Entries in red tape reduction (5)


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: ontario.ca/page/red-tape-challenge  

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


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 (https://talks.ontario.ca/redtapechallenge).

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 (http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=966939).  

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 https://www.ontario.ca/page/red-tape-challenge


OCC call for Red Tape Challenge heard by province

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) recognizes that the Government of Ontario is taking an important step towards addressing the cumulative burden facing Ontario businesses by announcing the implementation of a Red Tape Challenge. 

This online consultation tool will allow businesses across Ontario to identify and help eliminate regulatory duplication, lessen compliance burdens, and make it easier for businesses and citizens to interact with government. This online consultation process will focus on six sectors including: auto parts manufacturing, food processing, financial services, mining, chemical manufacturing and forestry. 

"Last summer, the OCC called on the Province to adopt a crowd-sourced approach to regulatory change, where the public could submit comments and suggest changes to the regulations that impact them. It is encouraging to see the Province making burden reduction a priority," said Allan O'Dette, President and CEO of the OCC.  

This initiative is an example of the OCC's powerful advocacy work being directly reflected in the provincial government's policies.

"The Chamber Network has made the elimination of red tape and burden reduction a priority," said O'Dette. "This commitment is the beginning of a process that will address the red tape burden that Ontario's business community faces. This is an encouraging step towards alleviating unnecessary pressure on businesses, while helping to drive Ontario's economy forward."  


The making of a Christmas wish list for business

Recently the provincial government released a fiscal review, outlining the status of the province’s finances.  Contained in that document were a few early Christmas presents for the business community.  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) are encouraged to see the Chamber network’s powerful advocacy work directly reflected in the government’s economic plans and priorities for 2016. 

The fall fiscal review introduced for the first time detailed steps to address the cumulative burden facing Ontario businesses. 

  1. A removal of the Debt Retirement Charge on commercial, industrial, and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than expected;
  2. A promise to maintain the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act;
  3. The “Red Tape Challenge,” a strategy encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them;
  4. A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world; and,
  5. A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes.

These measures directly reflect the work of the Chamber Network, of which the Peterborough Chamber is a part, over the past year.  

However, there is still more work to do in a number of areas from energy to taxation to the environment.  With that in mind here are a few items from the business community Christmas wish list.

  1. The release of the economic analysis for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan to inform business and the public as to the true impact of the plan.
  2. An electricity system that is designed to power the economy.  Currently, electricity prices are the highest in North America making it one of the largest barriers to business expansion.
  3. More information on the proposed Cap and Trade system and implementation timeline.  Announcing new programs such as this without some basics as to the impacts on the economy creates apprehension in the business community.  
  4. A more focused and flexible approach to the apprenticeship program as this sector of the economy has a shortage of available workers.  
  5. A recognition that the impact of multiple major policy changes in a short period of time has a significant impact on the business community, many of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. 

In the past two years there have been about a half dozen major policy shifts from ORPP to Cap and Trade to WSIB to minimum wage to electricity to the College of Trades.  In isolation the impact may be manageable; however, the piling on effect of this shift has the potential to have a very negative impact.

“Businesses are pulled in many directions on a daily basis,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “If their ability to be innovative and competitive in our communities, provincially and globally is constantly hampered by additional legislation, then there is the potential to lose any momentum the Ontario economy is currently experiencing.”

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.


From the Ontario Government: Ontario Passes Act Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens for Business

The Chamber Network through local chambers of commerce such as Peterborough are constantly lobbying for red tape reduction. Recognition of the ongoing need to reduce the regulatory burden for businesses of all sizes is extremely important.  The Chamber is actively following the progress made by the government and encourages them to continue pressing forward to increase Ontario's competitive advantage. 

Government of Ontario Press Release:

December 11, 2014 2:31 P.M.

Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure

Today, the Better Business Climate Act, 2014, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.

The Act will strengthen the province's economy by cutting red tape for business and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens and practices that cost time and money.

Ontario has set a target of reducing burdens by $100 million by the end of 2017. Under the Act, the government is required to report annually on burden reduction activities to ensure efforts remain on track.

Along with burden reduction, the Act will also foster the development of globally competitive economic clusters which help attract investment and talent across Ontario by fostering regional capacity for productivity, innovation, exports, global competitiveness, business attraction and creating well-paying jobs.

In collaboration with businesses, academia, labour and non-profits, the government will identify cluster opportunities that take advantage of regionally competitive strengths. Plans will be reviewed at least every five years.

Streamlining business regulation and strengthening key clusters is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The burden reduction annual reports will build on Fewer Burdens, Greater Growth — a report issued in January 2014 that identified five projects representing a saving of over $6 million for Ontario businesses.
  • Since 2008, Ontario has eliminated 17 per cent of all regulatory requirements — or 80,000 regulatory burdens.
  • Clusters are concentrations of interconnected sectors, companies and institutions that do business with each other and/or are related in some way.
  • The strength and resilience of Ontario’s economy is due in large part to the diversity of its economic sectors and related clusters. Examples include information and communications technologies (ICT) clusters in Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, mining and forestry clusters in northern Ontario, and a financial services cluster in Toronto.

Additional Resources


“With the passing of this important legislation, our government takes another step forward in building a modern, streamlined regulatory environment that supports business growth while protecting the public interest. At the same time, cluster development plans will bring new focus to how government, industry and academia collaborate to build a globally competitive Ontario economy.”

Brad Duguid

Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure