Surrey Board of Trade 4th Government Red Tape Reduction Report Indicates Continued Compliance Cost to Business

The Surrey Board of Trade advocates for red tape reduction, which is excessive bureaucracy, routines, rules and complexity at all levels of government causing delays 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 our business community,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

Over 67% of respondents indicated that the overall costs of compliance with regulations have increased over the past two years at all levels of government.

“An increasing number of our respondents are finding regulatory compliance to compromise innovation and growth,” said Anita Huberman. “Red tape reduction is a low-cost way to stimulate the economy and boost productivity.”

Summary of Survey Responses:

1.     Impact of compliance: 71.79% reported moderate to major impact for business to comply.

2.     Financial costs of compliance: 67% of respondents determined that overall costs have increased in the last 2 years.

3.     Time taken to fill out forms: 64% of respondents found the time taken to comply has increased in the last 2 years, up 8% from last year.

4.     Filing taxes: 28% found paying taxes to be a moderate to high cost of doing business with over 25% now outsourcing income tax return filing.

5.     Agencies with the most red tape: 44.7% identified Canada Revenue Agency to have moderate to high levels of red tape. Over 30% rated the PST with moderate to high levels of red tape with 29.42% finding that WorkSafeBC has moderate to high levels of red tape.

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 2018.

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 2018.

8.     All levels of government rated low for communication. However, there was a moderate shift indicating improvement for both the Federal and Provincial governments, with the Federal government 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.

To this end, the Surrey Board of Trade recommends:

1.     That governments reduce, where possible, the number of times businesses must report the same information;

2.     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,

3.     That governments streamline and/or share their information gathering technology to minimize duplication.


The Surrey Board of Trade is a not-for-profit city-building business organization, that supports and attracts business. The organization has 6,000 member contacts representing close to 3,000 member businesses and 60,000 employees. The Surrey Board of Trade focuses on red tape reduction to:

1.     Have a more predictable business environment

2.     Strengthen international trade

3.     Free up capital to invest in business, not in process

4.     Allow small businesses to compete and grow