SUMMERSIDE – For Island towns now have a new process to make obtaining permits and licenses more efficient for the public.
BizPal, an online service that aims to save time, cut paperwork and help entrepreneurs, has been launched in Alberton, Kensington, Borden-Carleton and Georgetown.
BizPaL officials say their service helps Canadian businesses more easily obtain permits and licences.
Entrepreneurs provide information on the type of business they want to start or expand and the activities they plan to undertake.
The service automatically generates a list of all required permits and licences from all levels of government, along with basic information on each, and links to government sites where the entrepreneur can learn more and, in some cases, apply online.
“For a small business person it gives them one central place to go and get information from,” said Kensington Mayor Gordon Coffin. “I certainly know from my experience that if you are a small business person – where do I go? Where do I start? It can be scary.”
Coffin said BizPal isn’t the total solution but it does make the process easier.
“This doesn’t clear up all of the red tape but it says, ‘you go here, and here are all the pieces’,” he said. “So, for the Town of Kensington, if you wanted a business permit or a building permit all of those are now under the BizPaL website. You can click on it and it will say in Kensington you will need…and the contact person is our town manager. It makes it less inundating for the person who says where do I start?”
Coffin said the program will lighten the workload for town staff in some areas.
“It does make it easier but we still have all of the other things,” Coffin said. “There’s still a separate application for a building permit. There’s a separate application for sewer and water.”
Coffin said for the person applying, everything is all laid out.
“Piece A, piece B, piece C, piece D. They’re all in one area. The person can pick up the phone and say I’m looking at this and then the town manager can turn around and say you’ll need A and B but you don’t need to worry about B and C. And the forms are all there to click on and print out and drop it into the town.”
Alberton Mayor Mike Murphy said BizPal will be a significant help to his community.
“It’s a plus for the town,” Murphy said. “It takes some of the onus off administration to find the research and the necessary steps that you need to go through to get a permit. It’s convenient for the public. It’s a win-win all around as far as that goes.”
Murphy said besides being a more efficient way for the public to access the necessary permits and licences they require, BizPal will lighten the workload for town staff.
“It most definitely will (help staff),” the mayor said. “People will be able to find it and print it off on their own computers. Without it, it would probably take the administrator a bit of a while to search out the necessary information and go through the proper steps in general that you would need to go through.”
Murphy said BizPal is already on line for Alberton.
“We’re one of the first communities that are on it,” he said. “This is for most any permit like a business licence or a building permit.”
BizPaL, which receives $3 million annually in federal funding, is administered by Industry Canada in partnership with 12 provinces and territories and more than 645 municipalities.