City Hall needs a good decluttering, says Canadian Federation of Independent Business

CFIB says red tape is bogging things down at a municipal level

Nobody at City Hall sets out to make ridiculous rules or unmanageable processes – but that’s the result when there are no checks in place to control the clutter. Rules pile up over time like too many sweaters, DVDs, and old magazines spilling out of an overstuffed closet.

We regularly hear about red tape clutter from small businesses dealing with their local City Hall.

There’s the business in Smithers, B.C., forced by the municipality to pay for building a sidewalk, connecting nothing to nowhere, in order to get a permit to renovate.

There’s Montreal’s borough of Plateau Mont-Royal that stacked up costs on business owners by banning PVC plastic chairs from outdoor patios and forced them to replace perfectly good furniture.

READ MORE: Business group pleased with back-to-work legislation for postal workers

Then there’s the book store cafe in Winnipeg that was forced to shut down because serving a bit of mayo on sandwiches required an industrial-strength grease trap.

And there is the Vancouver dance studio suffering scheduling headaches and parental bickering over class sizes because the City can’t meet its own permitting deadlines, delaying expansions multiple times.

Some municipal governments seem so used to the piles of red tape that they don’t recognize they have a problem. Citizens are being hurt in myriad ways; from the stress red tape creates for small business to the extra costs it lards onto housing. It’s time for municipalities to follow the lead of many senior governments in Canada and do something about it.

The most important remedy is a simple one. Those who keep their closets clutter-free know how it works: a one-in-one-out policy. For every new municipal rule that comes into force, one needs to be eliminated so when a new government rule is needed, it doesn’t just get added to the pile. One, or sometimes more, out-dated or unnecessary rules are eliminated at the same time.

Various versions of this “one-in-one-out” policy are proving very successful. The longest running example in North America is British Columbia’s regulatory cleanup. Back in 2001 its provincial government set out on a major decluttering exercise, putting in place a one-in-two-out rule to achieve a one-third reduction in regulatory clutter over three years.

READ MORE: Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Once the reduction target was met, one-in-one-out became the new standard. Garbage bags of dumb rules, such as the one dictating the size of televisions allowed in restaurants, were sent to the curb and the province’s citizens are better for it. The BC one-in-one out policy was so successful at eliminating red tape while maintaining high levels of health, safety and environmental outcomes, it’s now an international model for reform.

Federally, Canada has become the first country in the world to legislate one-in-one-out for its regulations. It too has proved successful at reducing compliance costs although it does not apply as broadly as BC’s, so some old CDs, magazines and other junk still gets a pass.

With the successes we’ve seen at the federal and provincial levels, in honour of our tenth annual Red Tape Awareness Week we’re now challenging our cities to clean up their regulatory excesses by committing to their own one-in-one-out policy.

So, how about it City Hall, are you ready to clean up your red tape? First comes a commitment to do it, next comes putting the old Christmas sweaters and DVDs to the curb, and finally a one-in-one out policy to keep the closet clean. Like the old Christmas sweaters, no one will miss your red tape.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
News@HopeStandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fraser Health reminds parents to get their kids fully vaccinated against measles

Health authority will send letters home to parents with catch-up program information

FVRL launches Cubetto’s Grand Tour across 14 libraries

Friendly wooden robot travels Fraser Valley teaching programming basics to those as young as three

Chilliwack Hospice Society gearing up for annual Hike

Funds raised at Chilliwack walk remain local to help support programs for community members

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver hit $1.72 a litre

And one analyst expects it to only go higher this week

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Spectre of Lac-Megantic raised as White Rock council calls for report on rail emergency protocol

‘I just really think we’re asleep at the switch here,’ says councillor

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Most Read