King of the CASL: CRTC Chairman shares Paperweight crown

Splits dubious honour with Ontario Labour Minister, Quebec mayor

Toronto/Calgary – To kick-off Red Tape Awareness WeekTM, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) announced the winners for its annual Paperweight Award, citing the most egregious examples of government red tape on small businesses.

Federal: King of the CASL

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais was recognized for the new anti-spam law (CASL) that does little to stop real spam, while imposing huge requirements on small business to record and track consents for just about every email they send.  The CRTC was most directly responsible for how CASL was constructed and how it will be enforced going forward.  One CFIB member was quoted $30,000 to $50,000 to be in full compliance.

“They call it spam, but CASL actually targets everyday interactions with customers and potential customers,” said CFIB executive vice president Laura Jones.  “Unlike big companies that can spend at will for paid advertising, small businesses rely on email to keep in touch with their customers.  That’s not spam.  It’s called doing business.”

Provincial: Size Matters? 

The provincial winner is Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, for the ridiculous requirement that businesses print the province’s employment standards poster on legal size paper, which most of them can’t easily do in-house.  What’s worse, when minimum wage in Ontario went up recently, the poster wasn’t updated for a month thereafter, meaning every business in Ontario was non-compliant. Minister Flynn did not create this silly rule, but he can, and should, undo it.

Municipal: Plastic not Fantastic

At the local level, there were a number of deserving nominees, but Luc Ferrandez, Mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal, Quebec, stole the show with a rule requiring restaurants with patios to meet the Borough’s “esthetic” criteria.  This arbitrary rule requires businesses with PVC (plastic) chairs to replace them all en masse, imposing huge costs for businesses operating on tight margins.

Read the full list of the other “dishonourable mentions” for the 2015 Paperweight Award.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

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