Province gets a D+
SUMMERSIDE – Prince Edward Island is tied up in red tape near the bottom of provinces dealing with the issue.
© file photo
Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of the city's technical services committee
Red Tape Ratings
Federal Government B+
British Columbia A
New Brunswick B
Nova Scotia C-
Prince Edward Island D+
Northwest Territories F
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued its Red Tape Report Card Tuesday. The results were not good for P.E.I.
“While some amount of regulation is certainly necessary to protect the public good and create a fair business environment, excessive regulation and paperwork is a productivity killer,” said Erin McGrath-Gaudet, CFIB’s director for P.E.I. “We’re pleased to see that government has identified this as a priority and are hopeful P.E.I.’s grade will improve next year.”
The report card is primarily assessing progress on regulatory accountability. The main criteria for success are measurement of, and publicly reporting on, the regulatory burden.
The report did have some optimism for P.E.I.’s situation if the province follows through on a commitment made in the Throne Speech.
“Progress to date has been largely focused on single initiatives, BizPal and HST,” researchers said in the report. “However, in the Speech from the Throne, government announced a co-ordinated government-wide initiative aimed at improving customer service, reducing duplication and developing a regulator’s code of practice. This is a significant promise and once implemented should improve P.E.I.’s grade.”
Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of Summerside’s technical services committee, said reducing red tape for business development, locally, has been a priority in drafting of the Summerside Official Plan.
“One of the things, as councillors, that we’ve heard in the past is that in Prince Edward Island and in the city, it may not be the easiest place to do business or get development,” he said. “We’ve taken a start as a city, as a corporation.”
Thomas said last year the city hired MRSB Consulting Services to conduct a business summit with developers and business people within the community and across the province on their experiences working in Summerside and to provide feedback about that.
“That’s an important first step,” he said. “You need to discuss what’s working, what isn’t working with the stakeholders, which in our case is the business and the developers. We need jobs in our communities and it’s not an easy thing. It’s competitive and it’s competitive across the country to attract companies.”
Thomas said from a technical services committee standpoint, it wants to ensure that while sticking to the provincial regulations, people and developers can conduct business.
“We have this (MRSB) report and staff are reviewing it on things we can change,” he said. “This is also part of the Official Plan committee, which is comprised of developers and residents and the Downtown Business Association. We’re consulting with the community to help write our Official Plan which will chart the future of where we’re going to go in terms of development within the city.”
Thomas said he doesn’t have a specific answer on how the city can improve the process other than consulting with the people that use the services and determine how the process can be made easier for them to do business in Summerside.
“A one-stop-shopping sort of thing where all of the information needed is there,” he said. “The key thing in P.E.I. to do is to always make sure that whatever processes and policies that are put in place, that it’s a bottom-up approach and not a top down approach. That is key. They’re the ones that have the financial vested interest in. They’re the ones that are going to create the jobs and we need to be there to assist them and help stimulate the economy.”
Thomas said a draft the city’s Official Plan should be ready by spring.