The 2012–2013 Scorecard Report: Implementing the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan
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5. Forward regulatory plans
“These [forward regulatory] plans will give Canadians, business and trading partners greater opportunity to inform the development of regulations and to plan for the future.”
Government of Canada, Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, 2012
5.1 Our commitment
Canadians and businesses deserve a federal regulatory system that is transparent and predictable. They reasonably expect to have advance notice of the Government of Canada’s intention to regulate and to have a chance to comment on planned regulatory changes that will affect them and their bottom lines.
A transparent and predictable regulatory system enables Canadians and businesses to prepare and adjust their own plans and activities before new rules are made. It also allows stakeholders to make informed decisions about their future and encourages investment and innovation.
A regulatory initiative is a “planned or potential regulatory change such as a new regulation, an amendment to an existing regulation, or the removal of an existing regulation” contained within a forward regulatory plan.
- TBS’s Guide on Forward Planning
By introducing forward regulatory plans, the Government has taken a significant step toward increasing transparency in 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.
The Government committed to releasing the first set of forward regulatory plans by March 1, 2013. Regulators were to make their plans public on their Acts and Regulations Web pages. Going forward, these plans are being updated on a semi-annual basis to reflect the changing operating realities of regulators.
5.2 Summary of results: 2012–2013
In spring 2013, regulators posted 32 forward regulatory plans on their respective Acts and Regulations Web pages. The overall scope and quality of these plans are a clear demonstration of the federal regulatory community’s collective resolve to implement the Government’s Red Tape Reduction Action Plan.
A government-wide list of forward regulatory plans was also published on TBS’s website to provide Canadians and businesses with easy access to these plans.
Overview of planned regulatory initiatives
Regulators collectively identified 460 planned regulatory initiatives to be implemented over the next two years in their forward regulatory plans (see Graph 5.1). 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 impacts on business (see Graph 5.2).
For each initiative, regulators were to provide basic information to help stakeholders understand what is being proposed and whether they will be affected, including:
- the title of the initiative;
- a description of the initiative;
- whether the initiative could have business impacts;
- an identification of public consultation opportunities; and
- a departmental point of contact for obtaining additional information.
TBS assessed all forward regulatory plans required by March 1, 2013, against these requirements. In addition, TBS communicated the results of these assessments to regulators so that they could make any necessary improvements to their plans.
Through these assessments, TBS noted that the overall compliance with the requirements for forward regulatory plans was generally high. However, TBS also observed that regulators need to make greater use of plain language in describing their regulatory initiatives and the associated objectives to ensure that Canadians and businesses are clear on whether they will be impacted. TBS also noted that, in some instances, regulators need to be more specific in describing their upcoming consultation opportunities so that stakeholders can be better prepared to participate in the regulatory development process.
Graph 5.1 – Distribution of Planned Regulatory Initiatives by Portfolio See endnote 3 *
Return to endnote reference 3 * Based on an analysis of the forward regulatory plans posted on departmental Acts and Regulations Web pages as of June 2013. The total number of planned regulatory initiatives analyzed (n = 448) differs from the initial posting (n = 460) as regulators update their plans on an ongoing basis.
** Over 80% of AAFC’s planned regulatory initiatives were from the Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC). Of the FPCC’s initiatives, nearly 50% were proposals to repeal spent (i.e., obsolete) regulations with no anticipated business impacts. The remaining initiatives on the FPCC’s plan were routine items that are part of the FPCC’s supply management mandate and represent regularly-occurring interactions with the farm products industry.
Graph 5.2 - Anticipated Business Impacts of Planned Regulatory Initiatives See endnote 4 *
Return to endnote reference 4 * Based on an analysis of the forward regulatory plans posted on departmental Acts and Regulations Web pages as of June 2013. The total number of planned regulatory initiatives analyzed (n = 448) differs from the initial posting (n = 460) as regulators update their plans on an ongoing basis.
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