Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2019-02-28 16:21
Thank you for that point. I appreciate that.
My second point is that the one benefit that Estonia has is that it has a unitary level of government.
Here in Canada, in the region I come from, southwestern Ontario, there are actually four levels of government, because we have a regional government. Now you have the federal government that is a repository of certain information; you have the provincial government that's a repository of certain information; you have a regional government that does the policing and other things, which is another repository of information; and all my property tax and everything is in another level of government, municipal government.
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2019-02-28 16:22
That's fine.
The thing is, though, when you look at taxation or at health, if I have to prove something, I might have to acquire information from different levels of government.
How do you get the interoperability?
It's not just one level of government. You can start off at the federal government level, but eventually, if this is going to work, you should have access to all the information that's reposed, deposited or held through the different levels of government.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much for your presentations. My question goes to Mr. Moody. Mr. Baylis had raised this with you earlier during his questioning, and I can understand very well the concerns around red tape. I'm not from business myself—my area was academia and journalism before going into politics—but I do come from a family where small business is the rule. It's what defined my family. It's what brought my family to Canada, the restaurant business in particular. I grew up the son of small-business owners, and I want to see them prosper and do very well. I'm glad to see that we have the lowest rate of small business tax in the entire G7, for example, and this will allow small businesses to continue to create jobs.
Mr. Moody, you referenced common sense, and the question was around safety. In fact, I'm not sure if it was Mr. Longfield who raised it or Mr. Baylis, but safety is very important. What happens when an employer doesn't behave well, doesn't provide a safe environment? Shouldn't there be regulations in place to ensure a safe environment; otherwise, are we not just counting on the goodwill of business owners? I think the vast majority of business owners are responsible, but when they're not, I believe there should be regulations in place to guard against that irresponsibility. Wouldn't you say so?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
If you look at the data, Canada has chronically low levels of business investment. I don't think it's entirely due to regulation, but obviously, that's one critical element of it. If we're going to increase prosperity for Canadians, I think one critical component of doing that is streamlining regulation. One of the things I would suggest the department needs to look at is doing an analysis of provincial and municipal regulations. I don't see how we can achieve a lighter regulatory burden while still achieving health and safety outcomes unless we know what the provinces and the municipalities are doing; otherwise, you have a situation where the left and right hands don't know what they're doing.
When you look at the levels of business investment we have in this country, we're somewhere around 10% of GDP on a non-residential basis. That's much lower than our major economic competitors south of the border and across the Atlantic. I think this is critically important for us to improve our competitiveness.
The thing that sticks in my mind about how ridiculous some of these regulations are is an incident with the National Capital Commission. Several years ago, two young children wanted to set up a lemonade stand and got slapped with a massive bureaucracy that wanted them to pay $1,500 for a permit. It created a huge outcry. What was so ridiculous about the whole situation was that, after the controversy, the NCC came forward with a new rule that, yes, allowed them to set up a lemonade stand, but it was subject to a plethora of conditions. It had to have bilingual signage. They had to report the revenues to the NCC. There was an indemnification clause. There were size restrictions and adherence to provincial health and safety regulations.
My kids live in Wellington County. They set up a lemonade stand and we didn't have to go through any of that. Nobody died because they drank my kids' lemonade. This happened in recent years; this wasn't 15 years ago.
We've been through a lot of this stuff in the last 15 years, yet we continue to slip in the rankings. We don't have the sense of where provincial and federal regulations are. One of the results is low levels of business investment and a sense that Canada can't attract business investment and can't get the economy moving.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-02-19 9:18
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Some of the businesses that we've heard from and the representatives.... Is there a kind of working group that could be created? Are there thoughts of a different approach to what has been done in the past? The term they continue to use is “red tape”. Could you elaborate on whether or not there could be a different approach? They've offered suggestions of what's been done in British Columbia and a few other places.
