Finalists announced for new award recognizing individuals reducing red tape’s destructive impact
By Laura Jones
The Golden Scissors Award winner will be declared next week during Canada’s third annual Red Tape Awareness Week, created by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Red tape is not to be confused with necessary regulation. A certain amount of regulation is important for efficiency and safety.
Red tape is excessive regulation. Rules requiring airplane de-icing make sense, those preventing you from taking your travel-sized nail clippers on a plane do not.
Red tape can also arise from bad government customer ser-vice. Many small business owners describe “being treated like the enemy” when dealing with government departments such as Canada Revenue Agency.
Red tape hurts all of us. It’s a hid-den tax that raises prices, lowers living standards and creates unnecessary stress. That’s why it is important to acknowledge the efforts of government leaders who fight it.
CFIB’s first-ever Golden Scissors nominees include 11 ideas from across Canada.
– Federal politicians Maxime Bernier and Diane Ablonczy made the list of Golden Scissors nominees for BizPal, an online tool jointly man-aged by federal, provincial, and local government. By providing a single list of all permits and licences needed to open a business, BizPal saves significant search time for new businesses. What used to take roughly seven hours of search time now takes about 30 minutes.
– Former Minister of National Revenue Jean-Pierre Blackburn has been nominated for requiring CRA call-centre agents to identify them-selves with an ID number, greatly improving their accountability.
B.C. is punching above its weight with three strong contenders for the first Golden Scissors Award.
– The mayors of Saanich and Langford were nominated for leading the introduction of a mobile business licence in the Victoria area in 2000. The licence serves as a “regional pass,” letting business owners who work in multiple municipalities get just one licence instead of having to apply at every city hall. One painting contractor said the mobile licence “saved him the better part of a week” — which is how long it took him to apply for the nine licences he needed.
– Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has been nominated for being the architect of reforms in B.C. that led to a 40 per cent overall reduction in regulatory requirements. He recently passed first-of-its-kind legislation requiring government to report measures of the regulatory burden each year.
– Rick Thorpe, former minister of provincial revenue, has been nominated for a groundbreaking Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code, which gives taxpayers the right to get information in writing and have it respected, even if it is wrong.
Each of these red tape warriors deserves to be celebrated, as the hours they have given back to business owners can be put to far better use serving customers, developing business plans, enjoying family and complying with regulations that do matter.
Laura Jones is the Sr. Vice-President Research, Economics & Western Canada with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.