CFIB presents Paperweight “Awards”: Doctors with borders, carbon tax stickers, craft beer road trips and more

Toronto, January 20, 2020 – The 2020 Paperweight “Awards” for the worst examples of useless and excessive regulations are announced today, kicking off the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s 11th annual Red Tape Awareness Week™. 

“The Paperweights highlight the best of the worst examples of red tape across the country, like the Newfoundland and Labrador rule requiring convenience stores to only accept as many empties as bottles they sell back to the customer, or the carbon tax stickers gas station owners in Ontario are forced to post on every pump that just won’t stick,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s vice-president for Atlantic Canada. “We can laugh at the absurdity, but these rules are a huge waste of time, money and energy for citizens and small business owners. Most of them also have a pretty clear fix, which we’re suggesting to the governments and agencies responsible.”

This year’s “Paperweights” are:

  • The Government of Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement for businesses applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, including costly non-refundable fees, excessively long application forms and a six-to-nine month wait to receive a decision.
  • The Government of Canada and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s complicated, restrictive and time-consuming Climate Action Incentive Fund SME Project stream, which requires businesses to spend five hours filling out an application and pay a minimum of $80,000 for a project just to get a partial rebate of their own carbon tax.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency’s requirement for truckers who drive through provinces that charge the federal carbon tax, to fill out and return forms every quarter with complex math to show how much fuel was bought and used in each province.
  • Municipalities across Canada, for out-of-date, redundant, and slow business and residential permitting processes. For example, until recently the permit process in Winnipeg only allowed booking electrical inspections to phone calls only between 8:30 and 9:30 am.
  • The City of Toronto, which forces businesses changing their address (even if it’s just next door), to reapply for their business licence as though their business never existed.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Finance, which requires any convenience store selling beer to only accept as many empties returned as bottles sold in the same transaction.
  • The Government of Prince Edward Island’s Liquor Control Act prohibiting licenced dining rooms from selling liquor without food, unless they have a separate lounge licence. 
  • The Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and provincial governments, for making it excessively difficult for doctors to move their licences between provinces or travel to provide urgently needed services in provinces experiencing shortages.
  • The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ), for terrible communication processes which caused major losses for one convenience store owner. SAQ seized the store’s stock of 18,000 beer bottles over a late liquor sales license renewal. Though the business owner received a new licence quickly from RACJ, SAQ returned the bottles eight months later, some past their expiry date or full of worms.
  • The Government of Ontario, for forcing gas stations to post a sticker on the federal carbon tax’s impact on gas prices on every pump in the province. To add insult to injury, owners must keep track of and replace lost, damaged or vandalized stickers, which is quite a task given the stickers don’t seem to be sticking!
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, for fining a meat producer $42,000 because his customer had purchased his product in BC and then sent it to Alberta. A tribunal exonerated the producer after a grueling four-year legal battle costing $130,000.
  • Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), for making small brewers that outsource their brewing to a “contract manufacturer” ship all final liquor products to one of only two official warehouses near Edmonton before they can sell at their store-front, even if the contractor is located right next door.
  • The Government of British Columbia, for its new Employer Health Tax, which forces business owners to pay quarterly installments based on estimates of their payroll, not their actual payroll.
  • British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s “Community Benefits Agreement,” for forcing employers and employees to comply with 336 pages of complex, inflexible union rules which go as far as outlining what kind of meat and condiments are acceptable in sandwiches.

Business Owners’ Choice Paperweight
Business owners are invited to vote for their top Paperweight pick throughout the week at The results will be announced on CFIB’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts on Friday, January 24.

To find out more about the 2020 Paperweight “winners,” visit

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at