Municipal councils across Canada challenged to follow suit on cutting red tape
TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - The Mayor and City Council for Langford, British Columbia, population 29,000, are the winners of the 2014 Golden Scissors Award for their simple but transformative initiative of making business licenses permanent. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) officially presented the award to Mayor Stew Young today to mark the fourth day of Red Tape Awareness WeekTM.
The City of Langford's positive action in this case will ensure that all business licenses issued in the municipality will now remain in effect until there is a major change to the business, such as relocation. Requiring annual renewal of business licences is a guaranteed source of revenue for local governments, but adds needless costs and paperwork for small business owners.
"It's such a simple thing, but it makes so much sense - there's no reason why other cities across Canada can't do the very same thing tomorrow," said CFIB's executive vice president Laura Jones. "In fact, that's exactly what CFIB is calling on them to do."
This decision by the Langford mayor and city council to reduce the red tape burden on its small businesses won't cost municipal coffers as much as one might think. While the city loses around $70,000 a year in revenue, it will save about $40,000 per year on the costs to administer the program.
"On behalf of my colleagues on Langford city council, I am honoured to accept the Golden Scissors Award," said Mayor Young. "Our council felt that adopting a permanent business license was a practical decision that would benefit business owners and citizens alike. We hope other municipalities look to Langford as a model of what a small business-friendly community can be."
A panel of judges comprised of senior-level CFIB employees chose the winner - as well as three honourable mentions - from dozens of nominations received from across Canada. The winner will receive a trophy, framed certificate, and recognition on the CFIB website, Facebook page and member communications.
The three Honourable Mentions announced today include:
- In the category of Visionary Leadership, Jean Saint-Gelais, Secretary General of the Conseil executive, Government of Quebec. Mr. Saint-Gelais has played a key role over many years in keeping ministries and public agencies on track with implementing the 63 practical recommendations of the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan. Overall, the cost of red tape at the provincial level has been reduced by 8 per cent, or $140 million.
- In the category of Immediate Impact, Jean-Pierre Lamarche, Director General, Passport Program Management and Strategic Initiatives, and the ePassport team, Passport Canada. Mr. Lamarche was responsible for implementing a new ten-year passport (was five), along with other security and process changes that promise to save Canadian travellers time and headaches. The average wait to submit an application has gone from 98 minutes to just 24, and border crossings may also improve. Entrepreneurs and other Canadians who travel frequently will, no doubt, appreciate the time savings, both in the application process, and when travelling.
- In the category of Legislating Regulatory Restraint, the Hon. Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, Government of Canada. As President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement was instrumental in the creation of the federal Red Tape Reduction Commission and the completion of its work over the past two years, including implementation of a new "one-for-one" rule. The rule means that for every new regulation imposed on businesses, at least one regulation of equal or greater impact must be removed. In the last year, this has meant an $18 million reduction in the regulatory burden on businesses.
Last year's Golden Scissors winner was the Hon. Gail Shea, Canada's Minister of National Revenue, who was recognized for improving customer service at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by changing CRA's My Business Account into an online system for communicating with government, and ensuring that the CRA's tax advice to business owners is respected by agency staff, even when it is found to be incorrect. To read the full list of 2014 finalists, please visit www.cfib.ca.
CFIB is Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
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For more information, please contact Gisele Lumsden at 416-222-8022 or [email protected].