AGLC among this year’s CFIB Paperweight Award nominees

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by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) announced its paperweight awards for 2020 to kick off the organization’s 11th annual Red Tape Awareness Week.

Among the 14 nominees this year is Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), for sending Alberta beer on a road trip. CFIB says AGLC makes small brewers that outsource their brewing to a contract manufacturer ship all final liquor products to Edmonton area warehouses before it can be sold at their store-front locations. This situation occurs even if the contractor is next door.

“Although the Alberta government has taken leadership on reducing red tape for small businesses, regulatory nightmares still exist within government boards and agencies,” said CFIB’s Alberta Provincial Affairs Director Annie Dormuth. “This year, CFIB is giving special recognition to Alberta Gaming ALGC for making Alberta’s craft breweries send their products on a road trip before being sold. For a Calgary craft brewery, this means a 600km round-trip road-trip with a $250 per pallet price tag for every batch.”

Other nominees this year include The Government of Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s, Canada Revenue Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The Labour Market Impact Assessment was singled out for costly non-refundable fees, excessively long application forms and a six-to-nine month wait to receive a decision on Temporary Foreign Worker program applications.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was criticized fro what CFIB sees as a complicated, restrictive and time-consuming Climate Action Incentive Fund SME Project stream. CFIB says businesses need to spend five hours filling out an application and pay a minimum of $80,000 for a project to get a partial rebate of their carbon tax.

Canada Revenue Agency was singled out for its requirement for truckers who drive through provinces that charge the federal carbon tax, to fill out and return forms every quarter to show how much fuel was bought and used in each province.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency was pummeled for fining a meat producer $42,000 because his customers had purchased his product in BC and then sent it to Alberta. CFIB said a tribunal exonerated the producer after a four-year legal battle that cost $130,000.

Conservative Shadow Minister for Small Business and Export Promotion James Cumming criticized the government for adding to Canada’s red tape. Citing a 2019 Montreal Economic Institute study, Cumming said there were more than 136,000 regulations on the federal books, an increase of 4,300 since Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister.

“Canada needs a strong dynamic economy that provides work and opportunity for all Canadians,” Cumming said. “Unfortunately, over the past four years, Liberal policies have driven investment out of the country and made it harder for entrepreneurs to get ahead.”

Municpalities also criticized

On the municipal side, towns and cities across the country have been criticized for “out-of-date, redundant, and slow business and residential permitting processes.” CFIB cites Winnipeg’s recent permitting process that only allowed booking electrical inspections to phone calls between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

“The Paperweights highlight the best of the worst examples of red tape across the country, like the Newfoundland and Labrador rule requiring convenience stores to only accept as many empties as bottles they sell back to the customer, or the carbon tax stickers gas station owners in Ontario are forced to post on every pump that just won’t stick,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s vice-president for Atlantic Canada. “We can laugh at the absurdity, but these rules are a huge waste of time, money and energy for citizens and small business owners. Most of them also have a pretty clear fix, which we’re suggesting to the governments and agencies responsible.”

Business owners can vote for their top Paperweight pick throughout the week at cfib.ca/paperweight.

CFIB will announce the winners on their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts on Friday, January 24.

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