Flushing Out the Nonsense: An analysis of municipal renovation permitting across Canada

The shortage of housing is a major challenge faced by Canadians – and small business owners and their employees are no exceptions. One low-cost way governments can help address the shortage of housing in Canada is by simplifying permitting processes and reducing red tape.

As part of CFIB’s 15th annual Red Tape Awareness Week™, CFIB analyzed permitting costs and requirements for a $20,000 project to convert a simple powder room to a full bathroom in 12 major cities across Canada, highlighting best practices and areas for improvement.

More than two in five small business owners find it difficult to obtain permits and licenses, with those in the construction sector most affected. A strong majority of businesses (80%) also agree that governments of all levels should make it a high priority to review the necessity of all business permits and licenses.

This micro scenario underscores the broader implications for housing discussions — if a straightforward renovation is complex, envision the challenges in increasing housing stock, such as constructing accessory dwelling units or developing new residential projects.


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