Industry Canada

Industry Canada

January 21, 2013 10:30 ET

Harper Government to Cut Red Tape for Entrepreneurs

Reform will save Canadian business $1.2 million per year

QUÉBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Jan. 21, 2013) - The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), and Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification, today announced new red tape relief for Canadian companies as part of the Harper Government's commitment to support jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Minister of State Bernier unveiled proposed changes that will see 32,000 fewer corporations filing a return under the Corporations Returns Act, saving companies an estimated $1.2 million in administrative costs. The announcement is one of several red tape-cutting measures being announced by the Harper Government today that will generate $10 million in annual savings for Canadian companies.

"As part of our Red Tape Reduction Action Plan's One-for-One Rule, the Harper Government is reducing the burden of red tape on businesses so that they can do what they do best: create jobs and economic growth," said Minister of State Bernier at an event in Québec. "By raising the reporting thresholds in the Corporations Returns Act, we are cutting red tape and reducing costs to affected businesses."

With these changes, only corporations with revenues of more than $200 million, assets over $600 million, or foreign debt and equity over $1 million will have to report financial and ownership information under the Act. At the same time, 99 percent of total foreign-controlled assets and 98 percent of total foreign-controlled revenues will still be covered. The reform will come into force in the spring of this year.

"The Harper Government recognizes that cutting red tape is one of the most important things we can do to support business and help create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," said Mr. Saxton at an event in Vancouver. "Once again we are demonstrating why Canada is recognized as one of the best places in the world to do business."

The thresholds were last amended in 1981, when they were set at $15 million in operating revenues, $10 million in assets and $200,000 of foreign debt or equity. Under the old thresholds, many smaller corporations are required to file ownership returns while not having any foreign ownership or control.

The proposed change falls under the Action Plan's One-for-One Rule, which requires regulators to offset-from existing regulations-an equal amount of administrative burden cost on business for every new regulation introduced. Canada will be the first country to give the weight of legislation to such a rule.

In addition to the changes to Corporations Returns Act, two additional reforms were unveiled today as part of the Harper Government's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan:

- The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, announced proposed changes to the Food and Drug Regulations that will allow pharmacists to delegate the task of transferring prescriptions to pharmacy technicians. This reform will benefit more than 12,000 pharmacists across Canada and save $8.7 million in administrative costs. For more information on this announcement, read the news release on the Health Canada website (

- The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, announced changes to the business enquiries phone service at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Call agents will now have to provide an agent ID number when greeting clients. This agent ID number helps establish a friendly relationship as well as a sense of accountability; it allows business owners and representatives to provide feedback; and it ensures a user-friendly experience. For more information on this announcement, read the news release on the CRA's website (

Altogether, the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan includes 90 department-specific reforms, which target specific irritants to business, as well as six whole-of-government systemic changes. Reforms target three main areas: reducing administrative burden on business, making it easier to do business with regulators, and improving service and predictability. The vast majority of these reforms will be implemented in the next three years.

For more information on the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, please visit the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan website (

Contact Information

  • Scott French
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada