Industry Canada

Industry Canada

March 20, 2009 12:12 ET

Minister of State Announces 20-Percent Cut in Red Tape for Small Businesses

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), announced today that the federal government has reached its goal of reducing by 20 percent the burden of paperwork required of Canadian small businesses.

"The less time entrepreneurs spend on red tape, the more they can spend on growing their business and the local economy," said Minister of State Ablonczy. "We've taken this action to make it easier for business to comply with government rules and regulations, while at the same time ensuring Canada continues to have strong, effective regulation to protect individuals, the environment and the economy."

For small businesses, the cuts bring tangible benefits. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency has reduced the frequency of required tax filings and remittances, and the smallest businesses are now excluded from having to fill out Statistics Canada business surveys.

Thirteen federal departments and agencies worked together to achieve the 20-percent reduction by streamlining regulations, eliminating duplicate requirements, getting rid of overlapping obligations, and reducing how often documents need to be filed.

"We are very pleased to have contributed to this initiative," said Laura Jones, Vice President of Western Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). "It's a successful partnership with government and offers concrete support to businesses."

Along with cutting red tape, the government has introduced creative means of streamlining how businesses interact with government. BizPaL, for example, is a one-stop online service that provides easy access to information about permits and licences that entrepreneurs need to start up and grow their business. The Canada Revenue Agency's My Business Account offers businesses secure online access to their accounts. And the Single Window Interface of the Canada Border Services Agency will streamline the administrative burden when businesses import, export and transport goods.

Cutting back on red tape and developing better processes and tools that make it easier for businesses to deal with government save businesses time and money. These are just some of the ways the Government of Canada is supporting small businesses.

The government's Economic Action Plan supports Canadian small businesses through tax relief, ensuring access to credit and funding a number of programs and services in place to develop businesses and help them stay competitive.

The Advisory Committee on Paperwork Burden Reduction is co-chaired by the CFIB and Industry Canada. The government will continue to work with the private sector, including the CFIB, to implement meaningful change for small businesses in Canada.


Paperwork Burden: 20-Percent Reduction Target

Paperwork burden is the time and money spent by business owners, managers, staff, external contractors and experts to understand and comply with information obligations or administrative requirements that stem from government regulations.

Through Advantage Canada, the government's long-term economic plan, a commitment was made to reduce the paperwork burden by 20 percent. This commitment was in response to a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Paperwork Burden Reduction (ACPBR), which is co-chaired by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Industry Canada. In making this recommendation, the ACPBR's objective was to streamline, simplify and ease the overall cost of compliance for businesses. Reducing the administrative and paperwork burden on Canadian businesses can improve Canada's competitiveness, especially for our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.


Budget 2007 indicated that, based on British Columbia's paperwork burden reduction strategy, key federal regulatory departments and agencies would be required by September 2007 to establish an inventory of administrative requirements and information obligations with which businesses must comply.

This inventory was completed on schedule and comprises a comprehensive count of all requirements and obligations that existed as of November 1, 2006, in the consolidated statutes, regulations, related policies and forms for which the regulating departments and agencies are responsible and with which all businesses (large or small) must comply.

The total count does not equate to the number of federal requirements with which any particular business must comply. Some requirements apply to a large number of Canadian businesses, while others apply to a very limited group of firms or a defined set of circumstances.


Once the baseline was established, departments and agencies proceeded to eliminate administrative requirements and information obligations in order to achieve the 20-percent reduction. Departments and agencies also introduced complementary measures that did not reduce the number of requirements or obligations but that eased the overall compliance burden on small businesses. These measures included simplifying existing administrative processes, creating single-window access to multiple government services, harmonizing definitions and requirements across departments or orders of government, and creating tools to provide relevant and timely information to entrepreneurs.

For example, Budget 2008 lightened the load on small businesses by simplifying compliance for those that claim the automobile expense deduction.

Another example is BizPaL, an online service that provides entrepreneurs with simplified access to the information on permits and licences they need to establish and run their businesses. This unique partnership among federal, provincial, territorial, regional and local governments is designed to cut through the paperwork burden and red tape that small businesses encounter.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Diane Ablonczy
    Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
    Catherine Godbout
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations