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The Order of the Bear

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Recognizing those who help reduce red tape for small business in Canada.

Order of the Bear logo

Red tape is one of the biggest and most frustrating issues for small businesses across the country. It causes headaches for owners, makes them feel like the enemy when dealing with government, and erodes the relationship between government and business.

But some governments make efforts to reduce red tape, and the people behind these initiatives deserve our recognition and thanks. Enter Small Biz Bravo and the Order of the Bear.

Thanking Those Who Cut Red Tape

The Order of the Bear celebrates government action to support small business by reducing red tape. Anyone working for any level of government who has gone above and beyond with a contribution towards cutting red tape (including improving government customer service) may be eligible to be named to the Order of the Bear.

The Story

The Order of the Bear (and Bravo!) was conceived jointly by CFIB member Karen McKee, owner of Warm Buddy, and Laura Jones, CFIB’s lead red tape reduction advocate.

Karen and Warm Buddy have been making therapy products, including plush, warm-up animals (like Bravo) since 1995. Formally trained as a nurse, Karen has a caring nature and commitment to the purpose of her business, customers, and staff. As a British Columbia-based small business owner and employer, she knows first-hand how important it is to reduce red-tape.

Laura, whose family members own small businesses, also knows how destructive red tape can be. She has been researching the impact of excessive regulation, providing advice to governments on the subject, and helping CFIB members resolve both garden-variety and business-threatening red tape challenges for over 15 years.

About the Award

While the thank you—in the form of a Small Biz Bravo and induction into the Order of the Bear—is cute, its intentions are serious. Red tape is destructive to our economy, our communities and to individuals, and it has severe consequences like higher prices, lower employment, and lower wages.

Order of the Bear recipients have each received a #SmallBizBravo bear to thank them for helping to reduce red tape for small business in Canada. A limited number of bears are awarded annually by regional CFIB offices across Canada as they become aware of worthy recipients.

Karen and Laura hope to see a Bravo bear in government offices across the country to remind people how important it is to support small businesses. Follow Bravo on Instagram and Twitter @SmallBizBravo. Have any nominations for those deserving recognition? Please let us know!

Support small business

Recipients of The Order of the Bear

Order of the Bear recipients have each received a small Biz Bravo bear to thank them for doing something important to help reduce red tape for small business in Canada. Will you be next?

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth

The Government of Ontario

December 2017

On December 14, 2017, Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, became the seventh inductee to the Order of the Bear, and first ever from the Ontario government. Minister Duguid has been the province’s strongest advocate for cutting red tape during his six years as economic development minister.

In 2014, he introduced the Burden Reduction Reporting Act, a law that requires annual reporting of the government’s regulatory burden reduction efforts. In 2016 he launched the Red Tape Challenge, an online, sector-by-sector consultation that allows business owners to submit their red tape concerns and proposed solutions directly to government. In its first two years, the program saw the government commit to take action on 234 different measures identified by business owners.

Most recently, in 2017, he introduced Ontario’s “1 for 1.25” rule, that will require a $1.25 offset for every new dollar of administrative costs imposed on business through regulation.


Federal Government’s Canadian Free Trade Agreement Negotiating team

June 2017

In April, 2017, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments announced the signing of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The CFTA is the result of many years of work meant to replace the outdated Agreement on Internal Trade and represents a significant accomplishment towards reducing interprovincial trade barriers in Canada.

The CFTA is a modern and ambitious approach to trade, and will make it easier for Canadian small businesses to trade their products across interprovincial borders. The federal government’s negotiating team played a key role in maintaining the momentum of the CFTA negotiations and are the first federal team to be inducted to the Order of the Bear. They will continue to play a critical role in ensuring that Canadian small business issues are addressed and resolved throughout the next steps of implementing the agreement.

Nova Scotia’s Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness

Joan Penney

Executive Director of Project Implementation and Customer Service

Leanne Hachey

Executive Director of Stakeholder Relations and Intergovernmental Initiatives

Fred Crooks

Chief Regulatory Officer

June 2017

Joan, Leanne, Fred and their teams are the fifth inductees into CFIB’s Order of the Bear for their commitment and perseverance in helping small business in Nova Scotia cut through red tape. Their teams have introduced Canada’s first business navigation service to help business understand and comply with regulations, developed a means to assess the impact of regulation on business, and eliminated regulatory inconsistencies. This work helps businesses start, grow, and prosper in Nova Scotia.

