Ontario Receives Excellent Grades on Reducing Red Tape

Published on January 27, 2021

“Red tape reduction and regulatory accountability continue to be top priorities for the Ontario government.” – Canadian Federation of Businesses (CFIB)

Over the last two years, our government has reduced the number of burdensome regulatory requirements on businesses by 10, 400, a 4.2% decrease since 2018.

According to the latest annual “Red Tape Report Card” from CFIB, this has resulted in $331 million in net savings across businesses, non-for-profits, municipalities, hospitals, etc., over the period of June 2018-20.  As a result, our government received an “A-“overall, its highest mark ever, for the third year in a row.

Especially during this pandemic, businesses require a reduction of wasteful red tape to maintain their competitive edge.  Being able to expand to other jurisdictions with ease, eliminate endless paperwork, or reduce the number of physical appointments, saves time. For a small business, every minute not spent on bureaucratic headaches is a minute that can be used to increase productivity or spur innovation.

Crucially, this marks the first year that Ontario received an “A” in the “Regulatory Accountability” section (70% of the final grade), which was at a “C+” as recently as the 2018 Report, which assessed the Liberal government’s final year.

“As a former small business owner myself, I know filling out unnecessary paperwork or dealing with endless bureaucracy can be exhausting,” said MPP Deepak Anand. “Ontarians need to be able to count on their provincial government to deliver meaningful results to ‘mom-and-pop’ shops in Mississauga-Malton, which are the backbone of our economy.”

“Now, we have independent corroboration that our government is truly following up on our campaign promise to cut red tape and find meaningful efficiencies. Promises made, promises kept.”

Two Measures to Note:

  • 2020 Budget Reduction Report, which for the first time included a breakdown by ministry of progress made in reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses
  • Tackling the Barriers Portal, launched last March, which is an online tool that allows Ontarians to submit recommendations as to how the government can be more flexible in allowing businesses to overcome burdens associated with COVID-19.

Other Key Measures:

  • Permitted restaurants to include alcohol as part of a takeout or delivery order
  • Capping high fees charged to restaurants by food delivery services
  • Extended outdoor patio space to allow businesses to comply with COVID restrictions
  • Permitted after hours construction for critical infrastructure
  • Introduced new penalties on price gouging on essential items
  • Allowing electronic witnessing of signatures for wills and power of attorneys
  • Enabled auto insurance companies to provide driver rebates during the pandemic
  • Permitted truck deliveries to grocery stores, pharmacies 24/7 to ensure shelves are always stocked

Further Information:

The report assesses provinces on three categories: regulatory accountability, regulatory burden, and interprovincial cooperation.

The report specifically praised a number of Ontario’s policies that allow for ease of business, aside from the ones mentioned above.

First, Ontario is only one of two provinces that stopped hefty registration fees for when businesses expand into another province. Second, Ontario is also required by legislation to update and publicize our regulatory count annually, which our government reduced by 10, 500 in two years a 4.2% decrease). This has allowed us to maintain the lowest regulatory restrictions per capita count across all provinces, and by a significant margin.  Finally, Ministers proposing new rules in Ontario must also provide an analysis of the potential regulatory impact, including admin costs.

“Our government will continue to cut red tape so that businesses in Mississauga-Malton can focus on innovation and being local generators of commerce,” concluded MPP Anand. “Maintaining this sharp focus on flexibility and common sense will ensure that our recovery from COVID-19 is not impeded by any bureaucracy from the government.”

For the full press release, click here. To submit comments on what we can do to reduce regulations during COVID-19, please visit the “Tackling the Barriers” portal here.

- Office of MPP Deepak Anand