Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday announced the creation of a "red tape reduction commission" that will look at ways to "reduce the burden of federal regulatory requirements" on businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones.
"Small and medium-sized businesses are a critical driver of the Canadian economy," Mr. Harper said in Toronto. "This initiative will help ensure that they can grow, prosper and create jobs without being impeded by unnecessary government regulations."
The announcement of the commission, which was mentioned as part of last year's federal budget, comes during Red Tape Awareness Week. That initiative was launched by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to bring attention to the problems created for small businesses and others by excessive government regulations and bureaucratic processes.
The commission will consult with Canadian businesses to "identify irritants that have a clear detrimental effect on growth, competitiveness and innovation," according to a news release. It will also look at the costs that federal regulatory requirements impose on businesses.
"Canadian businesses spend billions of dollars each year adhering to regulations," Mr. Harper said. "We need to look at where and how we can reduce these costs and this red-tape burden, especially on small businesses."
The CFIB has estimated that regulations cost the Canadian economy $30.5-billion a year.
"The formation of a red tape commission is music to the ears of any Canadian that has ever dealt with excessive and often senseless government rules, regulations and paperwork," said CFIB president Catherine Swift in a news release.