Alberta lagging behind in CFIB Red Tape Report Card

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by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released their 2018 Red Tape Report Card Tuesday, on day two of Red Tape Awareness Week. The report is an annual rating of the federal, provincial and territorial governments on leadership and accountability in cutting red tape for small business.

Alberta is at the bottom of CFIB’s report card this year, receiving an F grade for the second consecutive year for failing to support any comprehensive strategy for measuring, reporting or controlling the regulatory burden.

“Alberta is the only provincial government in Canada that refuses to be publicly accountable for the regulatory burden,” said Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director for CFIB. “Last year, a private members’ bill to put constraints on regulators was voted down. While taking responsibility for red tape can be challenging, experience shows that it can be done if there is the will.”

But it’s not all red tape across the country. CFIB says this year’s report card shows solid progress by several governments in fighting excessive government regulation, needless paperwork, and redundant rules.

“A growing number of jurisdictions across the country are making red tape reduction a priority,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s Executive Vice-President. “For years, CFIB and others have been working hard to convince governments that reducing excessive regulation has real potential to grow the economy, allowing business owners to focus their resources on innovating, improving productivity and expanding their business.”

The report card grades governments using three criteria: strong leadership, comprehensive measurement, and whether or not the government has made a commitment to control the growth of regulation.

Three provinces received A grades this year: British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba.

CFIB says successive BC governments have reduced regulatory requirements by 48 per cent since 2001, and Quebec has reduced its paper burden by approximately 22 per cent since 2004, something the business organization says has saved businesses $303 million annually.

Manitoba had the biggest improvement from the previous year—in 2017, that province had a ‘D+’. CFIB notes the jump is due to the province’s introduction of new initiatives to measure, track, report and reduce red tape. This includes a two-for-one regulatory reduction law (one-for-one after 2021) and the creation of a Red Tape Reduction Task Force.

“What we are seeing in Manitoba is truly remarkable,” Jones said. “This is a province moving from the back of the pack to head of the class in just one year. Manitoba’s success starts with political leadership. Without that, any red tape reduction stalls before it starts. It’s also got a great way to measure and a good law to manage it going forward.”

The full report card is available on the CFIB website at cfib.ca.

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