We can't become battle weary over red tape

It’s one of, if not the most common gripe from the business community – red tape.  Business owners and chamber members run into it every day.  Red tape has the ability to turn what should be one of the more simple tasks into an administrative nightmare.  The impact is real in that we see productivity levels drop as time and money are spent wading through forms, phone calls and emails. 

In 2015, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce through the ‘Emerging Stronger’ policy document suggested the Government of Ontario undertake a Red Tape Challenge.   There was a similar exercise completed in Britain which resulted in 3,000 regulations being scrapped or amended.  The savings to businesses will be over 850 million pounds every single year. 

In 2016, the provincial government decided to take on a Red Tape Challenge.  The program will look at six industry areas over the span of two years.  At the end of March 2016, the comments were opened for the automotive manufacturing industry. Over the next three months, the government received over 180 comments and private messages on 36 different pieces of legislation. In the ‘Summary of Participation’ on the government’s Red Tape Challenge website the most comments were received on the following three pieces of legislation:


  • Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act
  • Employment Standards Act
  • Measuring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth recently announced that since 2011, burden reduction initiatives have saved businesses $122.3 million and 5.4 million hours.  The Ministry renewed its commitment to continuing its aggressive approach to cutting red tape to provide cost and time savings to business.   

The province’s 2016 Burden Reduction Report highlights three actions that have helped businesses over the past four years:


  • BizPal, an online tool that provides a customized list of all permits, licences and requirements needed to register a business in Ontario, saving entrepreneurs $27 million and 700,000 hours over four years.
  • Automating Clearance Certificates for construction contractors, saving contractors and their employers $13 million and 545,000 hours over five years.
  • Simplifying vendor reporting and registration under the Assistive Devices Program, saving businesses $2 million and 70,400 hours over one year.


“The acknowledgement by government of the negative impact of red tape on business is why it’s imperative for businesses to continually talk about these pieces of legislation that weigh down their processes and productivity,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is committed to bringing those concerns to elected officials.”

The next industry area the government will be seeking feedback on will be the food processing industry. The comment period starts August 2nd, 2016 with comments will be welcomed until September 30th, 2016.   We encourage all businesses in this sector to provide feedback to the government.  

The Red Tape Challenge website is:  

If you don’t see your industry sector listed, please let us know by contacting the Chamber at or 705.748.9771.  

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