Regina, January 22, 2020 – As the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) continues to shed light on the issue of paper burden and over-regulation during Red Tape Awareness Week™ 2020, a recent CFIB survey reveals 95 per cent of farmers agree reducing red tape for small businesses like theirs would help Canada become more competitive and innovative.
“We know farmers must compete on the world stage so cutting through unnecessary red tape is just one low-cost way governments can help make farm businesses more nimble and competitive,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Western Canada and Agri-business. “We are not talking about deregulation and removing those important rules that are in place to protect Canada’s food supply, we are talking about reducing unnecessary red tape that farmers face everyday.”
Red tape can include confusing forms, poor government customer service and excessive or outdated regulations. When farmers were asked which federal government agencies had the most room to reduce red tape (e.g. streamline rules, simplify language, shorten forms) without negatively affecting health, safety and environmental outcomes, the top five were:
- Canada Revenue Agency (60 per cent)
- Statistics Canada (58 per cent)
- Environment Canada and Climate Change Canada (56 per cent)
- Service Canada (Temporary Foreign Worker processing, Records of Employment) (53 per cent)
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency (44 per cent)
On Monday, CFIB awarded a Paperweight “Award” to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for fining a meat processor $42,000 because his customers had purchased his product in BC and then sent it to Alberta. A tribunal exonerated the producer after a grueling four-year legal battle which cost him $130,000.
“On the one hand I am happy to be exonerated of this wrongful charge; on the other, I am very angry that a government agency can do this and have little or no apparent consequence,” said Ken Falk, owner of Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, British Columbia.
“This is a real-life example of how interactions with government agencies can weigh down an agri-business owner and drown them in red tape taking up time, money and resources that could be better spent growing and expanding their business or contributing to their community,” explained Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Agri-business.
“At the provincial level, the Government of Saskatchewan has continued to make red tape reduction a top priority, which earned Saskatchewan another ‘A’ in CFIB’s 2020 Red Tape Report Card on Tuesday,” noted Braun-Pollon. “The Minister of Trade & Export Development Jeremy Harrison is also a finalist for CFIB’s Golden Scissors Award for introducing Saskatchewan’s ‘Help Cut Red Tape’ Web Portal, which lets business owners fast track their red tape concerns.”
“It’s also encouraging to see such a key focus on reducing red tape in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan and highlighting agriculture as one of the drivers for Saskatchewan’s economic growth in the next 10 years,” added Braun-Pollon. “We encourage farmers to use the “Help Cut Red Tape’ Web Portal to identify additional areas where Saskatchewan can trim unnecessary regulations and red tape so that they can focus on innovation at the farm gate.”
CFIB survey results also reveal the benefits of reducing the burden of red tape on agri-business owners are numerous:
- Allows them to spend more time running their business = 85% agree
- Reduces their stress = 80% agree
- Allows them to spend more time with family and friends = 61% agree
- Gives them time to explore innovating and/or expanding their business = 58% agree
- Allows them to spend more time on projects that contribute to the community = 48% agree
“We recognize some governments have made more progress than others in reducing red tape for farmers,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “However, we also know farmers are facing significant competitive challenges, that’s why CFIB is urging governments to continue to reduce the burden of red tape on Canada’s agriculture sector.”
CFIB’s 11th annual Red Tape Awareness Week™ encourages governments across the country to take the initiative and launch their own red tape reduction strategies. Regulations cost small businesses $36.2 billion annually, $10 billion of which is unnecessary red tape, according to CFIB’s research. To learn more visit CFIB.ca/redtape and follow #redtape.
To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Western Canada & Agri-business or Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst, Agri-business, please call (306) 757-0000 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (including 7,200 agri-businesses). 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 cfib.ca.