Red tape reduction is long overdue in Alberta. For years our province’s government and systems have operated with an abundance of over regulation and redundancy, resulting in costly and oftentimes stagnant processes for both individuals and businesses. Every year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) releases a red tape report card which all provinces use as a benchmark for their performance. Historically, Alberta has never received a grade better than a D, while similar provinces such as Saskatchewan have continually achieved grades of A+. Over the last three years, Alberta’s grade dipped even further to an F as our province became utterly bogged down with big overreaching government. To put Alberta’s red tape burden into perspective, it is estimated that in 2017 the cost for businesses across the province to simply comply with all the regulations was over $4.4 billion.
That is why we promised Albertans during last year’s April election that we would reduce one-third of all red tape across the province. As a United Conservative government, we collectively believe that the best way to achieve a prosperous society where both individuals and businesses can freely thrive is for government to get out of the way, rather than in the way. After nine months in office, we are still committed to that mantra. Since taking office, we have passed the Red Tape Reduction Act which established an Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction. We have also held roundtables across the province – with one in Canmore – and launched a public online submission website. To date, we have received 4501 ideas for red tape reduction through this portal, implemented 130 of them, and are well on our way to addressing another 240 of them.
Notably, we have: made building codes freely accessible rather than for purchase, harmonized oil rig classifications with other provinces, legalized liquor consumption in provincial parks on long weekends, allowed bed and breakfasts to serve meals other than just breakfast, streamlined multi-ministry not-for-profit grants into single multi-year grants, dropped all of the procurement exceptions to interprovincial trade under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), created digital personal identifications, modernized craft liquor legislation opening up 3x the current market availability for Albertan businesses, and allowed automobile insurance pink slips to be accessible online.
After all this work, I am proud to announce that the CFIB has given our province a non-failing grade for the first time in history! Our 2020 red tape report card achieved a grade of B-. We still undoubtedly have a long ways to go before we achieve an A+, but we are optimistic that our province is finally on the right track. In four years time, Alberta should truly be the freest and fastest moving economy that we have always claimed to be.