“Alberta will go from worst to best province in Canada on red tape,” Kenney pledges
EDMONTON, AB (March 6, 2019): A United Conservative government would cut the red tape burden on Alberta’s economy by one third in its first term to create jobs and spur economic growth, according to UCP Leader Jason Kenney.
Following on this week’s pledge to cut taxes on employers by one third, Kenney unveiled another major plank in what he called the UCP Job Creation Strategy, saying that “in order to get Alberta back to work, we have to free our job creators from the heaviest and slowest-moving regulatory burden in Canada.”
“Alberta is the only province in Canada that gets an ‘F’ for its red tape burden, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,” Kenney said. “What an embarrassment. Whatever happened to our idea of Alberta as the free enterprise province where we get things done?”
“Red tape is expensive, and it kills jobs. Regulation costs $6,700 per employee on average for small businesses, according to the CFIB. For a business with five employees, the cost of red tape is more than $33,000, equivalent to an entry-level job.”
Kenney pointed to long list of employer groups saying that Alberta’s red tape burden is one of the province’s biggest barriers to economic growth and job creation.
- The Alberta Chamber of Commerce says “Mounting costs being layered on business by changes to government regulation and policy is the single greatest challenge to business competitiveness and shared prosperity.”
- The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce says “The burden of new policy and regulatory changes have all meant higher costs on businesses struggling in a challenging economy. The impact includes both the direct costs of policy changes and the costs incurred by businesses as they work to comply with new regulations. The Province must enhance the competitiveness of Alberta businesses by addressing the ever-increasing taxes, fees and regulatory costs layered onto business from all orders of government.”
- Restaurants Canada says “Unfortunately, many of Alberta’s restaurants are struggling to survive due to a number of recent legislative and regulatory changes that have dramatically increased the cost of doing business in the province.”
- ATB Finance, Economics and Research says “Corporate tax increases along with the provincial carbon levy and costlier environmental regulations have resulted in weak job growth, layoffs, and the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada.”
- The Calgary Chamber of Commerce says “The regulatory environment has become a challenge for businesses in Alberta. Inefficient regulations impact Alberta businesses’ ability to get things done and create employment.”
- A recent Fraser Institute survey of energy executives found 68 percent of them considered the province’s regulatory burden a significant deterrent for investment, concluding that “Investors have been saying loud and clear for years that Alberta is increasingly an unattractive jurisdiction for investment because of needless and costly red tape. Reducing the province’s regulatory burden would help attract much-needed investment, spur economic growth and improve living standards for Albertans.”
Kenney announced that as a key part of his party’s Job Creation Strategy, a UCP government would immediately implement a Red Tape Reduction Action Plan to include:
- The Red Tape Reduction Act modelled on laws in other provinces to measure, report and reduce the regulatory burden imposed by the Alberta Government, and to reduce the time required for regulatory decisions to be made. The Act would be passed within weeks of the next election, and following consultations would be amended to include legislated timelines for regulatory approvals, the goal of which will be the fastest approval process in North American.
- A dedicated Minister for Red Tape Reduction who will lead the Action Plan with clear backing from the Premier to challenge all Ministers, departments and agencies to meet the one third reduction target, and accelerated timelines for regulatory approval.
- Industry Panels to inform red tape reduction for every major sector of the economy by providing ongoing input to the Associate Minister for Red Tape Reduction, and other relevant Ministers and officials, on where regulatory savings can be found.
- One In / One Out Rule requiring agencies or ministries proposing new regulations to identify at least one offsetting regulation for elimination.
- Red Tape Challenge Website to replicate the United Kingdom’s successful Red Tape Challenge by crowdsourcing input from businesses, organizations and the public on which regulations should be improved, kept or scrapped.
- Outcome based regulatory approach – All departments and agencies will be directed to replicate the best regulatory practices in other jurisdictions by moving from a process to a performance-based regulatory model, wherever feasible.
- Public Sector Red Tape Reduction – We will benchmark and reduce internal government rules and regulations. This would include working with municipalities, schools, universities, hospitals and other public sector organizations to identify and rationalize the administrative mandates imposed by the Government of Alberta and its agencies to allow the public sector to focus on service, instead of administration.
- End barriers to interprovincial free trade:
- Work with other provinces to accelerate the work of the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT), under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement
- Call for a full review of the CFTA at the Council of Federation meetings to further eliminating barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility, and expanding the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
- Modernize the New West Partnership (NWP) to achieve complete elimination of barriers to trade, full reciprocal recognition of occupational certification, and apprenticeship harmonization between Alberta and participating provinces.
- Join the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan to reduce interprovincial trade barriers.
- If need be, unilaterally eliminate current and future “carve-out” exemptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement as they apply to Alberta. In other words, a UCP government could, if progress is slow on removing barriers, unilaterally drop most barriers for other Canadians who want to invest in, do business in or work in Alberta.
Kenney also announced that as part of its effort to prepare for a possible UCP government, the party has launched a stopredtape.ca website to encourage Albertans to offer their examples of dumb government rules. “If we receive a mandate from Albertans, we will get to work cutting red tape to create jobs on day one of a new government. This website is a chance for Albertans to give us their ideas right now, so we are ready to roll in cutting wasteful regulation that is holding our economy back”
“Our Red Tape Reduction Action Plan is a key part of our strategy to reignite Alberta’s stagnant economy,” Kenney concluded. “The NDP has continued to layer massive new costs on doing business and creating jobs in Alberta, one of the reasons why 170,000 Albertans are looking for work, incomes are down, and business bankruptcies have been at record highs.”
“Top economists predict that our Job Creation Tax Cut will create at least 55,000 new jobs and grow Alberta’s economy by $12.7 billion. Together with this ambitious plan to free job creators from Canada’s heaviest red tape burden, we will get Alberta back to work.”