Could I have your thoughts on that and how your department would respond to that suggestion?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-02-19 9:19
I know Ontario is now talking about another one. It seems to be ideologically driven as opposed to anything else. They haven't really outlined a plan. It still is something that they want to go after. It's not a negative criticism in terms of the ideology of where it comes from. It's like, if you want to create a regulation you have to get rid of two, or something like that. It's just kind of an equation. British Columbia has moved on that, too.
Do I understand there will be a review that would include those best practices from other jurisdictions? They are looking for something concrete to come back. They are not ruled out, but they are going to be evaluated, I suppose.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-02-19 9:21
That's why I characterize it as ideological. I'm not trying to be negative about the sense of it, but it seems to be driven by a political position versus that of real results and success.
Is there any measurement in terms of elimination of regulation and the potential harm or impact to businesses and public safety? One thing that isn't discussed is the flip side to this. Some of the regulatory practices are in place because some people didn't want to follow best practices or proper practices and required basically behaviour modification in the industry either to ensure their products were safety-related or to ensure that the competition they were doing was fair. This committee was part of that work to put pressure on the government almost a decade ago to end the corporate deductibility of fines and penalties. Some people abused regulations and used fines and penalties as expenses as part of their business model and would claim that back at tax time.
Is there anything done to measure when a regulatory regime is changed and what the potential impact is not only for consumers for health and safety standards, but also for other businesses?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-02-19 9:22
Can that be shared with our committee though? I think it would be important if there are measurements taking place with those. I would like to hear those. For example, I know that the pharmaceutical industry at times has complained about Health Canada and getting through the process. At the same time, you're right. I know that for the supplement industry and others, we have some of the better standards and regulatory practices that actually allow us to enter into markets that would otherwise have been closed. We do sometimes fast-track.
Is there any information about that or are there examples that you can actually provide to the committee?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-02-19 9:24
Yes. I know I'm probably out of time, Mr. Chair.
In everything from energy drinks and so forth, these new emerging products have significant health consequences. It's a balance.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-05 9:02
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses for coming. This is something that has been on my mind for many years, both as a small business owner and president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, working with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Now that I'm on this side of the table, I'm in the position to ask, “How can we work together?”
Maybe I could start with Mr. Greer on how the government engages businesses through his network. Maybe we'll go to both witnesses. Some businesses say they're surveyed to death. On the other hand, we need to know where the worst areas are in terms of cost to business. We need regulations to protect the safety and protect consumers in Canada, but there are some regulations that cost a lot of money, and it could be argued that the climb isn't worth the slide.
Do you have any specific examples of regulations that are costing business or are the greatest irritants to business?
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-05 9:06
The Treasury Board's recently done a consultation process and is looking at, how do we streamline? How do we introduce innovation into our regulatory processes?
One of the comments I've heard from that consultation process was that getting the cost from actual businesses was a difficult thing to draw out. The businesses will always say, “We don't like red tape. We don't like the government being involved in our business. We don't want to spend our time doing government paperwork.” But getting the cost of that discussion forward is a difficult thing.
Right now we're trying to simplify what we have, but as you just said, we're also trying to engage businesses earlier in the process as regulations are coming forward. Is that something we need to consider in our report going back to government?
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-05 9:08
I'm running out of time, but that cost-benefit analysis is one that I think we'll see throughout this study. Getting the actual numbers will be something that we'll be looking for.
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Ind. (ON)
Thank you very much to each of our witnesses.
In previous slides it was mentioned that we should set a target for reducing red tape at 25% over three years. I'm wondering if that leads really to another metric, perhaps regulations that are more costly or that take more time, impede growth or exports, or wherein there is a correlation between business size and the costs of compliance, as opposed to the rate of progression that we saw on the slide. Is the 25% what we should be looking at, or should we be looking at another metric?
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
On the next thing that you both talked about, Mr. Irving, you made reference to a statistic on our governance or our bureaucracy. Could you give that to me again, and then give me some idea of what we need to do to address it?
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Nothing in particular is coming to your mind in terms of what you're referring to? It's basically a general overview of processes and procedure, bureaucracy and timeliness.
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