Toronto, January 22, 2016 – To close out Red Tape Awareness Week™, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) announced this morning that Quebec ministers Sam Hamad, and Jean-Denis Girard, are joint winners of the Golden Scissors award for leading and implementing measures to reduce red tape on small businesses.
Hamad, currently the province’s Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, created a government-industry working group in 2011, mandated to recommend ways to cut the cost of red tape on small and medium-sized businesses by 20 per cent (more than $250 million a year) by the end of 2015.
Girard, currently Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development, oversaw implementation of the working group’s 63 recommendations. Ninety per cent are now in place, including:
- The ability to get a QST/GST number over the phone
- New online PDF income tax forms for businesses
- A single alcohol permit for restaurants and bars instead of multiple permits
- The option for restaurant-goers to bring home unfinished open wine bottles
- The elimination of dozens of outdated or unnecessary government forms
- The requirement for an economic impact analysis prior to implementing new laws or regulations
Minister Hamad has personally overseen implementation of several recommendations, including exempting 25,000 small employers from filling out a useless pay equity form.
“Once again, the Golden Scissors Award has brought together an impressive list of finalists across Canada, including several premiers. The leadership shown by Ministers Hamad and Girard is a clear example of government officials walking the walk when it comes to cutting red tape on small businesses,” said Satinder Chera, vice-president at the CFIB. “They deserve the badge of red tape warrior!”
“SMEs have to contend with an environment where competition is fierce. Reduce the time businesses must spend on paperwork is a way to support them in this competitive market. They can devote more time to innovation, development and production. I am proud of the efforts made by our government to ease the regulatory burden on SMEs which helps to create a better business environment” said Minister Hamad.
“Reducing the regulatory and administrative burden of our entrepreneurs is a constant priority for our government. To date, reducing the cost of paperwork has enabled savings of $ 256 million for our businesses. I am honored by CFIB’s recognition, together with my colleague Sam Hamad, and I wish to reiterate our government’s commitment to continue its efforts in this field, including implementing a three-year action plan that will be introduced this spring,” added Minister Girard.
The winners, chosen from nominations from across the country, received a trophy, framed certificate and recognition on the CFIB website, Facebook page and other small business publications.
In addition to the winners, three Honourable Mentions were also announced today:
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Canada’s Premiers. Premier McNeil led the charge on an agreement between provinces and territories to recognize each other’s technical training programs, work experience and examination results for apprentices. The move helps Canadians find jobs and helps businesses find workers. It is also a positive step in the direction of achieving a new Agreement on Internal Trade.
Hon. Nancy Heppner, Saskatchewan Minister of Highways and Infrastructure and Hon. Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan Minister Responsible for Trade. Ministers Heppner and Harrison worked together to change provincial regulations for wide-load signs on trucks to match neighbouring Alberta. Now, businesses don’t need two different signs for each truck, and drivers no longer need to risk life and limb at the side of the road to switch signs when crossing the provincial border.
Hon. Alan McIsaac, Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. As former Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Minister McIsaac introduced a one-time farm vehicle registration to replace annual registration. The move will save farmers from having to re-register their vehicles every year.
Government red tape is a hidden tax that affects Canada’s small businesses much more than larger firms. The annual cost of all regulations on businesses in Canada is pegged at $37 billion per year, with one-third ($11 billion) considered red tape.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.