Cutting Red Tape

Cutting Red Tape

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A significant hidden cost to businesses is the associated regulatory burdens involved with starting and maintaining a business, more commonly known as red tape. This includes both the financial and time commitment to get all the necessary permits and licenses required to operate. Moreover, data collected by The City helps City Administration guide its strategic direction, but this information is difficult for citizens to obtain.

These regulatory costs are rarely communicated to the public, and many prospective business owners do not know about these costs before they decide to start their business. These burdens may have prevented some individuals from starting a business in the first place and could potentially contribute to the significant struggles or eventual failure of others.

For entrepreneurs, open data has resulted in innovative developments in other jurisdictions that municipal resources have not been able to develop,  such as the applications developed with the use of The City of Waterloo’s municipal data.  Open data encourages developments that increase the city’s competitiveness without increasing their own costs, and also increases government transparency by providing citizens direct access to information they may need.

The City of Calgary launched its Cut Red Tape initiative in late 2010, and reports that the project has resulted in savings of approximately $1.1 million and 33,000 man hours since its implementation.  However, Calgary Chamber members still feel that more can be done, especially in regards to the development approvals process. The City’s initial steps towards less red tape and making data available show there is interest to pursue these issues further. However, this is only a small sample of how to reduce regulatory barriers.

A Calgary that works with business and allows individuals to thrive rather than being caught up in regulatory burden is a Greater Calgary.

In order to thrive, the Calgary Chamber recommends that The City of Calgary:

  • Implement a mandatory regulatory impact assessment process for all new bylaws, which includes collecting and utilizing public input, in order to minimize red tape and regulatory burden before new bylaws are implemented.
  • Maximize administrative simplicity when implementing new policies and procedures.
  • Streamline the development approvals process.
  • Expand The City’s open data policy to facilitate data access, transparency and increase public engagement.
  • Clearly communicate regulatory requirements to potential new businesses and residents.
  • Continue engaging citizens and businesses on how to effectively expand the Cut Red Tape initiative and continue to implement new solutions.

Download our full Great Calgary 2013 policy book

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