Red Tape Grades a Mixed Bag

Alberta still does not have publicly reported measure of regulatory requirements

Toronto/Calgary – On day two of Red Tape Awareness WeekTM, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued its annual report card, grading the provinces, territories and federal government on their commitment to red tape accountability.  The report card looks at measurement, public reporting and political leadership.

Jurisdiction 2014 Grade 2015 Grade
British Columbia   A   A
Quebec   B+   B+
Ontario   B   B+
Federal Government   B+   B+
Saskatchewan   B   B
Newfoundland and Labrador   C+   C
Prince Edward Island   D+   D+
Yukon   D   D+
Alberta   D   D
Manitoba   D-   D
Nova Scotia   C-   D-
Northwest Territories   F   F
New Brunswick   B   NA*

*too soon to evaluate the new government’s performance on regulatory accountability

“Red tape is a huge hidden tax on all Canadians, that hits small businesses particularly hard,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.  “We’re asking all governments to take the first step and get on the scale.  Without knowing the size of the problem, it’s impossible to tackle it – like trying to lose weight without weighing yourself. It doesn’t work.”

British Columbia, the only jurisdiction with an A grade, has been measuring and reporting on red tape for a decade.  Yesterday, the BC government announced it was extending its one-for-one rule until 2019.  Nova Scotia, meanwhile, was once a top performer, with clear public measurements, but hasn’t gotten on the scale since 2010.  Alberta and Manitoba have never weighed in.

“Measure, report, repeat,” added Jones.  “It’s not that hard to get a good grade.  With all the lip service governments give to economic prosperity and job creation, it’s incredible that some still don’t make regulatory accountability a priority.”

CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs, Richard Truscott, gave additional context for Alberta’s D grade.  “We’ve seen some recent progress by the Alberta government.  The development and release of the new Small Business Strategy was an important move in the right direction.  Unfortunately, political responsibility for regulatory reform has bounced around too much over the past two years.”

“More importantly, the government still refuses to weigh itself.  How can entrepreneurs in Alberta know if progress is being made in curtailing red tape if the government won’t step on the scale and be accountable for how they measure up?” concluded Truscott.

View the complete report card at Follow #RTAW on Twitter

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