B.C. gets an ‘A’ for improved services and regulations

Bruce Ralston

THE many service improvements and streamlining measures that the British Columbia government has made to save people time, hassle and unnecessary costs, have earned the province an ‘A’ grade from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

B.C.’s top mark is part of the CFIB’s Red Tape Awareness Week campaign, which raises awareness about regulatory burden on small businesses and citizens across the country.

“Small businesses are a critical part of B.C.’s economy and we are committed to listening to their needs and improving services for businesses and people throughout the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “As part of this effort, we have put in place changes that save people time, reduce costs and lead to increased investment and good jobs for British Columbians.”

In determining B.C.’s ‘A’ grade, the CFIB considered existing commitments to limit regulations, recent regulatory changes and service improvements, as well as leadership.

For instance, government recently introduced a redesigned online application that makes it easier for tenants and landlords to apply for dispute resolution and includes the ability to upload supporting documentation.

Other recent improvements include the Startup in Residence program, where the provincial government partnered with five B.C. startup companies to improve provincial service delivery and operations, the first collaboration of its kind in Canada. An upgraded website that helps agrifood producers apply for funding and find information on government programs, the expansion of the Mobile Business Licence program in the Kootenays, Okanagan-Similkameen and the Northeast regions, and new online applications for park-use permits through BC Parks are just a handful of examples of how government has made life easier for people.

“British Columbia continues to be a leader in measuring and capping red tape,” said Laura Jones, Canadian Federation of Independent Business executive vice-president and chief strategic officer. “Getting an ‘A’ is challenging. More impressive is keeping it year after year. Congratulations to this government for a top mark and a job well done.”

The Province also reduced the small business corporate income tax last fall by 20%, from 2.5% to 2%, and will create a Small Business Task Force to provide recommendations to government on strengthening the small business sector in B.C.

The B.C. government officially proclaimed this week Red Tape Awareness Week on Monday.