Red tape putting greater squeeze on Canadian farmers

93 per cent of farmers say that their regulatory burden is growing

Calgary, January 25, 2018 – Confusing forms, bad customer service and excessive government regulations are leaving Canadian farmers feeling burnt out, and the problem is getting worse according to findings released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

Notably, nearly 40 per cent of agri-business owners would not advise their children to start a business given the burden of government red tape – a four point increase from just three years ago. 

“Canada has a proud farming tradition, and red tape shouldn’t be allowed to hold back the next generation from wanting to take over,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Prairie & Agri-business.  “While governments are great at celebrating agriculture, which is important, what farmers really want is for governments to set them free from excessive red tape.”

“Alberta’s Bill 6 “one-size-fits-all” legislation extended the labour relations code and employment standards provisions onto the agriculture sector failing to recognize it is not a “9-5” business,” said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs.  “Instead of working to keep agriculture competitive and create an environment that is attractive to the next generation of farmers – the Alberta Government is doing the exact opposite.”

“So it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Alberta at the bottom of the ratings of CFIB’s 2018 Red Tape Report Card, which, for the second year in a row, received an ‘F’ grade, for failing to support any comprehensive for measuring, reporting or controlling the regulatory burden,” added Ruddy.

Agri-business owners say that red tape adds significant stress (83 per cent), significantly reduces the productivity in their business (73 per cent) and discourages business growth (70 per cent).

Farmers continue to be among the hardest hit businesses in Canada, with 64 per cent saying their business has been negatively affected by delays caused by red tape, compared to 56 per cent of small business owners generally. 

A full 93 per cent of farmers believe their regulatory burden is growing.

“Red tape hits home the closest for farmers,” added Braun-Pollon.  “A farmer just doesn’t have time to sit on the phone waiting for government to answer questions or fill out piles of confusing paperwork in the middle of calving.  The work they do is too important to be tied up in red tape.”

For more details, see CFIB’s Agri-business Red Tape Backgrounder, January 2018.

To arrange an interview with Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director or Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business, please call 888 234-2232 or email

About Red Tape Awareness Week™
Now in its ninth year, Red Tape Awareness Week™ (January 22–26) 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
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 7,200 agri-business members. Learn more at