Skip to main content

2020 Red Tape Report Card

CFIB’s Red Tape Report Card has been published every year during Red Tape Awareness Week since 2011. Grading governments on their progress tackling excessive regulation, it’s led to impressive results: from a slate of C’s and F’s in its first year, many governments have answered the call and committed to cutting their regulatory load.

Highlights from 2020: top marks for many provinces

For the first time in our Report Card’s history, most governments are receiving an A or B grade. More governments than ever before are willing to investigate regulatory overburden and commit to reducing it.

In our latest report, nine provinces scored a B- or higher, with six earning at least an A-, one more than last year. 

Leading the charge

No province improved more than Alberta, jumping from an F last year to a B- this year.

New Brunswick and the Federal government both scored B+’s. New Brunswick did not receive a grade last year as it had recently elected a new government. However, this is the best grade the province has ever earned—it historically scores in the low B or high C range. The Federal government has generally scored in the B range, earning five B+’s over the past 10 years.

British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia all earned at least an A-.

A newly elected government meant that Quebec did not earn a grade last year, however in the two years preceding the election it also earned an A.

The back of the pack

On the negative side of the ledger, Newfoundland received a D for the second consecutive year. It has never earned higher than a B—which it earned for three consecutive years from 2011 to 2013. Its grade has declined ever since.

A newly elected government prevented Prince Edward Island from receiving a grade this year. We will monitor its progress closely to see if it can do better than 2019’s D in 2021.

Read the full 2020 Red Tape Report Card and pressure your provincial government to follow the next steps we recommend!

How the Red Tape Report Card will evolve

Since 2011, we have evaluated the provincial and federal governments on three criteria:

  • Leaders’ willingness to cut red tape
  • Whether the province keeps a public registry of all regulations, ensuring that they grasp the size of the problem and can identify places to cut
  • Whether there is a limit on new regulations (such as a “one-for-one” rule, which requires every new regulation to be offset by scrapping an old one)

With nearly all provinces and the federal government now in the A and B range, we will introduce two new measures to the report card which we will start grading in 2021:

  • Overall regulatory burden imposed by each government
  • Openness to removing interprovincial red tape irritants

For these new measures, we partnered with the Mercatus Centre at George Mason University in Arlington, VA, which has developed an innovative method of measuring a government’s entire set of rules and regulations involving text analysis. We also analyzed each province’s exemptions to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the status of the regulatory reconciliation agreements to determine how many barriers to interprovincial trade are coming down.