The Surrey Board of Trade continues to advocate for red tape reduction. Red tape is excessive bureaucracy, routines, complex rules leading to delays and unreasonable costs for business and the economy. The survey was implemented from mid- to end of November 2017.”

“With our first annual red tape survey, the Surrey Board of Trade has a baseline of our members’ perceptions so that we can measure how different levels of governments are improving their processes,” said CEO Anita Huberman. “Filing forms and applying for licenses are a part of doing business, however, we want to ensure that it isn’t onerous for business.”

Surrey Board of Trade members experience significant red tape issues across all governments. The overall findings include:

·       Over half of the respondents were employers, with the majority having 1 to 5 employees

·       Nearly 40% found complying with government regulatory requirements to have a major impact on their business, followed by 42% who found it moderately impactful

·       About 45% took 1 to 5 hours a week to comply with regulations, with over 33% taking more than 6 hours

·       By far, the costly stage of compliance is Understanding the Obligations and Preparing the Information – both chosen by nearly 60% of respondents out of a list of options.

·       Reporting the same information to different government agencies is a level of frustration for nearly 60%

·       Over 50% report that the overall cost of compliance with government regulations in the last 2 years has increased, while 60% report that the time to comply has also increased

·       About 36% take between 1 to 15 hours to complete their last tax return with over 25% outsourcing this chore

·       Dealing with licences, employing workers, applying for special purpose grants all had high ratings for the cost of compliance (30-40%), with getting credit and paying taxes hard around the 40% mark out of a list of options

·       The time taken for dealing with licenses (40%), getting credit (45%) and enforcing contracts (38%) also had high ratings

·       The federal government does not communicate as well as the province or the City of Surrey:

o   About 45% spent time searching and finding information, but another 37% spent a lot of time searching just to keep up to date

o   Provincially, about 48% search and found but less than 30% had to keep looking to stay up to date

Both federal and provincial rated less than 5% for “Good communication” and nearly 10% determined that communications were inadequate

·       The City of Surrey faired better as about 10% thought communications were good and over 50% were able to search and find information. Just over 20% had to spend a lot of time searching just to keep up.

·       Not unsurprisingly, CRA led the list of federal and provincial regulatory authorities as having the highest level of red tape by over 50% of our respondents

·       At the municipal level, Engineering Services, surprisingly, was reported by over the 50% of our respondents as having the highest level of red tape, followed very closely by building & construction permits – from submission to completion.

“As nearly 80% of our respondents said, there are opportunities to streamline reporting and make it less of a burden on business,” said Huberman. “We plan to implement the Red Tape survey annually to measure improvements over the years.”

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For more information, contact Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade


Anne Peterson, Policy & Research Manager, Surrey Board of Trade