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The 2012–2013 Scorecard Report: Implementing the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan

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1. Executive Summary

In 2012–2013, 86% of all final, Governor in Council (GIC)-approved regulatory changes published in the Canada Gazette either reduced (7%) or did not impose any new (79%) administrative burden on business.

Source: Based on data published in Part II of the Canada Gazette

One of the Government of Canada’s top priorities is to create the right conditions to support jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. A robust, effective and efficient federal regulatory system provides consistency, fairness, and transparency, and supports innovation, productivity, and competition.

Canadians and businesses across the country have identified a number of irritants that exist in the federal regulatory system, creating unnecessary delays, costs and bureaucracy. The Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, released in October 2012, outlines a package of fundamental, systemic reforms that the Government has committed to putting in place to reduce regulatory red tape and strengthen regulatory transparency and predictability.

This Scorecard Report captures the progress made in implementing the systemic reforms in the 2012–2013 Fiscal Year. Overall, it demonstrates that the reforms are being faithfully implemented and have traction and momentum within government. It also shows progress is clearly being made and, perhaps most importantly, that a solid foundation for sustained results achievement has been built.

The One-for-One Rule

Service standards help to create a more transparent and predictable federal regulatory system, making it easier for Canadians and businesses to know what to expect in terms of the timeliness of decision making.

On March 1, 2013, regulators posted new service standards for a wide range of high-volume regulatory authorizations and processes representing over 60,000 annual transactions with Canadians and businesses.

The One-for-One Rule, which came into effect on April 1, 2012, places strict controls on the growth of regulatory red tape on business. It requires regulators to offset any administrative burden from new regulatory changes with equal reductions from existing regulations. In addition, when brand new regulations are introduced that add administrative burden, an existing regulation must also be repealed.

During its first year of implementation, the Rule provided a successful, system-wide control on regulatory red tape impacting business. In fact, the Rule did more than control regulatory red tape – it reduced it by about $3 million and eliminated a net of six regulations from the government’s books in 2012–2013. It is estimated that application of the Rule in 2012–2013 will also save businesses 98,000 hours per year in time spent dealing with regulatory red tape. The above trend has continued well into 2013–2014. As of December 12, 2013, a total reduction in administrative burden of almost $20 million and a net reduction of 19 regulations had been achieved.

In 2012–2013, all portfolios that published final, GIC-approved regulatory changes in the Canada Gazette with administrative burden cost increases or decreases reduced the overall burden of their regulations. Burden relief was provided through a wide range of regulatory changes that eliminated unnecessary or redundant reporting requirements imposed on business.

The Small Business Lens

The Small Business Lens, which came into effect on February 1, 2012, requires that regulators consider small business realities and consult early with small businesses in designing regulations.

In 2012–2013, the Small Business Lens only applied to regulatory proposals under development that had yet to come forward to Cabinet for final approval. It is therefore too early to determine whether the Lens is having the intended impact. However, there were some early signs that regulators have become more sensitive to and transparent in describing the potential impact of their regulations on the small business community.

Forward regulatory plans

By introducing forward regulatory plans, the Government has taken a significant step to increase the transparency of the federal regulatory system for Canadians and businesses. These plans provide stakeholders with early notice of regulatory changes to be introduced by regulators within a 24-month period.

In spring 2013, regulators posted 32 forward regulatory plans on their Acts and Regulations Web pages. Collectively, regulators identified about 460 planned regulatory initiatives in these plans. These initiatives covered a wide range of sectors—from health and the environment, to security and trade. The vast majority of the identified initiatives (75%) were not expected to have any business impacts.

Service standards for high-volume regulatory authorizations

Service standards are a public commitment to a measurable level of performance that clients can expect under normal circumstances. The Government has committed to establishing and reporting annually on service standards for those high-volume regulatory authorizations where service standards either do not exist or are not publicly available.

In spring 2013, regulators posted service standards for 24 high-volume regulatory authorizations and processes on their Acts and Regulations Web pages. As a result, more than 60,000 annual transactions (or “touch points”) with businesses have been added to those already governed by a publicly available timeliness commitment, performance target and service feedback mechanism. This represents an important first step towards improving service performance across the federal regulatory system.

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