Nobody at City Hall sets out to make ridiculous rules or unmanageable processes – but that’s the result when there are no checks in place to control the clutter.
Rules pile up over time like too many sweaters, DVDs, and old magazines spilling out of an overstuffed closet.
We regularly hear about municipal red tape from small businesses.
There’s the business forced to pay for building a sidewalk, connecting nothing to nowhere, in order to get a permit to renovate. There’s the plastic chair ban that forced business owners to replace perfectly good patio furniture. There’s the book store cafe forced to shut down because serving a bit of mayo on sandwiches required an industrial-strength grease trap.
This creates stress and extra costs for business owners and higher prices for consumers on everything from haircuts to housing.
There’s a simple remedy. Those who keep their closets clutter-free know how it works: a one-in-one-out policy. For every new rule that comes into force, one needs to go.
In 2001, BC’s provincial government put in place a one-in-two-out rule to achieve a one-third reduction in regulatory clutter over three years. Garbage bags of dumb rules, such as the one dictating the size of televisions in restaurants, were sent to the curb and the province’s citizens are better for it.
Federally, Canada was the first country in the world to legislate one-in-one-out for its regulations in 2015.
So, how about it City Hall, are you ready to clean up your red tape? First comes a commitment to do it, next comes putting the old Christmas sweaters and DVDs to the curb, and finally a one-in-one out policy to keep your closet clean. Like the old Christmas sweaters, no one will miss your red tape.
Laura Jones, Executive VP of Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Jordi Morgan, Atlantic VP of CFIB