Legislation aimed at removing red tape for business coming

New legislation aimed at removing outdated regulations that hobble businesses — what Prime Minister Stephen Harper once called “a silent killer of jobs” — will be introduced today by the federal government.

OTTAWA — New legislation aimed at removing outdated regulations that hobble businesses — what Prime Minister Stephen Harper once called “a silent killer of jobs” — will be introduced today by the federal government.

The Conservatives introduced an internal rule in 2012 that requires the government to remove one regulation for every new one added.

The last throne speech promised to enshrine the principle in law to help small and medium-sized businesses.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says he’ll introduce the red-tape reduction bill on Wednesday.

Progress has already been made in cutting regulations, saving small businesses about $20 million in administrative costs —accounting for 98,000 hours — by scrapping 19 regulations, Clement told a news conference Tuesday.

Those include removing a requirement for individual export permits for some Canadian products from two government organizations, said International Trade Minister Ed Fast.

Canadian manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of imported steel and steel products no longer need to obtain individual permits, Fast said. Instead they use a general import permit, which eliminated the need for 270,000 permits a year.

“Rules and regulations usually start with the best of intentions,” Fast said. “They’re aimed at an emerging issue, but often become obsolete and counterproductive over time.”

The so-called “one-for-one rule” is also about changing the culture in Ottawa, Clement said.

“An issue comes up and people start lighting their hair on fire trying to figure out how to solve the issue,” he said.

“And the go-to solution typically — and too often — is, ’Let’s do a regulation.”’

In some cases, such as health and safety, it may be appropriate to bring in new regulations, he said.

But the Tories want to push people to come up with solutions that don’t involve more rules.

The one-for-one rules might sound good on paper, but it may not be doing the job it’s supposed to, said NDP consumer affairs critic Glenn Thibeault.

Looking at ways to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and save small companies time and money that they should devote to their business is a good idea, Thibeault said.

“But you can’t do it so much so that we’re starting to jeopardize the safety, the health and the environment that we live in, and we’ve seen that when we’re coming to things like rail safety, food inspections, those type of things.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau dismissed the rule as a “gimmick” that won’t make much of a difference in raising the quality of Canadian regulations.

“That smacks more of sound-bite politics than meaningful approaches,” he said.

Clement said the government is studying a system that would look at new regulations in terms of how much time and money they will cost business. For every new rule, the government would have a deadline to remove one or more regulations with equal or higher costs.

But new regulations dealing with health and safety wouldn’t be included in the one-for-one rule, he said.

Rules that are necessary to protect health, promote safety and protect the environment are important, said Laura Jones of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“But when the rules get so complicated that regulators themselves can’t understand them, that’s red tape,” she said.

It’s a drag on productivity, costs jobs, raises prices and threatens entrepreneurship, said Jones, who sits on the committee that advises the government on reducing regulations.

Canadian business owners spend over $30 billion a year on regulatory compliance, she said.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

In Hollywood of Mississippi, voter fraud like a movie script

CANTON, Miss. — In a town that calls itself the Hollywood of… Continue reading

Trump picks Army chief of staff as next top military adviser

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he’s picked a battle-hardened… Continue reading

Most Read