When politicians get together to cut a red ribbon, usually it’s to unveil some spiffy new building or piece of infrastructure.
On Monday, Jan. 21, afternoon at Toronto City Hall, the scissors were there for the ribbon itself. Or rather, for the red tape.
Mayor Rob Ford and several of his colleagues on council joined up with Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to cut the red tape on Red Tape Awareness Week.
This is the third time that Mayor Ford has declared the week, to raise awareness about government regulation of business that some say is a major drag on economic growth.
“Red tape is the number two issue for small business and consumes a massive amount of time, money and also emotional stress for small business owners who are often dealing with the red tape in their own time,” said Kelly, president and CEO of the CFIB.
Mayor Ford, sporting a Maple Leafs hockey jersey, said that the city has embarked on various initiatives to make it easier for businesses to navigate city hall’s regulatory environment.
“Cutting red tape is making a huge difference but we still have much, much more to do, folks,” said Ford. “We have to get more jobs in this city. We can’t have them in lines waiting for days, weeks, whatever. So with my great team behind us we’re working on a number of projects and as soon as they’re implemented, you’ll be the first to know.”
Ford pointed to several initiatives the city has undertaken.
It is a partner in the national BizPaL service, that provides an online searchable database of business permits and licences for all levels of government, and it’s expanding its own e-service capabilities for producers and film companies.
Toronto has also implemented an online business licence payment system. And the city has cut the turnaround time for issuing street occupation permits.
As well, the city has implemented a gold star service for business, making the development review time shorter for employers.