Whether it’s a new set of rules, being forced to fill out seemingly unnecessary forms or facing delays caused by the government, small business owners have plenty to gripe about.
With Red Tape Awareness Week running from Jan. 22-26, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is bringing the challenges facing small business around red tape to the forefront. As part of its efforts, the CFIB noted 14 incidents in particular of excessive regulation from government departments and agencies that are hindering small businesses.
Called the Paperweight Awards, the organization hopes to shed a light on ways its members are being bogged down by bureaucracy.
“Red tape ranges from garden-variety ridiculous rules and poor government customer service to the big bureaucratic headaches threatening the very survival of a business,” said Richard Truscott, the CFIB’s vice president. “Awarding Paperweights is like using sunlight as a disinfectant, to shine national attention on ridiculous red tape.”
The CFIB noted the following 14 incidents of Paperweights:
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, for insisting a contractor buy a brand new ladder because his old one had a worn-out label.
New Brunswick Liquor Control Act (on behalf of all interprovincial trade barriers), for taking Gerard Comeau to the Supreme Court of Canada for buying cheap beer in another province and bringing it home.
Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, for ramming through a new set of rules dramatically increasing small business’ costs and providing compliance details just weeks before coming into effect.
Quebec’s Labour Department, for requiring businesses to post a notice notifying employees they will soon be posting another notice.
Montreal Urban Community and the City of Brossard, for creating wildly different sets of regulations around the required thickness and composition of plastic, carry-out bags.
Have your say below: What are some examples of ridiculous regulations in your shop or jobber store?
Smithers, B.C., in an encore performance of last year’s paperweight, for forcing another business, this time a not-for-profit, to build a “sidewalk to nowhere”.
National Capital Commission, another repeat offender for making children fill out a two-page contract indemnifying NCC of any legal liability before opening up their lemonade stand.
Ontario’s Liquor Control Board for approving, then disapproving a beer product because its label resembled an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine. Similarly, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation threatened legal action against a craft distillery for using a stylized 1940s highway sign as their logo.
Statistics Canada, for forcing business owners to spend time answering lengthy, complicated surveys or face fines and even jail time.
Quebec’s Ministry of Health, for insisting pharmacies disclose their pricing structure to consumers, creating reams of paperwork and undermining their competitiveness.
Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Division and Labour Board, for failing to meet its own standards to disclose details of a complaint made against a business in time and then refusing to give the business owner time to contest it.
City of Ottawa, for setting up roadblocks for food trucks with bureaucratic red tape and creating a “food truck selection committee.”
Canadian Border Services Agency, for unreasonable delays and poor communication when inspecting goods, causing business owners financial hardship and unnecessary stress.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau for adding more complexity and uncertainty into the tax code by imposing a subjective ‘reasonableness test’ on business owners who share income with family members.
Small business owners can vote for the most ridiculous Paperweight at the CFIB’s Facebook page. The winner will be announced on Jan. 26.