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City vows to cut red tape

Regulations are costing Canadian businesses billions of dollars annually
Red tape costs Canadian businesses $30 billion annually.

Canadian businesses say they are bound with red tape, slowing their productivity and costing them a fortune.

And it's hitting small-to-medium businesses the hardest, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).

A business with more than 100 employees annually spends an average of $1,117 per employee to comply with regulations, while companies with up to four employees spend an average of $5,825 per employee annually.

In total, red tape is jamming the process of business and costing Canadian businesses $30 billion annually in compliance alone.

The CFIB estimates the burden could be reduced by 25 per cent without harming the legitimate objectives of regulation, such as health and safety.

“This is the equivalent of a $7.5 billion annual stimulus package. It’s time for Canadians to demand that governments take this issue seriously,” concluded Catherine Swift, CFIB President and CEO.

The City of Surrey is launching a more aggressive attempt to reduce red tape as part of Red Tape Awareness Week, Jan. 10 to 14.

Surrey has worked to reduce regulations for the past several years.

However, many of the bylaws still on the books are antiquated and beyond reasonable use, according to Mayor Dianne Watts.

“The City still has on the books by-law #14 from 1885 which mandates that city officials administering fence by-laws were to be paid $2.50 per day, and another by-law from 1974 prohibiting pool halls from operating in the city," Watts said. "These are just two examples of outdated by-laws that need to be removed from books.”

The city has established the Mayor’s Red Tape Reduction Advisory Committee, which will comb over municipal regulations and recommend removing ones that are unnecessary.

Meanwhile, the province said B.C. leads the country in reducing onerous regulations. Finance Minister Colin Hansen said the province has reduced more than 42 per cent of red tape since 2001.

The province continues to work with the Small Business Roundtable Board to identify new issues and opportunities for improvement.