Survey, not surprisingly, indicates Surrey businesses not big fans of government red tape. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey businesses surveyed about government red tape

City of Surrey best, feds the worst, according to respondents

Did anyone ever really doubt that no one likes dealing with government red tape?

Well, the Surrey’s Board of Trade has made it official. It’s calling on governments to reduce red tape after its first annual survey on the topic indicates bureaucracy is tying up time better spent on doing business.

“With our first annual red tape survey, the Surrey Board of Trade has a baseline of our members’ perceptions so that we can measure how different levels of governments are improving their processess,” said Anita Huberman, CEO. “Filing forms and applying for licenses are a part of doing business, however, we want to ensure that it isn’t onerous for business.”

The board surveyed roughly 50 businesses large and small in November — that’s roughly 20 per cent of SBoT’s 2,500 members — and learned that nearly 40 per cent of respondents indicated that complying with government regulatory requirements has a “major impact” on their business while 42 per cent found it “moderately impactful.”

Anita Huberman

“Nearly 80 per cent of our respondents said there are opportunities to streamline reporting and make it less of a burden on business,” Huberman said. “We plan to implement the Red Tape survey annually to measure improvements over the years.”

Fourty-five per cent reported spending from one to five hours a week dealing with regulations and 33 per cent, more than six hours. Nearly 60 per cent identified as the “costly stage of compliance” trying to understand their obligations and preparing the required information. Morever, nearly 60 per cent of the responding businesses are frustrated they have to provide the same information to different government agencies. Half reported that in the past two years it has become more expensive to comply with government regulations and 60 per cent reported it’s taking more time to do so.

READ ALSO: Business View: Victoria tackles red tape

Those businesses surveyed also indicated that of the federal, provincial and civic governments, the City of Surrey communicated best and the feds, the worst.

Of all survey respondents, when it comes to dealing with federal government red tape, 45 per cent said they had to search for information and 37 per cent “spent a lot of time searching just to keep up to date.”

About 10 per cent rated the City of Surrey’s communications as “good,” more than 50 per cent were able to search and find information and just over 20 per cent spent “a lot of time searching just to keep up.”

The federal and provincial governments, meanwhile, rated less than five per cent for “good communication.”

The Canada Revenue Agency was identified as having the highest level of red tape by more than 50 per cent of the survey respondents while at the City level, engineering services was reported by more than 50 per cent of the survey respondents as having the most red tape, followed “very closely” by building and construction permits from submission through completion.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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