For Immediate Release
[21 January 2013]

(Fredericton, NB) – For many years, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, along with many other business organizations (as evidenced by CFIB’s Red Tape Awareness Week), has been calling on the New Brunswick government to take meaningful steps to reduce red tape in the province. As suggested in our press release from 5 April 2011, red tape is a constant and pervasive concern for our membership, so we applaud this government’s specific references to reduction efforts in the 2012 Speech from the Throne in November.

The implementation of the province’s Smart Regulations System has the potential to significantly reduce red tape in the province, which would make investing, working, and living in the province more appealing. The overall administrative burden created by the current regulatory regime is a suppressing force in the province.

Counting the number of regulations (627) and specific obligations (52,970) in late 2012 was a necessary first step and demonstrates to us that the province is taking this project seriously. Having a goal of reducing obligations by 20% would be pointless without being able to accurately measure progress. Of equal importance is the plan to offset new regulatory duties with the elimination of out-of-date requirements after the 20% mark has been achieved. Obviously, reducing some obligations only to replace them with others would be meaningless.

There are three primary areas where these obligations can be significantly reduced: (1) archaic regulations and/or requirements that are no longer relevant; (2) fees and forms; and (3) matters where regulations have replaced common-sense judgment. With a membership comprised of 90% short or medium-sized businesses, fees and forms are of particular concern as they are a drain on both finances and time.

We trust that the Province will continue to consult with the Chamber, the business community at large and the general public moving forward. Hearing from the people that are affected daily by regulation s and obligations would allow the government to focus and target its efforts on areas that need it the most.

While we appreciate that an initiative of this scope will take some time to achieve, it is this fact that makes it all the more critical that all departments move swiftly and consistently to meet and hopefully exceed these targets. In the interest of open communication, we would also ask the Executive Council for regular progress reports, which will also keep these goals at the forefront of each department.

Contact: Krista Ross, CEO, 458.8006.