Northwest Territories takes home top award for its strong efforts to identify and reduce red tape

Governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia “ones to watch” for innovation in customer service and permitting

Toronto, February 2, 2023 – As part of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s annual Red Tape Awareness WeekTM, the 2023 Golden Scissors Award, which recognizes innovation and leadership to cut red tape, has been awarded to the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT). The GNWT received the highest recognition for its efforts to identify and reduce red tape barriers impacting business owners and citizens. 

The GNWT is being recognized for making red tape reduction a priority through its Red Tape Reduction Working Group and its online portal for the public to submit their feedback on red tape irritants. The GNWT has set a strong standard of a five-day internal response time for submissions made through the online feedback portal. Government departments are required to report back to the Red Tape Reduction Working Group on each submission made through the portal within five days, identifying how they plan to address the problem and indicating how much time is needed to complete the change. 

“The Government of Northwest Territories has proven that you don’t need an army of civil servants to take actions to make red tape reduction a priority and to improve government services,” said Brianna Solberg, CFIB director for the Territories. “Nine in ten business owners and Canadians feel governments should do more to collect feedback from citizens on improving their services. The Northwest Territories’ Red Tape Reduction Working Group not only meets that desire, but ensures action is taken on that feedback quickly so that it doesn’t get lost on bureaucrats’ desks.”

According to CFIB research, 98% of business owners and individuals say having clear timelines on when to expect a response or approval is important for good government service.

CFIB is also recognizing the governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia with “ones to watch” awards for regulatory modernization in permitting and licensing: 

  • The Ontario government, for the At Your Service Act, 2022, which sets out a framework for public response timelines for licence and permit applications, approvals, and information requests across government. The legislation also provides for mandatory refunds in cases where government offices go beyond service standard timelines. In addition, it requires regular reporting on how the government is performing, and how much money it may have had to refund Ontarians for failing to meet its service standards.
  • The Nova Scotia government and Halifax Regional Municipality, for Bill 137, The Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended), which made 15 changes to speed up housing construction in the Halifax area. The legislation came from a joint provincial and municipal panel specifically tasked with increasing housing in Halifax through red tape reduction. Altogether, the 15 red tape reduction measures in Bill 137 will reduce housing development approval timelines by six to nine months. 

“Ontario and Nova Scotia have policies that are on the cutting edge of regulatory reform,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB. “We look forward to monitoring their progress over the next year and hope to see them in the Golden Scissors conversation in 2024.” 

The GNWT joins previous Golden Scissors Award winners including: the Government of Nova Scotia for its Reducing Physician Administrative Burden Initiative (2022); the Alberta government’s red tape submission portal (2020); the Quebec government for eliminating excess license requirements for bowling alleys and arcades (2020); and, the Ontario government for eliminating burdensome scheduling requirements (2019). 

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For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

These are the findings from two different surveys.

The first is a survey commissioned by CFIB. The survey was conducted from November 18 to 21, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of n=1,507 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was conducted in English and French.

The second survey was completed in house by CFIB using an online, controlled access survey. The Your Voice – November 2022 was completed by 3,264 CFIB members between November 10-28, 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 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