Regina, January 21, 2016 – Government rules and paperwork continue to hit farmers even harder than other small business owners, according to survey data released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), on day four of Red Tape Awareness WeekTM.
A national survey of small business owners shows that three in four (76 per cent) farmers identify government regulation and paperburden as a serious concern for their business, while 69 per cent of businesses in other sectors cite red tape as an issue. This marks the fifth consecutive year that farmers’ red tape frustrations have outpaced that of the general small business community in Canada.
“For all the photo-ops and campaign commitments made at the farm, Canada’s farmers have seen little relief from the burden of costly government rules and paperwork,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Agri-business. “It’s still frustrating that Statistics Canada continues to insist farmers fill out the survey right in the middle of their busiest time of the year – spring seeding. But we were pleased to hear the federal government announced this week that they will be making the 2016 Census of Agriculture more accessible by moving it online.”
“At the provincial level, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture has taken important steps to reduce red tape at the farm gate,” stated Braun-Pollon. The Ministry’s Operational Plan for 2015-16 includes a commitment to implement service standards throughout the Ministry, as well as develop and implement a digital strategy that contains new ways of offering Ministry services, including online delivery, to clients. “Recently, the Ministry has streamlined and improved the CropConnect website, which now allows customers to complete most Crop Insurance transactions online, saving farmers’ time, money and hassle. In addition, CFIB understands the Agri-Food Council is undertaking a review of all regulations of agencies that fall under the Act – with the goal to streamline regulations.”
“The Saskatchewan government has worked hard to reduce unnecessary red tape for entrepreneurs. In fact, Saskatchewan maintained a “B” in CFIB’s annual Red Tape Report Card, for its strong commitment to red tape accountability,” added Braun-Pollon. “CFIB will continue to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to find additional ways to cut red tape for farmers.”
Farmers list an alphabet soup of regulations and agencies that are costing them time and money, including:
- Canada Revenue Agency
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Statistics Canada
- Land use restrictions and by-laws
- Product labelling
“Farmers are looking to expand their operations and implement innovative technologies and practices that allow them to continue growing high quality food for all Canadians,” noted Braun-Pollon. “We need to ensure that the sector isn’t held back by out-dated, redundant and confusing regulations.”
CFIB looks forward to working with both the federal and provincial governments in the coming months to discuss ways to help foster a competitive agriculture industry and further reduce red tape.
For more details regarding the results of the surveys, visit www.cfib.ca
To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President Prairie & Agri Business please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 7,200 agri-business members.