By Naomi Yamamoto
Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business
VICTORIA - Small businesses are the heart and soul of our province and unnecessary red tape costs them time and money. We want entrepreneurs to be able to focus on what matters - creating jobs and spurring innovation. Cutting unnecessary red tape is a priority for our government and that's why we're highlighting it during Red Tape Awareness Week.
And our focus shows. This year we received an ‘A’ from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) - the highest mark in all of Canada - for cutting red tape. This is the fourth year in a row we have received an ‘A’ grade.
Like any student with good grades though, we know we have to keep up the hard work. That’s why we’re extending our commitment to a net-zero increase of regulatory requirements to 2019. A net-zero increase means eliminating one existing requirement when a new requirement is needed up to 2019. We call it the “one in, one out” rule.
Innovative approaches to reducing red tape have led to programs like the Mobile Business Licence Program, which allows mobile businesses like contractors and caterers to operate across participating municipalities and regional districts. This streamlining process enabled an Okanagan company that sells safety equipment in the Okanagan to reduce the number of required business licences from 17 to six - saving them more than $1,500 and significantly reducing their paperwork burden.
Cutting red tape has been a long-term goal of the B.C. government, and it shows. We’ve managed to reduce the number of regulatory requirements by more than 42% since 2001. In addition, B.C. was the first jurisdiction to legislate annual reporting of red tape in 2011.
But we're not going to sit back and let red tape pile up. Over the past year, B.C. has worked with the small-business community on five priority projects to reduce red tape:
- WorkSafeBC is making it easier for businesses to register for workplace insurance.
- A new online guide for starting a restaurant in B.C has been developed, and was launched during Red Tape Awareness Week.
- A two-page RFP form for government procurement contracts under $250,000 is making it easier for small business to do business with government.
- We have consolidated provincial websites, making it easier for British Columbians to find information on government services.
- Finally, we have investigated options to renew B.C.’s approach to regulatory reform, resulting in the extension of the net-zero increase as mentioned earlier, including red-tape reduction in the evaluation criteria for major IT investments, and identifying options for further business-sector streamlining initiatives.
We want every single regulatory requirement in British Columbia to be necessary, meaningful and serve a purpose.
Over the next year, we will continue to help businesses grow and succeed. We're sharpening our scissors so we remain a national leader in red tape reduction. Our end goal is simple: To be the most small-business-friendly jurisdiction in the country.