Innovative red tape recommendations for a more business friendly Canada

OTTAWA, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Federal Red Tape Reduction Commission released its final report today during the Canadian Federation of Independent Business' (CFIB's) third annual Red Tape Awareness Week™. The report includes a recommendation to task the Auditor General of Canada with reviewing and reporting on the Government's progress in reducing red tape.

"Adding red tape oversight to the mandate of the Auditor General is a really innovative idea. If the federal government moves on this it will show it is very, very serious about eliminating dumb and ineffective rules and improving government customer service," said Catherine Swift, CFIB president and member of the Federal Red Tape Reduction Commission.

The Commission's report includes a wide range of other recommendations to reduce and control red tape including: implementing "one-for-one" legislation that eliminates one existing regulation and its associated costs for every new regulation introduced; requiring government departments to improve customer service; reviewing government publications to make sure they are using plain language; reporting regulatory requirements; and making part of senior public servants' bonuses conditional on successfully implementing the "one-for-one" rule.

"These recommendations are common sense—they will save Canada's job creators time and money, while not costing taxpayers. It's the ultimate stimulus package," said Laura Jones, CFIB senior vice-president, Research and Economics. CFIB estimates that regulation costs Canadian businesses over $30 billion a year, with about 25 per cent of that cost ($7.5 billion) being unnecessary red tape.

The Commission was announced by Prime Minister Harper on January 14, 2011, during CFIB's second annual Red Tape Awareness Week™, where he called red tape "a silent killer of jobs."  The mandate of the Commission is to identify red tape irritants and recommend long-term solutions to control red tape.

What does 'Red Tape' mean to you? Check out CFIB's video on what it looks like to one small business owner: href="http://www.youtube.com/user/cfibdotca">http//www.youtube.com/user/cfibdotca

CFIB's Catherine Swift and Laura Jones will be available for commentary in Ottawa immediately following a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. To arrange an interview, contact Linnet Forand at 613 235-2373 or Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca

Red Tape Awareness Week™, conducted annually, is trade-marked by the CFIB.

As Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 108,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.

CFIB member feedback on Red Tape
consultations and recommendations

In over a dozen consultations by the Red Tape Reduction Commission across Canada, CFIB members provided hundreds of comments and examples that showed the burden red tape can pose for small businesses. These meetings clearly made an impact, as today's recommendations show.

Entrepreneurs celebrate any government action that leads to a noticeable improvement in their day-to-day operations, and these recommendations should prove to be significantly helpful. CFIB contacted some of the small businesses that attended last year's consultations, and asked them for comment. Here is a selection of what they said on the Commission's work, and how a reduction in red tape would help them:

"Reducing government paperwork will allow for a reallocation of resources for entrepreneurs, which are already in high demand, by reducing resources required to manage rules and regulations (personnel hours for the entrepreneur, administrative employees, consultants, etc.) and by increasing available resources to invest in the business's core activities (new product or market development, improving productivity, etc.)."

RSM Richter Chamberland, CFIB Accounting and Consulting Member, QC

"While rules and regulations are necessary, decision-makers need to review their necessity periodically, and consult with those affected by them.  When a rule or regulation generates adverse consequences, it requires reformulation, or those who apply it need to be given enough flexibility to avoid said consequences. Delays of imported, legitimate merchandise at the border badly need to be reduced.  Late delivery has adverse effects on businesses and their customers, particularly in isolated communities where travel time is already a major factor."

Designs by Nhung, CFIB Clothing Retail member, NS

"Until the government knows what our issues are, they won't be able to do anything about it. This was a great forum for the government to hear from us, and listen to our issues. When I attended the Commission meeting, I was awestruck at some of the problems red tape can be for many of my fellow small businesses."

Can-West Agencies Ltd., CFIB health services member, SK

""I appreciated the opportunity to attend the consultations. They helped to clarify my understanding of things. Ultimately, anything that government can do to reduce red tape for small business would be of benefit to everyone. I firmly believe that this would help all small businesses, not just agriculture."

CFIB Agriculture member, NB

""The consultations were a cross-section of the business community and allowed us to express our views on how much time is spent on government red tape. The commission was receptive to the comments. The less time spent on government regulation, the better, because it gives us more time to spend on our customers."

CFIB Wholesale member, AB

SOURCE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

For further information:

To arrange an interview, contact Linnet Forand at 613 235-2373 or Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca

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