Province’s red tape reduction efforts worthwhile: CFIB

Province’s red tape reduction efforts worthwhile: CFIB

Laura JonesExecutive Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

 

Government departments are fundamentally different from private businesses in that they do not face competition. There is no voting with your feet if you think that frontline staff are unfriendly or if forms are confusing. It’s a recipe for mediocrity or worse, unless other ways of pushing for better service can be found.

In this context, elected officials soliciting our feedback about government service improvement is a substitute, albeit a grossly imperfect one, for competition. Provincial Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Coralee Oakes is doing just that. She is looking for your help to identify the blizzard of little irritants that arise from interacting with government.

The six-week consultation, which ends on Dec. 3, is part of the government’s broader effort to keep a lid on red tape while preserving justified regulation. The minister is looking for “simple fixes that will improve your life when you interact with government.” It’s easy to contribute an idea on the website at: engage.gov.bc.ca/helpcutredtape. It’s also worthwhile. The commitment to those who contribute is that, “While not every idea will be implemented, every comment and idea submitted will be reviewed and considered. A list of actions will be posted on the website.”

This is not for show. The minister and her staff are taking this seriously, and we know they will be looking for things to announce on the recently legislated Red Tape Reduction Day in March and during Red Tape Awareness Week in January.

The site now has over 100 comments and suggestions. Much of it is common sense. One woman describes the frustrating experience of dealing with six different doctors as they tried to diagnose her husband. Next, in her words, “We asked to see his chart, so that we could at least piece his prognosis together ourselves. We were handed a form and told it would be 30 business days. Apparently, the patient has no right to their own healthcare information. Obviously, this is not helpful.”

Not surprisingly, there are many comments on the website about the challenges of dealing with the government electronically, from not being able to save a PDF to not being able to report a personnel change for a charity’s board without declaring the former board member deceased.

The consultation is the perfect place to raise any number of business issues too, such as this one: There is a rule requiring a truck driver who is also a temporary foreign worker to get a work permit before being issued a driver’s license, while another rule requires the worker to get a driver’s license before being issued a work permit. And while we are on the topic of driver’s licenses, over 1,000 British Columbians renew their licenses each day. What if we could do that once every 10 years instead of five? Think of the time that change alone would free up for everyone, including government employees.

Broader issues for consideration include making sure government communication is intelligible, training staff to better understand the realities of the people they help, and ensuring auditors have appropriate incentives to behave professionally, with repercussions if they do not.

In launching this consultation, Oakes has created an opportunity to take action on the small but important red tape issues that don’t grab headlines but do make differences in people’s lives. Resolving them contributes to the constructive relationship between a government and its citizens that is so important. It prevents the blizzard of little irritants from undermining our productivity and our good humour. This consultation is well worth the minister’s time and ours.

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read