Entries in regulatory burden (4)


What we're hearing: Small Business Too Big to Ignore 

Policy advocacy on behalf of our members and business in our communities is a core priority of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. We want to know the policy issues that are important to you so that we can effectively represent your interests.

To that end, two roundtable events were held on Thursday, June 23, 2016 in Lakefield at the Marshland Centre and in the Station Boardroom at the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.   

Twenty-eight business owners and business advocates attended the two hour sessions discussing issues relevant to small business in our communities.  The roundtables were part of the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign launched in May 2016 in partnership with these two local chambers, other chambers and boards of trades across the province, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  

Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Success 

This introductory report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce lays out three obstacles that are common across the province:

1. Lack of Access to the Workers We Need

2. Key Infrastructure Gaps

3. The Rising Cost of Doing Business

The campaign is designed to highlight the importance and contributions of small business in Ontario.  The feedback from our local roundtables and others across the province will inform a final report on the factors critical to the success of small businesses. The final report will be released during Small Business Week in October 2016.

The participants of the roundtables were divided into small groups and talked about the challenges for small business.  Both groups identified the following as the top challenges:


  • education for employees and the workforce
  • compliance with legislation
  • procurement
  • workplace attitudes
  • succession planning
  • sustainability


In discussing solutions for the challenges the number one suggestion was:


  • removing red tape 


followed by:


  • understanding the government’s expectations around enforcement and inter-ministerial awareness 
  • improved education programs for apprentices and retraining for current employees 
  • grant programs for small and medium enterprises


Both groups felt the role of the Chamber was to be the voice of business and that there was strength in numbers.  There were suggestions for increasing collaboration between the Peterborough and Kawartha
Chambers and identifying how a mid-size city region such as Peterborough can bridge the policy gap between rural and urban issues.  

Read our roundtable report and add your voice to the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign by filling out a short survey, found on our website peterboroughchamber.ca/small-business-too-big-to-ignore.html


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.  


OCC: Regulatory Update December 2015

Easing the regulatory burden for Ontario businesses is one of the Chamber Network's top priorities. 

We are committed to continuing to advocate for a business climate that fosters investment and growth. 

The Regulatory Update December 2015 features five legislative updates on the following issues:  

  • Ministry of Energy launches energy-savings program for small business
  • Ministry of Transportation increases driver and vehicle license fees
  • Ontario Ministry of Labour expands the Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Ministry of Labour announces employer blitz results
  • Open Data Directive to take effect on April 1, 2016

Ministry of Energy launches energy-savings program for small business

This initiative is intended to support energy-saving practices among small businesses and to help them save money. It includes:
  • The promotion of local energy managers, who help small business owners reduce the burden of paperwork and find savings in their energy use;
  • Improved business conservation programs, including ensuring small business owners are aware of the government programs available to help them save;
  • The enhancement of these conservation programs to simplify applications, grow engagement and training, and increase rebates and other benefits;
  • Working to help small business owners finance energy conservation projects, through making on-bill financing widely available; and
  • Providing six more years of funding for conservation programs.

Ministry of Transportation increases driver and vehicle license fees

Fees for driver’s licences, renewals, replacements and commercial permits were increased as of September 1, 2015. These changes stem from recommendations of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, and are designed to help cover the costs of maintaining roads, bridges, and highways across the province. For a schedule of fee increases through 2018 click here.


Ontario Ministry of Labour expands the Employment Standards Act, 2000

The Employment Standards Act has been amended to allow workers hired through a temporary agency to recover unpaid wages from both the agency and the client business, if the agency has not paid the worker’s wages. This amendment has also been extended to foreign workers who are immigrants or who are in Ontario on a foreign temporary employee program.


Ministry of Labour announces employer blitz results

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Labour conducted blitzes of businesses that employ precarious employees and temporary foreign workers. The purpose of these blitzes was to enforce compliance with the Employment Standards Act and to educate employers on current employment regulations.

Over 75 percent of the workplaces inspected during the precarious employment blitzes were found to be non-compliant with the Employment Standards Act.
Learn More


Open Data Directive to take effect on April 1, 2016

The Open Data Directive will apply to all Ontario ministries and provincial agencies starting April 1, 2016. It requires these bodies to make data public, so that information can be used by Ontarians for research, application development, and other forms of innovation. The directive will ensure that the data does not contain confidential or personal information, data will also be made exempt for legal, confidentiality, security, privacy, or commercially sensitive reasons.


* Please note that this email includes hyperlinks to third party websites. Although the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade make reasonable efforts to obtain reliable content from third parties, the OCC and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade do not guarantee the accuracy of any third party content. The OCC and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade do not necessarily endorse the legislative or regulatory changes listed in this email.


OCC: Response to the Provincial Burden Reduction Report

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Burden Reduction Report released today by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. Our organization has been advocating for issues related to modernization and harmonization around burdensome red tape. The July 2, 2015 report demonstrates progress and a changing culture in government around the importance of these issues to Ontario’s business community.

The OCC’s goal is to reduce, in a responsible manner, the cumulative regulatory burden that adversely
impacts Ontario’s competitiveness.

With today’s report, there is still more work to be done. The government needs to start by publishing the rationale for any new regulations it introduces. It should also:

  1. Conduct a (public) cost-benefit analysis when considering new regulations.
  2. Streamline approval and compliance procedures between levels of government, specifically in the area of environmental assessments.
  3. Support outcomes-based and voluntary models of regulation.

Finally, the Government of Ontario should follow the U.K.’s lead and adopt a crowd-sourced approach to regulatory changes. The U.K.’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ encourages the public to submit comments and suggest changes to the regulations that impact them. Thanks to this program, the U.K. government is currently in the process of amending or scrapping 3,000 regulations, which will save business over £850 million every single year.

The OCC will continue to advocate that the Government of Ontario lower the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses. We applaud this government’s step in the right direction.

The OCC's position on the red tape burden is the result of policy recommendations from local chambers of commerce across the province.  See the individual resolutions on the Peterborough Chamber website at: