2023 Government Red Tape Report Indicates Low Business Morale, Higher Costs Says Surrey Board of Trade

The Surrey Board of Trade advocates for red tape reduction for businesses. 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 for businesses.

“An increasing number of our respondents are finding regulatory compliance compromising their ability to start, grow and innovate their businesses,” said Anita Huberman, President and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “Perhaps we need to bring back a Red Tape Reduction Minister concept at all levels of government.”

To this end, the Surrey Board of Trade recommends:

1.     Governments improve and simplify their instructions on regulatory compliance;

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.     Agencies share information and make sure there are no duplicate information requirements.


Impact of Inflation, Interest Rates, Cost of Living

48.6% agreed or strongly agreed that inflation, interest rates, and cost of living increases impacted business operations.

Operating Costs

91.9% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that operating costs have increased.

Federal Red Tape

CRA, CEBA, wait times, and disclosure filings were the processes with the highest levels of red tape.

Provincial Red Tape

Speculation and Vacancy Tax, approval times for developments, and disclosure filings were noted as the processes with the highest level of red tape.

Municipal Red Tape

Building and tenant improvement permit timelines, site remediation approval, homelessness and garbage removal strategy, and a lack of senior planners contributed to municipal red tape.

Regulations Impeding Growth

67.5% of respondents indicated that regulations impede their ability to grow their business.

Employer Health Tax- Impact on Business

36.6% of respondents indicated that the Employer Health Tax was negatively impacting their business.

Increase the Employer Health Tax Exemption Threshold

63.6% of respondents agree that the exemption threshold should be increased to $1,500,000.

Paid Sick Leave Impact on Business

55.3% of respondents experienced an impact to their business as a result of the Paid Sick Leave legislation



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-30-

Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade
PH: 604-634-0342