Canadian Manufacturing

Commission to cut red tape for SMEs

Feds begin series of consultations with businesses this month



OTTAWA—Small and medium-sized companies will soon get the chance to tell the federal government how red tape is affecting their businesses.

The Canadian government has launched a Red Tape Reduction Commission to ease the burden of federal regulatory requirements on firms.

Chaired by Minister of State Rob Moore, the commission’s role will be to find solutions that support small and medium-sized businesses. It also plans to look at the cost associated with federal regulatory requirements that businesses face, and provide advice on permanent solutions for reducing the overall compliance burden.

“Canadian businesses spend billions of dollars each year adhering to regulations,” acknowledged Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The government will start by consulting with companies to identify red tape obstacles that impact growth, competitiveness and innovation.

“We need to look at where and how we can reduce these costs and this red-tape burden, especially on small businesses,” Prime Minister Harper said.

Consultations will be held with Canadian businesses during a series of round tables later this month.

An online consultation process will also take place before the commission issues recommendations to the government in the fall of 2011.

Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, applauded the government’s move, calling it “music to the ears of any Canadian that has ever dealt with excessive and often senseless government rules, regulations and paperwork.”

According to a CFIB survey, 70 per cent of business owners say regulations add significant stress to their lives and a quarter say they may actually not have gone into business if they had known the burden of complying with regulation.

The CFIB, which had launched a Red Tape Awareness Campaign earlier this week, will participate in the roundtables.

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