Canada’s regulatory system is smothering business in Canada, thanks to a growing mix of complex, costly and overlapping rules from all levels of government. A new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and supported by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, calls on governments to modernize their regulatory frameworks and give businesses in Canada room to thrive.
“Inconsistent and unpredictable rules and processes are making it difficult for businesses—whether large or small—to keep up and comply. This leads to our businesses being less competitive and Canada becoming a less attractive place to invest, start or grow a business,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Regulations are designed to keep us safe and to create a level playing field. But when they start to smother businesses, that becomes a real problem.”
As the U.S., our largest competitor and trading partner, has recently implemented significant corporate tax and regulatory reforms, Canada cannot afford to fall further behind. Today’s report identifies opportunities to increase public and investor confidence in Canada’s regulatory systems and provides clear recommendations to government on how it should be done.
“The Oakville Chamber partnered with the Canadian Chamber to release this important report” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It supports the results from the latest Advocacy Survey we distributed to our members, in which over 70% stated that regulations are unreasonable and excessive. I look forward to meeting with our local elected government officials to discuss how we can work together with regulators and businesses to improve the competitiveness of our regulatory systems.”
Some of the recommendations to improve regulatory competitiveness include:
- Immediately convene a government-business regulatory competitiveness working group. The working group would develop recommendations for the federal government to measure and reduce cumulative regulatory burden. It would also develop recommendations for governments to ensure a consistent application of regulatory guidelines across jurisdictions and ensure the adoption of best practices by regulators.
- Give regulators economic growth and competitiveness mandates to ensure economic impacts receive appropriate consideration in decision-making while preserving necessary protections.
- Increase federal leadership in eliminating internal trade barriers to trade through clear goals, timelines and accountability as part of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
- Validate the quality and consistency of regulatory cost-benefit analyses from departments and agencies before regulatory proposals are submitted for Cabinet approval.
- Improve regulatory consultations through earlier engagement with stakeholders while ensuring processes are transparent and evidence-based. Project-based public consultations should be time-limited and focused on projects, not other policy issues.
- Make overly prescriptive regulatory frameworks more flexible to better accommodate rapidly changing business environments by moving to risk- or outcome-based regulations where appropriate.
- Increase regulatory alignment with Canada’s trading partners by integrating regulatory cooperation into free trade agreements and design new regulations with alignment by default where it is in Canada’s economic interest to do so.