Ontario Premier Doug Ford is one of the four “red tape crusaders” to be honoured with Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses’ (CFIB) Golden Scissors Award.
The award is given every year to a politician, public servant or government that eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy standing in the way of small businesses.
This year, Ford raised Ontario’s grade in the eyes of the CFIB, earning the province an A- for introducing Bill 47, which brought sweeping changes to labour legislation, and reduced red tape for small businesses.
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Other recipients of the award are former President of the Treasury Board Scott Brison, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, the CFIB said Thursday. While the business advocacy group typically annually awards a single winner, this year it broke with tradition to mark the 10th anniversary of Red Tape Awareness Week, and selected a winner from each level of government.
For the CFIB and its 110,000 members, three of the Ford’s biggest accomplishments in Bill 47 include changing all journeyman to apprentice ratio to 1:1, phasing out the College of Trades, which regulates skilled trade in the province, and eliminating the former Liberal government’s strict rules of “requiring businesses to track every movement of their scheduled employees into and out of the office or face stiff penalties.”
Julie Kwiecinski, director of provincial affairs in Ontario for CFIB, said the three initiatives would create jobs, eliminate burdensome paperwork and give small business owners and their employees more flexibility.
“It’s very impressive that the government was able to give Ontario such a quick turnaround. In only six months they went from a C+ to an A-,” said Kwiecinski. “It’s the highest grade Ontario has ever received.”
Kwiecinski also said the Ontario government could raise its grade even higher, to an A. According to the CFIB report card it can achieve this by updating its regulatory count from 2012, and introduce a ‘one-for-one legislation’ once it has hit its 25 per cent reduction target.
“It is such an honour to receive the Golden Scissors Award,” said Ford in a media statement. “My government promised to make it easier to do business in Ontario and we are keeping that promise.”
Despite the accolade from CFIB, lobby groups and unions have criticized Ford for Bill 47. When the bill passed in Nov. 2018, the Ontario Federation of Labour said in a statement that it “takes away basic workplace rights from Ontarians.”
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage also won as a team for their collaboration in the “Joint Project for Regulatory Modernization”, an initiative to reduce red tape at the municipal level in Halifax.
Former federal President of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison was honoured for his work to reduce restricting and unnecessary grade inspection for apples and blueberries when they are produced in other provinces, and expanding organic labeling to include aquaculture like farmed fish and crab.