Bureaucratic red tape is a frustration that entrepreneurs across the country have lamented about for years. And each year the Canadian Federation of Independent Business rolls out its Golden Scissors Awards to honour the governments and public servants who have taken the initiative to cut red tape and improve regulations in their jurisdiction.
The awards will be announced Jan. 23 during Red Tape Awareness Week.
“It often goes unnoticed when governments and public servants roll up their sleeves and tackle red tape, but this hard work has such a big impact that we think it’s important to recognize it,” Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president, stated in a news release. “This year’s finalists demonstrate the progress that can be made when governments listen to small business owners and take the steps to address their concerns. We thank all the finalists for their tremendous leadership and the results they have accomplished and we look forward to announcing the winners next week.”
“Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction, Grant Hunter, (in Alberta) has taken swift action on reducing red tape in the province with Bill 4 – the Red Tape Reduction Act and the cut red tape website,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta Provincial Affairs Director of the CFIB. “Albertans agree there is room to reduce red tape headaches considering the government has received over 4,000 suggestions to the cut red tape website, and has implemented changes to address 130 of the public submissions.”
Here are the finalists:
- Alberta’s Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter, who directs the province’s list of red tape initiatives and invites its citizens and businesses to submit their red tape headaches to the Cut Red Tape website so they can be reviewed and addressed;
- The Canada Revenue Agency, for its Liaison Officer Service, which provides a free, in-person visit by a tax expert to small businesses who need help navigating their taxes;
- WorkplaceNL, for improving its customer service by moving its payment system online and expanding the digital services it offers to small business owners;
- Joanne Munro, Chief Executive Officer of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, for moving the business registration process online, saving small businesses not only precious time but a cumulative $10 million annually through reduced fees;
- Quebec’s Ministère de la Sécurité publique Geneviève Guilbault, for eliminating its redundant permits requirement for bowling alleys and amusement equipment in response to receiving a Paperweight “award” in 2019 for being one of the worst regulations in the country;
- Ontario Deputy Minister, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Giles Gherson and the Business Relief Unit, which investigates red tape issues submitted to its Cutting Red Tape web portal and works directly with lawmakers to address them;
- Ontario Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria, for eliminating the requirement for barbers and hairdressers to collect clients’ personal information before picking up their scissors;
- The Government of Manitoba and Premier Brian Pallister, for their major overhaul of government systems, increasing accountability and transparency for citizens and breaking down silos between government departments;
- Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison, for creating a “Help Cut Red Tape” Web Portal that lets business owners fast-track their red tape concerns; and
- British Columbia’s Ministry of Health, for creating a new online application system to enrol for provincial medical coverage that takes only 15 minutes to complete, streamlining citizens’ access to health care.
Mario Toneguzzi is a business reporter in Calgary.
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