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Our Initiatives

The Order of the Bear 

Who will Small Biz Bravo visit next?

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

Recipients of The Order of the Bear

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 The CFTA is the result of many years of work meant to replace the outdated Agreement on Internal Trade and represents a significant accomplishment towards reducing interprovincial trade barriers in Canada.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 across the region. 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 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.

Mr. 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, creating a friendlier environment for small business in Canada, benefiting 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 on the red tape reduction file.

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.

Nominate Someone

Do you 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 for an 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. The Order was created as a thank you for those in government who have done something to reduce the burden of red tape on small businesses.

Red tape is destructive to our economy, our communities, and to individuals. In addition to its more obvious consequences—raising prices, lowering employment and lowering wages—there is a greater cost: red tape undermines the relationship between a government and its citizens to the point where many business owners report “feeling like the enemy” when dealing with government.

Although the thank you, in the form of a Bravo and an induction into the Order of the Bear is cute enough to make people smile, its intentions are very serious.

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, which is very clear and contagious. She knows first-hand how important it is to reduce red-tape, as a number of years ago her business was badly affected by it.

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

Karen and Laura hope to see Warm Buddy bears in government offices across the country, reminding people of the importance of supporting small business.

About CFIB

For 45 years, CFIB has been there for Canada’s small business owners. We stand up for your small business at all levels of government: in the corridors of Parliament Hill, at your provincial legislature, and in your local city hall fighting for your rights and livelihood. In addition, CFIB members have full access to a complete range of essential business resources, providing free one-on-one business support, webinars, online educational tools and more. In fact, CFIB answers about 35,000 calls per year from our 95,000 members on virtually any small business question! Finally, through carefully selected partners, CFIB offers discounts and savings on products and services that businesses need. This is the power of CFIB. This is the power of our valued members. This is the power of small business.

About Order of the Bear

The Order of the Bear celebrates government action to support small business by reducing red tape. Warm Buddy bears, made by a Canadian small business in British Columbia, are given to individuals who go above and beyond to reduce red tape and improve government customer service—a thank you in the form of a bear.

Red Tape Facts

According to Canada’s Red Tape Report, the total cost of complying with government rules and paperwork reached $37.1 billion per year in 2014. In the smallest businesses, the average employee can spend more than a month each year (185 hours) just dealing with regulations.

The onerous burden of excessive regulation is also deterring the next generation of entrepreneurs, as the report notes 42% of small business owners would not advise their children to start a business.

Receiving the Order of the Bear

Any individual that has made a notable contribution towards cutting red tape (including improving government customer service) may be eligible to be named to the Order of the Bear. Bears can be given to individuals that work for any level of government (municipal, provincial, regional, or federal). The contribution should go above and beyond for small business. A limited number of bears are awarded each year on an ad hoc basis by regional CFIB offices across Canada as they become aware of worthy recipients.


Order of the Bear recipients receive a Warm Buddy Bear. A list of recipients will be posted on our website. Recipients who choose to remain anonymous may do so. Depending on the preferences of the recipient, CFIB may do a public release and photo opportunity to award the bear.

CFIB's Golden Scissors Award

CFIB has an award for reducing red tape called the Golden Scissors Award. It is available for governments or government departments that take significant, groundbreaking action to reduce red tape for small business owners. The Golden Scissors is awarded once a year during CFIB’s annual Red Tape Awareness Week in January.