TORONTO — An alarming 69 per cent of Canadian farmers say burdensome red tape makes them question whether their children should take over the farm or even start their own farm, a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey concludes.
Of 671 farmers surveyed, they said that the most burdensome agencies and regulations were the Canada Revenue Agency (59 per cent), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (46 per cent), environmental regulations (45 per cent) and Statistics Canada (40 per cent). CFIB says sometimes the problem with red tape is not what needs to be done, but the timing, such as Statistics Canada sending out surveys during spring planting when farmers are busy in the fields.
In a separate survey of 949 farmers, 81 per cent said they were concerned with the burden of red tape. That’s up from 77 per cent a decade ago.
But hope is not lost for Ontario farmers. Ontario was given an A- in the CFIB red tape report card. That’s the first time Ontario has received an A in the report card’s 10-year history (last year it was a C+). The reason for the high mark? According to the CFIB, strong political leadership under Premier Doug Ford has led to a clear cap on government rules as the province works to reduce red tape by 25 per cent by 2022. It’s even more impressive considering the grade was earned in the last six months of 2018, said CFIB.
Premier Ford was also given the Golden Scissors award for cutting red tape, such as stopping the planned implementation of rules requiring businesses to track every movement of their scheduled employees into and out of the office, down to the minute, or face stiff penalties, said the CFIB.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased with the new direction of the province toward bureaucracy and paper work. “It’s a much more friendly environment as far as we’re concerned,” said Grain Farmers of Ontario District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings) director Jeff Harrison.
According to CFIB, regulations cost Ontario businesses $15 billion in 2017. Hardest hit were businesses with fewer than five employees. Regulations cost these businesses $6,744 per employee. That number dropped significantly to $3,489 per employee for businesses with five to 19 employees.