4th Government Red Tape Reduction Report Indicates Spiralling Compliance Costs to Business Says Surrey Board of Trade

The Surrey Board of Trade advocates for red tape reduction. Red tape costs business money. Red Tape is excessive bureaucracy, routines, rules and complexity at all levels of government which causes 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 64% of respondents indicated that the overall costs of compliance with regulations and needed paperwork by government have increased over the past two years at all levels of government.

“An increasing number of our respondents are finding regulatory compliance compromising innovation and growth,” said Anita Huberman. “COVID-19 requirements have increased costs and time spent on compliance for all industry sectors. We need to ensure that government improves efficiency in order to limit the pressure on the business community. Perhaps we need to bring back a Red Tape Reduction Minister concept at all levels of government”

Summary of Survey Responses:

1.     Impact of compliance: 82% reported moderate to major impact for business to comply.

2.     Financial costs of compliance: 64.9% of respondents determined that overall costs have increased in the last 2 years.

3.     Time taken to fill out forms: 70.3% of respondents found the time taken to comply has increased in the last 2 years, up 8% from last year.

4.     Filing taxes: 14.9% now outsourcing income tax return filing.

5.     Agencies with the most red tape: 85.7% identified Canada Revenue Agency to have moderate to high levels of red tape. 68.3% rated the WorkSafeBC with moderate to high levels of red tape.

6.     Impediment to innovation: 44.6% of respondents reported that compliance is somewhat to definitely an impediment to growth and innovation, down from 71% in 2019.

7.     Measures that would reduce red tape: 92.1% of respondents thought better communication and consultation with businesses when developing new regulations is key to reducing the cost of compliance.

8.     Communication effectiveness at provincial and federal levels of government have significantly improved. This is contrasted by the slight improvement in the local government’s communication effectiveness.

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; and,

3.     Better communication and consultation with businesses when developing new regulations.


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 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


Anita Huberman

CEO, Surrey Board of Trade

PH: 604-634-0342