In March 2011, a number of Flamborough business owners participated in a red tape reduction roundtable I held at the Dutch Mill. It was one of hundreds of consultations across the country conducted by the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which gathered practical suggestions to reduce the burden on small and medium-sized businesses so they can focus on what they do best: seize economic opportunities, create jobs and economic growth.
Since then, a three-year Red Tape Reduction Action Plan was announced with 90 department-specific reforms that target irritants to business and make systemic changes to reduce the federal administrative burden, making it easier to work with regulators and improve the service they receive from federal departments.
Last week, more reforms under the plan were announced, including a straight-forward regulatory change that will save pharmacies millions in administrative costs and a reduction in the corporate reporting burden for businesses with revenues between $10 and $200 million – affecting some 32,000 businesses. The two reforms announced last week will generate $10 million in savings for Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses.
In addition to cutting paperwork, one of the other things we can do to help businesses is to improve the user-friendliness and customer service of their interaction with key federal agencies. That’s why I’m pleased that among the red tape reductions announced last week, changes to the Canada Revenue Agency business enquiries phone service were proposed to accomplish exactly that.
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I’d also like to report that the federal government continues to take action on the issues raised by First Nations leaders in their recent meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was recognized that more needs to be done to reduce risk levels and deliver results for water and wastewater systems on-reserve – so that First Nations communities would have the same access to safe drinking water that all Canadians enjoy.
On Jan. 13, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs announced a federal investment of $330.8 million over two years to sustain progress made to build and renovate water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves and to support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nation communities.
This investment is part of a comprehensive long-term plan to improve on-reserve water and wastewater which is founded on three pillars: enhanced capacity building and operation training; enforceable standards and protocols; and infrastructure investments.