On BC Red Tape Reduction Day, Surrey Board of Trade Calls for Red Tape Reductions

“The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) applauds Minister Oakes for undertaking the worthy and necessary initiative to reduce red tape in the BC Government,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “ We welcome the release of the Red Tape Engagement Report and encourage Minister Oakes to make Red Tape Reduction an ongoing review process to ensure BC retains our competitive edge for business attraction and retention.”

The Surrey Board of Trade surveyed their membership in support of the Red Tape Reduction initiative and received feedback ranging from issues around interprovincial vehicle licensing, business licensing, standardization of government authorization forms, and calls for a third party efficiency review of provincial and municipal processes, among others.

The Surrey Board of Trade, which supports and attracts business to Surrey, has an interest in reducing red tape because they want businesses, large and small, to:

  • Have a more predictable business environment
  • Strengthen international trade
  • Free up capital to invest in business, not in process
  • Allow small businesses to compete and grow
  • Give Surrey businesses a competitive edge in the global market
  • Create a more predictable environment for businesses
  • Businesses compete and create jobs

Red tape reduction is a low-cost way to stimulate the economy and boost productivity as Canada emerges from the global recession.

As well as promoting the “Reducing Red Tape for British Columbia” process and website, the Surrey Board of Trade calls for:

  • Streamlining regulatory approval processes
  • Reducing reporting requirements and information demands
  • Improving the coordination of compliance and enforcement activities

The term “red tape” is associated with the time and resources spent by business to demonstrate compliance with government regulatory requirements. It is also a major irritant for Surrey business owners (ie. 70% of Canadian business owners indicate that red tape adds significant stress to their lives and two thirds saying that it significantly reduces their productivity.)

Studies by Industry Canada show that the smaller the business, the greater the impact of red tape. Surrey is a city of small and medium sized businesses. Studies indicate that red tape costs:

  • Small business over 30 million hours a year to comply with some or all of 12 of the federal, provincial and municipal information obligations; and
  • Firms with less than five employees spend about seven times more per worker on administrative processes at the different government levels than businesses with 20 or more employees.

These numbers are especially important in a country like Canada, where 98% of firms have less than 100 employees.

“We understand that this is not a one-time process but that it is an ongoing process of collaboration and communication. If BC is to maintain its competitive edge, increase productivity and spur innovation, we must constantly strive to improve the conditions for doing business,” concluded Ms. Huberman.