Local store graphic, no date, Pixabay

OPINION: Reducing red tape saves time, money for Alberta small businesses

There is nothing small about small business.

Making up 99 per cent of all businesses in our province and accounting for nearly half of all private sector employment, these companies contribute billions of dollars into Alberta’s economy every year.

The small business community is determined, innovative and fearlessly optimistic. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do more to support these entrepreneurs.

With this week being Small Business Week, I wanted to share a few of the ways that Alberta’s government is helping small businesses.

First and foremost, as the Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction, my goal is to cut red tape by one third to get Albertans back to work and to bolster Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

Small businesses told us from the start that the regulatory burden was crushing their competitiveness. That’s why we’re focused on streamlining time consuming processes, eliminating redundant reporting requirements, and modernizing regulatory frameworks to save small businesses both time and money.

So far we have made great progress, cutting red tape by more than 17 per cent.

So what does this mean for you or your business?

To start with, it means more opportunities for small distillers and more choice for consumers. Alberta’s liquor policies were outdated so we modernized them, spurring small businesses to increase sales, engage with customers and expand business opportunities with new products.

We also updated regulations to give Albertans more access to low-risk home-prepared goods like jams, jellies, canned goods and candies and created new revenue opportunities for bed and breakfasts.

Further, we eliminated more than 10,000 permits for Alberta’s truckers while maintaining road safety, meaning that they can continue to do what they do best, create jobs and drive our economic recovery.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of initiatives we have completed to date and we know there’s more to do.

We will continue to work with industry leaders, non-profits, Albertans and the experts on our Red Tape Reduction Industry Panels to identify regulatory barriers that are getting in the way of our job creators and slowing the economic recovery and growth of our province.

Eliminating unnecessary red tape that leads to meaningful impacts for Albertans will continue to be my number one priority, which is where you come in.

Our government shares a common vision with job creators operating small businesses: we want Alberta to be a destination that draws talent and leaders in innovation, investment, and business from across Canada and around the globe.

We need your ideas.

If you know of any red tape that continues to be a barrier for the success of small businesses in our province, we want to hear about it. No idea is too big or too small, so if you have an idea please share it with our team at CutRedTape@gov.ab.ca.

And for this week, I encourage you to stop by one of your favourite local businesses.

Happy Small Business Week!

Tanya Fir is the Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction