Businesses asked to help cut provincial red tape

The province’s new Red Tape Challenge has been online for just over three weeks now.  The first of six sectors the government will be accepting input for is automotive parts manufacturing.  This program is a direct result of lobbying by the Ontario Chamber Network.  In 2015, the first recommendation in the Emerging Stronger document was to create a Red Tape Challenge similar to the United Kingdom. That program resulted in the UK government amending or scrapping 3,000 regulations, which will save
business over a £850 million every single year (Emerging Stronger, 2015).

The journey through the process of providing feedback starts with an overview of the sector from the province, along with an outline of the desired outcome.

The automotive industry has long been a cornerstone of Ontario’s economy. It includes 12 assembly plants, over 700 parts suppliers and over 500 tool, die and mould makers. The sector also employs over 103,000 people. By reducing regulatory burden through the Red Tape Challenge, we will cultivate a more innovative and dynamic business environment. This will help attract global automakers to produce the next generation of transportation here in Ontario (

The website also lists six areas of regulation: health and safety, employment and labour, corporate and
commercial law, environmental, land use and planning, and taxation and financial reporting. So far, almost 50 comments have come in on the 97 regulations being examined in the automotive parts manufacturing sector. 

The Government of Ontario also outlines its commitment to the process and why they have launched this program: Ontario is committed to developing modern, outcome-focused and evidence-based regulations, helping to foster an innovative and supportive business environment while protecting environmental and health standards and enhancing worker safety.  This includes identifying and fixing unclear, outdated, redundant, or unnecessarily costly regulatory requirements.  The Red Tape Challenge encourages a free and open conversation surrounding the regulations that apply to businesses in the province.  

Red tape, over regulation, whatever you would like to call it is one of the most common sources of frustration the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce hears from its 900 members.  “Removing unnecessary regulation can make a world of difference for a business,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of
Commerce. “We also know it’s important for the government to understand that it may not be the regulation that is solely responsible for creating the red tape, but how a regulation is enforced.”   

Harrison brought the comment forward recently during an Ontario Chamber Network Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park.  Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid acknowledged the validity of the statement with an example from his own riding where a trucking company was facing a fine because of a different interpretation of a regulation by an inspector. 

At the federal level, the Red Tape Reduction Act received Royal Assent in April 2015 enshrining the one-for-one rule in law.  The rule requires federal government regulators to offset the cost increases of administrative burden on business, and for every new regulation added that imposes an administrative burden, one must be removed.  The one-for-one rule started in 2012 and up to 2015 had resulted in a net annual administrative burden reduction of over $22 million, a saving of 290,000 hours in time spent with regulatory red tape and a net reduction of 19 regulations taken off the books (  

For the Ontario Red Tape Challenge, the comment period for the automotive parts manufacturing sector runs until May 31st, 2016.  A preliminary report will be issued on June 8, 2016 with a final report released on November 30, 2016.  

Over the next two years, the province will be looking for feedback on recommendations in five other areas: food processing, financial services, mining, chemical manufacturing, and forestry.  

More information can be found at

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