NDP red tape hinders B.C.’s economic recovery: BC Liberals

THE BC Liberals said on Wednesday that with a C- score in regulatory burden, British Columbia is no longer leading the nation in red tape reduction, according to the Provincial Red Tape Report Card released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

They added that under Premier John Horgan’s NDP, B.C. has gone from being the only province with an “A” grade in 2016 to being in the middle of the pack — falling behind Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan in its overall red tape score.

“It’s a slap in the face for B.C., as the NDP squanders the province’s reputation as a jurisdiction committed to eliminating red tape,” said Todd Stone, B.C. Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “As we turn our attention to economic recovery, it’s essential to have cross-government efforts to reduce unnecessary regulatory costs and red tape which makes it harder for businesses to access the programs and resources they need. The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program is a classic example of an NDP program that is so restrictive and cumbersome, many eligible businesses have given up trying to apply for it.”

The BC Liberals said they have been calling on the NDP government to take action to ease the eligibility criteria of the program, which has doled out only $10 million of the $300 million in grant money since October. Adding insult to injury, the program is set to expire on March 31, 2021.

“No wonder business owners only gave this NDP government a score of 3 out of 10 when it comes to their confidence in the provincial commitment to red tape reduction,” said Stone. “As the net-zero regulation commitment expires in 2022, I urge John Horgan and the NDP to renew the commitment and ensure simplified processes and a more competitive investment climate for B.C. to fuel economic recovery.”

B.C.’s legislated annual Regulatory Requirements Count — implemented by the former B.C. Liberal government — shows that between 2019 and 2020, the NDP increased the number of regulations by more than 900 despite that net-zero regulations commitment, which requires the Province to eliminate a regulatory requirement for each new one it creates, the BC Liberals noted.