Feds Cutting Red Tape Saves $1.2 million


Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification and Maxime Bernier, Minister of State recently announced new red tape relief for Canadian companies as part of the Harper Government’s commitment to support jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The official announcement came in Vancouver.

Saxton unveiled proposed changes that will see 32,000 fewer corporations filing a return under the Corporations Return Act, saving companies an estimated $1.2-million in administrative costs. The announcement was one of several red tape cutting measures announced by the federal government that will generate $10-million in annual savings for Canadian companies.

“The Harper Government recognizes that cutting red tape is one of the most important things we can do support business and help create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” says Saxton. “Once again we are demonstrating why Canada is recognized as one of the best places in the world to do business.”

With the change, only corporations with revenues of more than $200 million, assets over $600 million, or foreign debt and equity over $1 million will have to report financial and ownership information under the Act. At the same time, 99 per cent of total foreign-controlled assets and 98 per cent of total foreign-controlled revenues will still be covered. The reform will come into force in the spring of this year.

“As part of our Red Tape Reduction Action Plan’s One-for-One Rule, our Government is reducing the burden of red tape on businesses so that they can do what they do best: create jobs and economic growth,” notes Minister of State Bernier. “By raising the Corporations Returns Act reporting thresholds, we are cutting red tape and reducing costs to affected businesses.”

The thresholds were last amended in 1981, when they were set at $15 million in operating revenues, $10 million in assets, and foreign debt or equity of $200,000. Under the old thresholds, many smaller corporations are required to file Ownership Returns while not having any foreign ownership or control.

This proposed change falls under the Action Plan’s One-for-One rule, which requires regulators to offset—from existing regulations—an equal amount of administrative burden cost on business for every new regulation introduced. Canada will be the first country to give such a rule the weight of legislation.

In addition to the changes to Corporations Return Act, two additional reforms were unveiled as part of the federal government’s Red Tape Reduction Action Plan:

Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, announced proposed changes to the Food and Drug Regulations that will allow provincially regulated pharmacy technicians to transfer prescriptions to another pharmacy. This reform will benefit more than 15,000 pharmacists across Canada and is expected to save pharmacies an estimated $8.7 million a year in administrative costs.

Secondly, Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, announced changes to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business enquiries phone service. Call agents will now have to provide an agent ID number when greeting clients. This agent ID number helps establish a friendly relationship as well as a sense of accountability; it allows business owners and representatives to provide feedback; and it ensures a user-friendly experience.

Altogether, the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan includes 90 department-specific reforms, which target specific irritants to business, as well as six whole-of-government systemic changes.

Reforms target three main areas: reducing administrative burden on business, making it easier to do business with regulators, and improving service and predictability. The vast majority of these reforms will be implemented within the next three years.