The Government of the Northwest Territories has received a failing grade for the amount of red tape businesses need to overcome to operate in the NWT.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) gave the territory an ‘F’ in its annual red tape report card, issued this week.
CFIB describes red tape as a massive hidden tax that affects small businesses more than it affects larger firms.
“Red tape is the frustration that business owners feel when dealing with governments,” said Amber Ruddy, who represents the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in the NWT.
“[Our] red tape report card is an exercise in accountability.”
Ruddy says the report card considers a number of factors, including political leadership, public measurement and constraints on regulations.
“We need to look at all public policy decisions through a small business lens and figure out how we can streamline things and make things easier for entrepreneurs,” she said.
“We’re hearing that red tape is the number one issue and the smaller the business, the harder it is to comply.
“What we need to see is the GNWT recognize that red tape is an issue … and start taking action.”
One solution, Ruddy says, is to appoint a cabinet minister to overlook regulatory reform in the territory.
“We’re finding that there isn’t significant action taken on red tape unless there is a champion within the government,” she said.
“But we’ve seen minimal effort to take action and identify those barriers to competitiveness for small businesses.”
Historically, Ruddy says the Northwest Territories has performed poorly in annual report cards while other jurisdictions have shown signs of improvement.
We’ve reached out to the territorial government for comment.