Joan and her team’s most recent accomplishment has been the successful implementation of a Business Navigation Service within the Office. The Business Navigators provide support directly to businesses that need help with government rules and regulations around establishing or running a business in Nova Scotia. Importantly, the Business Navigators have the ability to escalate red tape issues to senior departmental levels for resolution. The hundreds of businesses that have worked with this team since it launched in February 2017 consistently rank the service as exceptional.

Leanne and her team developed a means to assess the impact of regulation on business and rolled out this tool to ensure its use across government. They’ve also worked to ensure business is involved and informed about the Office’s work and oversee the elimination of regulatory inconsistency and duplication between Atlantic provinces. Most notably, the team participated, with the business community, in the Council of Atlantic Premiers’ Red Tape Reduction Initiative. The partnership delivered some initial progress on breaking down interprovincial trade barriers in trucking, workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety and because of this work further regional regulatory efficiency is being tackled.

Paul Pierlot

Director, Entrepreneurship Manitoba, the Government of Manitoba and Senior Manager, Competitiveness Initiatives, Government of Manitoba

April 2017

Paul Pierlot is being recognized for his exceptional role in bringing forward one-for-one red tape reduction legislation in Manitoba. Mr. Pierlot and his team have been the leading architects of Manitoba’s Bill 22: The Regulatory Accountability Act and Amendments to the Statutes and Regulations Act, and subsequent legislation to move specific red tape; Bill 24: The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act, 2017.

Under Bill 22, Manitoba will become the first province to implement CFIB’s one-for-one challenge. The province is taking it a step further even by implementing a two-for-one reduction policy for the first four years after the legislation is implemented.

For several years, Paul has worked to identify regulatory burdens facings small businesses and other Manitoba residents. With Bill 22, the province will work to achieve balance with regulatory requirements, identify the best option for them, assess their impact, consult and communicate about them, monitor and minimize their number, and streamline their design.
Importantly, Paul and his team will first determine the number of regulatory requirements in the province and how to measure their impact and growth.

Sam Jawad

President of Chase Paymentech

February 2017

Mr. Sam Jawad, President of Chase Paymentech Solutions Canada, is the third inductee into CFIB’s Order of the Bear for his continued efforts towards cutting red tape for small business in Canada. Having served over 12 years in the payment industry, Mr. Jawad knows full well the important role a payment processing company plays in a business’ day-to-day existence. CFIB has had a tremendous relationship with Chase over the years. In addition to offering competitive rates, they have worked hard to reduce the loads of red tape that come with processing credit cards. Chase eliminated exit fees as well as other common industry fees for CFIB members, and improved statement and contract disclosure and complexity. 

Recently, Mr. Jawad partnered with CFIB through Mastercard, which has allowed for an agreement that will directly benefit CFIB’s 95,000 member businesses. They will now be able to access exclusive rates previously reserved solely for a handful of big businesses. This means lower rates and fewer fees for small businesses, which creates a friendlier environment for small business in Canada and benefits our overall economic climate. Thank you, Mr. Jawad!

BC Government’s Red Tape Reduction Team

December 2016

In March 2015, the Ministry of Red Tape Reduction announced the implementation of Red Tape Reduction Day, to be observed every year on the first Wednesday of March. 

Accompanying this announcement was the commitment to reduce the burdens of red tape through an ongoing red tape reduction consultation. This consultation holds a permanent position on the government’s website where citizens can share their concerns on how to streamline and modernize cumbersome processes, making it easier for small business to do business. Thanks to this team’s commitment, BC continues to be a leader in red tape reduction.

Carol Hamilton & City Council

City of Colwood Mayor

December 2016

In April 2016, Colwood Mayor and Council made the decision to eliminate annual business license renewal fees. Starting in 2017, existing Colwood businesses will no longer pay a fee, but will be required to complete a quick and easy online renewal each year to keep their license in good standing. New businesses will pay a one-time fee when they first apply and, once approved, will receive a perpetual license.


Know someone who deserves the Order of the Bear? Tell us how they have helped Canadian small business cut through red tape and why they are worthy of a Small Biz Bravo!

Any individual, including those working for any level of government (municipal, provincial, regional, or federal), can be considered.

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