TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking action to make life easier for people and for businesses. Empowering people and getting out of the way of businesses are key to creating good jobs, growing wages and increasing our standard of living.

Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, has announced a package of over 80 proposed actions to eliminate unnecessary or outdated rules and streamline regulations that need updating. If passed, the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, along with regulatory changes, will simplify and modernize regulations that we need, while eliminating requirements that are outdated or duplicative, making regulatory processes more efficient for business and better for people. These proposed changes will lower the cost of doing business by making it simpler and cheaper to comply with regulations, while also making it easier to interact with government. The proposed changes also specifically support food banks and religious charities, colleges, universities and seniors — and reinforce environmental protections.

“Many regulations are in place for good reasons, like those that protect health, safety and the environment,” said Sarkaria. “But at the same time, decades of government regulation have resulted in rules that are duplicative, outdated or unclear, causing businesses to spend time and money complying with rules that simply could be better. We’re ensuring that Ontario’s regulations are effective, targeted, clear and focused — while maintaining Ontario’s high standards.”

This thoughtful, targeted approach proposes to reduce regulatory burdens across several sectors, including farming, trucking, construction, health care and restaurants. It will provide direct benefits to people in their everyday lives, while also making it easier to do business, create jobs and grow wages. For example, if passed:

  • The government will consult on a separate, tailored regulation to support Ontario’s food banks and religious charities involved in food donation and community feeding. Currently, these organizations are required to navigate stringent rules that also apply to fast-food restaurants and institutional cafeterias. New rules would get government out of the way when members of a church, mosque, temple, synagogue or other not-for-profit want to hand out pre-packaged, ready-to-eat snack foods at after-school programs or in soup kitchens
  • Restaurant owners and operators will be allowed to decide for themselves whether to let their customers bring a dog with them on a patio. This will also apply to indoor eating areas at sites where beer, wine, cider or spirits are made, and where only beverages and certain types of low-risk food are served. This proposal will make it easier and more enjoyable for dog owners to have a meal out
  • Professional truck drivers and companies will save time and money as the government combines separate inspections for emissions standards and vehicle safety into a single inspection. Both tests are important, but doing them separately makes no sense and takes drivers off the road when they could be delivering goods
  • Pit and quarry operators will have more streamlined requirements and improved access to aggregate resources. Construction companies use aggregates such as stone and gravel as key ingredients in the asphalt and concrete used to build the roads and houses needed for Ontario’s growing population
  • Farmers will benefit from new rules that will make it quicker and easier to obtain or renew crop insurance. They will also benefit from changes that will make the Farm Business Registration Program more farmer-friendly
  • Pharmacists and patients will benefit from proposals to align regulations with other provinces and territories and national processes. These proposed changes will speed up patients’ access to new and lower-cost drugs and ensure that Ontario is prepared for any future potential drug shortages.

These proposals build on over 100 actions that the government has already taken to reduce regulatory burdens. “Businesses would rather be filling out their order books than filling out government forms,” said Sarkaria.

Quick Facts

  • The government has committed to saving businesses $400 million in the cost of complying with regulations by 2020.
  • Preliminary estimates suggest that by June 2019 it had achieved $126 million in savings through actions completed by then. The government had also reduced fees, charges and levies on businesses by an additional $160 million. The Better for People, Smarter for Business Act and regulatory changes are expected to further reduce costs by $52 million, resulting in an estimated total of $338 million in savings.
  • In January 2019, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business gave Ontario an A- in its 2019 Red Tape Report Card. That was Ontario’s highest grade ever, and a big jump from the C+ that the previous government received in 2018.