Minister of State for Small Business Naomi Yamamoto paid a Monday visit to Comox to proclaim Red Tape Awareness Week in B.C.
The week — designated each January by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business — is intended to raise awareness about the negative impacts of excessive regulations on small businesses and citizens, and to recognize the Province's efforts to reduce red tape.
Yamamoto was joined by a CFIB representative at Simon's Cycles, where owner Simon Brampton employs four to six people — typical of small businesses, according to Yamamoto.
She said 98 per cent of B.C. businesses are small businesses — defined as having 15 or fewer employees — though most, she said, have five or fewer staff members.
Yamamoto also said small businesses employ 56 per cent of private-sector jobs — which employ about one million people — and are responsible for about one-third of the province's gross domestic product.
"Small businesspeople are so integral to the health of our economy, so that's why it's really important for government to think of some ways that we can help small businesses reduce the burden," Yamamoto said, noting B.C. leads Canada in terms of regulatory reform.
According to the CFIB, unnecessary regulation is a hidden tax that costs the Canadian economy more than $31 billion each year.
"What's particularly tragic is how preventable this is," CFIB policy analyst Kimball Kastelen said.
Yamamoto said B.C. is the first province to enshrine in law the requirement to publish annual reports about regulatory reform. Since 2001, the Province has reduced regulatory requirements by more than 42 per cent.
"That's 155,000 regulatory requirements that are no longer on the books," Yamamoto said.
For more information, visit www.gov.bc.ca/regulatoryreform.