CFIB gives Manitoba an A, Sask an A-minus

January 23, 2018, 10:57 am


As the centrepiece of Red Tape Awareness Week (Jan. 22-26), the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today released the 2018 Red Tape Report Card, its annual rating of the federal, provincial and territorial governments on leadership and accountability in cutting red tape for small business.

This year’s report card reveals solid progress by several governments in the fight against excessive government regulation, needless paperwork, and redundant rules.

“A growing number of jurisdictions across the country are making red tape reduction a priority,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s Executive Vice-President. “For years, CFIB and others have been working hard to convince governments that reducing excessive regulation has real potential to grow the economy, allowing business owners to focus their resources on innovating, improving productivity and expanding their business.”

The report card grades governments using three criteria: strong leadership, comprehensive measurement, and whether or not the government has made a commitment to control the growth of regulation.

This year, three provinces received ‘A’ grades —the most since the introduction of the report card in 2005. In British Columbia, successive governments have reduced regulatory requirements by 48 per cent since 2001, while Quebec has reduced its paper burden by approximately 22 per cent since 2004 —saving businesses $303 million each year. Manitoba, the other jurisdiction to earn an ‘A,’ had the biggest improvement from the previous year—in 2017, that province had a ‘D+’. The big jump is due to the province’s introduction of new initiatives to measure, track, report and reduce red tape, including a two-for-one regulatory reduction law (one-for-one after 2021) and the creation of a Red Tape Reduction Task Force.

Saskatchewan’s grade improved to an ‘A-minus’ in 2018, up from a ‘B’ grade in 2017. “It’s evident the Government of Saskatchewan is serious about cutting red tape. We commend the province for making significant progress with the completion of its count of all legislated compliance requirements,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie and Agri-business.

“Saskatchewan is also one of the first provinces to implement the mandatory use of the Direct Cost Estimator (DCE) for all regulatory decision items for all ministries, agencies, and Crown Corporations – making it among the most comprehensive cost estimation tools in Canada. The use of the DCE has already resulted in nearly $90 million in red tape savings to both business owners and the government, far exceeding the government’s target of $5 million annually.”

“We believe the DCE would be more comprehensive if it included costs beyond those imposed on business,” added Braun-Pollon. “The regulatory review process should include all regulations, and not just those defined as business related. If this was implemented, it would likely result in an even stronger grade next year,” noted Braun-Pollon.

“Saskatchewan’s strong commitment to red tape reduction is evident as we once again exceeded our targets," Minister of the Economy Steven Bonk said. “The province’s improved rating by the CFIB for this important work is welcome recognition. We will continue to work on reducing regulatory burden to improve competitiveness, promote growth and innovation.”

At the bottom of this year’s ratings is Alberta, which, for the second year in a row, received an ‘F’ grade, for failing to support any comprehensive strategy for measuring, reporting or controlling the regulatory burden.

“This year, there has been a lot of progress as more governments become more accountable for their regulatory burden,” Jones said. “While taking responsibility for red tape can be challenging, experience shows that it can be done if there is the will.”

The full report card is available on the CFIB website.

Government red tape is a hidden tax that affects Canada’s small businesses much more than larger firms. According to CFIB’s latest research, the annual cost of all regulations on businesses in Canada is estimated at $36.2 billion per year, with one-third of that ($10 billion) considered to be red tape. In Saskatchewan, federal, provincial and municipal regulations cost businesses $1.1 billion, $330 million of which is considered red tape.

Now in its ninth year, Red Tape Awareness Week (January 22–26) highlights the cost and impact of excessive regulations. The annual campaign continues to influence governments across the country to launch red tape reduction initiatives.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region. Learn more at