Red Tape Report Card shows mixed grades for provinces


Expanded grading scheme includes two new categories 

Toronto, January 27, 2021 – As part of its 12th annual Red Tape Awareness Week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its updated annual Red Tape Report Card, grading provinces in three key areas: accountability; burden; and progress towards eliminating internal trade barriers. Of the three assessed areas, governments scored highest on regulatory accountability, the category that has been evaluated on previous report cards. Grades in the two new categories are more mixed.

“Accountability remains the foundation of our report card because trying to reduce red tape without measurement is a bit like trying to lose weight without ever stepping on a scale—possible but not probable,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB. “Over the past decade, it’s been great to see provinces step on the scale and set targets to control red tape. We have a lot of A grades in this category where there used to be none. But ultimately people care about whether the burden of unnecessary rules is lighter, so we are evolving the report card to reflect that. Here the grades are mixed, and all provinces have work to do.”

The 2021 Red Tape Report Card grades are: 

Jurisdiction Regulatory Accountability 
(70% of overall grade)
Regulatory Burden (15% of overall grade) Interprovincial Cooperation 
(15% of overall grade)
Overall Score & Grade
Manitoba 10.0    A 7.8    B+ 9.0    A 9.5    A
Alberta 10.0    A 8.7    A- 7.2    B- 9.4    A
Nova Scotia 10.0    A 6.0    C- 8.2    A- 9.1    A
Saskatchewan 9.7    A 8.0    A- 7.3    B 9.1    A
British Columbia 9.3    A 6.1    C- 8.4    A- 8.7    A-
Ontario 9.3    A 6.5    C 6.8    C+ 8.5    A-
Quebec 9.0    A 6.1    C- 2.8    F 7.6    B
Prince Edward Island 8.3    A- 5.8    D+ 3.9    F 7.3    B
New Brunswick 6.0    C- 6.3    C 3.2    F 5.6    D
Newfoundland and Labrador 4.7    F 6.1    C- 3.8    F 4.7    F

What does it take to earn an A?
Manitoba received the best overall score due to its high marks on accountability and reducing interprovincial trade barriers. Alberta stands out as most improved moving from an F grade a few years ago to joining the A club this year. Some provinces, like Ontario and Quebec, get good grades for being accountable but still have relatively high regulatory burdens. New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have the most room for improvement in all areas of the report card. 

“The bar for good grades on our report card is going up. A decade ago, there was virtually no regulatory measurement or accountability. This has improved and now the real work begins. Governments need to reduce red tape in order to give people back time, reduce frustration, and allow business owners to focus on keeping their businesses afloat. Given our battered economy, this is more important now than ever,” concluded Jones. 

For more information on this year’s grades and the new criteria on which governments are being graded, refer to the 2021 Red Tape Report Card.

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

About Red Tape Awareness Week™
Now in its twelfth year, Red Tape Awareness Week™ (January 25-29) highlights the cost and impact of excessive regulations. The annual campaign continues to influence governments across the country to launch red tape reduction initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow #redtape.

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