continued inaction to reduce red tape (a commitment made in their 2014 Throne Speech) resulted in their grade dropping to an “F”. “We often forget how lucky we are to have a government who remains committed to reducing red tape,” said Jones. While Jones applauds BC’s performance, she also notes CFIB has provided suggestions to the government on areas they could still improve.

Government red tape is a hidden tax that affects Canada’s small businesses much more than larger firms. The annual cost of all regulations on businesses in Canada is pegged at $37 billion per year, with one-third of that ($11 billion) considered red tape. In BC, regulations cost businesses $5.2 billion dollars – 2.2% of provincial GDP – of which small businesses pay a disproportionate amount.

For more details about the report card, visit www.cfib.ca. To arrange an interview with Laura Jones, please call 604-684-5325 or email [email protected].

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in B.C.