CFIB welcomes Ontario's early steps to tackle the $11 billion "Red Tape"

TORONTO, May 17 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is applauding today's announcement by the Ontario Government to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses. While the introduction of the Open for Business Act is a step in the right direction, CFIB is calling on the province to go further by adopting measures to cement their commitment to regulatory reform.

"For too long, governments at all levels have been oblivious to the negative consequences of too much regulation on the job-creating small business sector," said CFIB's Ontario Director Satinder Chera. "Today's announcement is another sign that Ontario is getting the message."

Earlier this year, during the first ever Red Tape Awareness Week, CFIB released a comprehensive report revealing that Ontario businesses spend nearly $11 billion annually to comply with government regulations. Excessive paper-burden is particularly unfair to the smallest businesses that pay five times more on a per-employee basis compared to larger businesses.

"There is a higher level of accountability when it comes to government taxation and spending policies. Not so with regulation," said Chera. "Most governments still do not quantify the impact of regulation which, needless to say, has created a big accountability deficit."

In the 2008 Ontario Budget, the government seemed to acknowledge this deficit, but has so far shied away from adopting the kinds of measures that have made other jurisdictions, like British Columbia and Novia Scotia, true pioneers in this important area. For example, in Nova Scotia they reduced the amount of time that businesses spend on regulations by 91,000 hours; down from the initial reported count of 615,000 hours.

CFIB is therefore calling on the McGuinty Government to build on today's positive announcement by implementing CFIB's Ten Point Plan for Effective Regulatory Reform:

    -  Measure the regulatory burden.
    -  Institutionalize (legislate) the measure by reporting it regularly to
       the public.
    -  Impose constraints on regulators.
    -  Make regulatory accountability a political priority and appoint a
       Minister responsible.
    -  Ensure adequate communication of existing and proposed regulation.
    -  Focus on areas that will be most economically productive.
    -  Carefully consider the need for all new regulations and the impact on
       small business.
    -  Keep compliance flexible and provide basic examples and guidelines for
       what constitutes compliance and non-compliance.
    -  Improve government customer service.
    -  Institute reverse onus guidelines for timeliness and communication.

If the Open for Business initiative is to be successful, it cannot be a short term, piecemeal approach to regulatory reform. Instead, there must be a real cultural change in the way the government interacts with business. Anything short of this will fail," concluded Chera.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For further information: To arrange an interview with Satinder Chera, please call Meghan Carrington at (416) 222-8022 or by email at

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