Ottawa slashes red-tape by 20 per cent in one year
March 20, 2009, Vancouver – The federal government met its
target to reduce paper burden by 20 per cent, a moved hailed as a big step
forward by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
"The federal government set the most aggressive
timeline in the country for reducing red-tape," said CFIB president
Catherine Swift. "This is a truly impressive accomplishment by the 13
departments and agencies that were involved in the process."
CFIB estimates that red-tape costs Canadian businesses
around $30 billion a year, with small firms paying the highest per-employee
costs. "This means business owners' waste time and money at the expense of
their companies, their employees and, more generally, the economy," said
Laura Jones, CFIB's vice-president of Western Canada and co-chair of the
Federal Advisory Committee on Paper Burden Reduction. "It's great to see
this changing," she added, "as keeping these costs manageable can
help create some economic certainty in uncertain times."
CFIB emphasizes the need to build on the announcement and
make reforms permanent. "Regulation is an ongoing headache for
business," said Swift. She pointed out the antidote is ongoing measurement
and control, not one-off reduction initiatives. Jones said measuring and
controlling paper burden over the long term is a key recommendation in the
Advisory Committee on Paper Burden's last report to government. She said that
during the election campaign it was good to see the government commit to this.
"We look forward to working with the federal government
to make it a reality."
Jones said it was nice to see the announcement being made in
Vancouver as the B.C. provincial government was the first in the country to
commit to measuring and reducing red-tape in 2001. Since then, many other
provinces including Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec and most
recently, Ontario have moved in this direction.
"The B.C. government deserves a lot of credit for their
initiative, which has been a model for the federal government and for others
across the country," said Jones.
Swift said the government has moved on several of CFIB's
specific recommendations to streamline red-tape, including announcing a
simplified automobile expense deduction that will allow business owners to keep
a logbook for a sample period of time instead of for a full year.
"This change alone, once implemented, promises to save
thousands of hours that can be put to more productive use," said Swift.
She also said Ottawa has allowed more businesses to move
from monthly to quarterly tax remittances, simplified the Scientific Research
and Development tax credit and is introducing a passport that can be renewed
every 10 years instead of the current five.
"Branding Canada as being serious about controlling
red-tape over the long term promises big economic rewards. This announcement is
an important step in that direction," concluded Swift.