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Red Tape Challenge 2019: Time for municipalities to clear the clutter

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CFIB calls on local governments to commit to one-in-one-out policy to control red tape 

Regina, January 23, 2019 – As part of its 10th annual Red Tape Awareness Week™, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is issuing its third national Red Tape Challenge. For 2019, CFIB is challenging municipalities to get rid of one government rule for every new one adopted (one-in-one-out), an approach that has been successfully used by the federal government and some provinces.     

“Adopting a one-in-one-out policy is a great way to ensure municipalities are cleaning up their red tape clutter on an ongoing basis,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.

In a recent CFIB survey of almost 9,000 business owners across the country, half of the respondents said they felt their local government was doing either a poor or terrible job of keeping rules and compliance costs for business at a reasonable level. There were hundreds of pages of comments on the survey from frustrated business owners. Time-consuming and delayed building permit processes, inconsistent rules, lack of information and terrible customer service are amongst their top concerns.

Letters outlining the 2019 Red Tape Challenge were sent to municipalities across the country last fall. Municipalities that have expressed early interest include Halifax (NS), Fort McMurray (AB), Brazeau County (AB), and five municipalities in Quebec: Bécancour, Lavaltrie, Magog, Mascouche and Rivière-du-Loup.

“Early interest in the challenge is heartening. Past Red Tape challenges have led to tangible improvements for small business owners at the federal and provincial levels and we want to see municipal governments be part of that story,” stated Jones.

“We are hopeful that Saskatchewan’s cities will commit to meaningful red tape reduction in the future, including the introduction of a one-in-one-out policy,” added Jennifer Henshaw, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for the Prairie region. “We will also continue to push cities to measure and limit red tape growth, as the Government of Saskatchewan has.”

The 2017 and 2018 Red Tape Challenges

Last year, the Red Tape Challenge related to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. Premiers and the federal government were asked to fix at least three specific inter-provincial red tape headaches for small businesses by the end of 2018. Some federal irritants have been fixed such as removing unnecessary grading requirements for blueberries, apples, and potatoes, making national building codes available free of charge, and allowing aquaculture farms to apply for organic certification. In December 2018, premiers announced a plan to streamline corporate registrations, allow wide-base single tires across the country and recognize common occupational health & safety standards in 2019.

“They didn’t blow the challenge out of the water, but it’s progress. We will continue to report out on this challenge in 2019 and beyond given its importance to the country,” said Jones.

In 2017, CFIB challenged the provinces to follow the federal government’s lead and legislate a one-in-one-out rule. So far, Quebec and Manitoba have risen to the challenge.

To arrange an interview with Jennifer Henshaw, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst for the Prairie region, please call (306) 757-0000, 888 234-2232 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) 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 cfib.ca.