The Surrey Board of Trade advocates for red tape reduction, defined as excessive bureaucracy or routines or rules, or complexity, which results in delay or unreasonable costs to businesses. Filing forms and applying for licenses are a part of doing business, however, the Surrey Board of Trade wants to ensure that it isn’t onerous on their members.
The Surrey Board of Trade’s annual red tape survey measures members’ perceptions of red tape impact by different levels of government and recommendations on opportunities to improve processes.
The response to the Surrey Board of Trade’s Red Tape Survey for 2018 increased by 52% from 2017. Over 87% of Surrey Board of Trade member respondents found regulatory requirements at all levels of government to have a moderate to major impact on their daily operations, an increase of 7 points over 2017.
“Given that an increasing number of our respondents are finding regulatory compliance is impeding innovation and growth, it is not unreasonable to consider that it may likewise create disincentives for the broader business community,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “Red tape reduction is a low-cost way to stimulate the economy and boost productivity.”
1. Impact of Compliance: 87% reported moderate to major impact on business to comply, up 7 points
2. Financial Costs of Compliance: 51% of respondents determined that overall costs have increased in the last 2 years
3. Time Taken to Fill out Forms: 56% of respondents found the time taken to comply has increased in the last 2 years
4. Filing Taxes: 78% found paying taxes to be a moderate to high cost of doing business, up from 56% in 2017
5. Agencies with the Most Red Tape: 90% identified Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to have moderate to high levels of red tape, up 5 points from 2017
6. Impediment to Innovation: 71% of respondents reported that compliance is somewhat to definitely an impediment to growth and innovation, a substantial jump from 51% in 2017.
7. Measures that would Reduce Red Tape: 86% wanted a reduction in the frequency of reporting to a minimum, a significant jump up from 74% in 2017
To this end, the Surrey Board of Trade recommends:
· That governments reduce, where possible, the number of times businesses must report the same information;
· That all levels of government improve their online service portals and call centre services, using clear language for instructions and ensuring relevant links are up to date and working. There is an opportunity to improve the coordination of compliance and enforcement activities; and,
· That governments streamline and/or share their information gathering technology to minimize duplication.
Overall, roughly half to two-thirds of those responding to the Surrey Board of Trade’s Red Tape Survey rated a number of agencies and regulatory requirements as having moderate to high levels of red tape. The CRA and PST were most problematic. There was an interesting movement of those identifying the Canadian Border Services agency as increasingly impactful.
All governments rated low for communication. However, there was a moderate shift indicating improvement for both the Federal and Local governments, with the city showing the greatest improvement. Provincially, there is a strong trend towards inadequate. While there is no clear connection, the introduction of new taxes for development speculation and the employer health tax may have had an impact. Regardless, there is much room for improvement for all levels of government.
The Surrey Board of Trade, supports and attracts business to Surrey, having 6,000 business contacts, 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