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Canada’s red tape report card: Nova Scotia makes the most improvement

BC continues to lead the way; Yukon, Manitoba fall further behind

Halifax, January 19, 2016 – On day two of Red Tape Awareness Week™, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued its annual red tape report card, grading the provinces and territories on their commitment to red tape accountability. The report card looks at measurement, public reporting and political leadership.

CFIB has been asking governments to take the first step to being accountable by getting on the red tape scale. Without knowing the size of the problem, it’s impossible to tackle it – like trying to lose weight without first weighing yourself. “Seven years after CFIB started Red Tape Awareness Week™, those governments in Canada unwilling to weigh-in are now the exception rather than the rule,” said Satinder Chera, CFIB vice-president. 


Jurisdiction 2015 Grade 2016 Grade
British Columbia A A
Quebec B+ B+
Ontario B+ B+
Saskatchewan B B
Nova Scotia D- C+
Prince Edward Island D+ C-
New Brunswick N/A* C-
Yukon D+ D
Manitoba D F
Federal Government B+ N/A*
Newfoundland and Labrador C N/A*
Northwest Territories F N/A*
Alberta D N/A*

*Too soon to evaluate the new government’s performance on regulatory accountability


Nova Scotia took a big step in 2015 with the creation of the joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness with the governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.  Nova Scotia’s red tape report card grade saw the most improvement of any province in Canada from 2015 to 2016.  Nova Scotia has made a commitment to measure and publicly report the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens. “Nova Scotia recently legislated those requirements in December with the Regulatory Accountability and Reporting Act,” said Nick Langley, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs in Nova Scotia.  “The Act also makes regulation the avenue of last resort for government, which can stem the growth of red tape in Nova Scotia.”

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 Nova Scotia, the annual cost of red tape on businesses is $747 million.

“CFIB has advocated for many years that excessive regulation is a barrier to small business growth in our economy, this was also identified in the 2014 Broten Report.  The vastly improved grade demonstrates the political leadership, serious effort, and hard work undertaken by many within the Nova Scotia government.  While much has been accomplished there is still more work to be done to make Nova Scotia a better environment for small business to grow and thrive.” concluded Langley.  

For more details about the report card, visit To arrange an interview with Nick Langley, please contact Kate Allen at 902-420-1997 or [email protected]

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

January 19, 2016

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