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Cutting red tape will help create jobs: MPP Smith

Todd Smith

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith says new legislation introduced Thursday will cut red tape to make it easier for businesses to create jobs — and for people to find them.

“We have a real problem in Ontario with red tape, which is a big part of the high cost of doing business here,” said Smith. “It’s more urgent than ever to lighten the regulatory burden so our job creators can grow and invest in Ontario. When our job creators thrive, our workers thrive.”

Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced a package of more than 30 actions to reduce the burden on job creators. If passed, he said the ‘Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act’ will, along with regulatory changes, cut business costs, harmonize regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions, end duplication and reduce barriers to investment.

He states the package includes actions that would give businesses more flexibility to create jobs such as removing planning barriers to cut red tape and shorten the time it takes to get projects off the ground.

The proposals would build on the ‘Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018’, and is part of the government’s multi-year plan, which Smith notes is tackling the red tape that’s driving jobs and investment out of the province.

The plan includes a target to reduce regulatory red tape affecting businesses by 25 per cent over four years. Every ministry across the government will have targets to meet, which will cut regulatory burden in many sectors.

“The Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act is the second in a series of bills targeted at getting government out of the way of the job creators,” said Smith. “We’re going to lower business costs to make Ontario more competitive.”

Among the changes:
– Allowing more children at in-home child care
– Lower the age of children that authorized recreation programs can serve from six to four
– Modernize and streamline administrative requirements for the operators of long-term care (LTC) homes
– Ensure provincial approvals for job-creating projects come within one year so businesses can begin construction
– Confirm with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) that industrial properties will be assessed based on current permitted uses, not speculative uses
– Remove outdated and time-consuming reporting requirements under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, including ones required for loan guarantee programs
– Expand testing of connected and autonomous vehicles in Ontario
– Allow electric motorcycles on controlled highways to create more options for customers and boost the industry
– No longer force school boards, hospitals, municipalities and other public institutions to have collective agreements for construction work to open competitions and lower costs.
– Amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to reduce regulatory burden on businesses, including no longer requiring them to obtain approval from the Director of Employment Standards for excess hours of work and overtime averaging
– Stop requiring a new regulation whenever businesses and non-profits merge single-employer pension plans into jointly sponsored pension plans
– Eliminated regulatory and licensing requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles

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  1. rob says:

    Owning land in what is now the Greenbelt was not a gamble until the government interfered. There are 856,424 acres of farmland in the greenbelt. Much of it a long way from urban centres where speculation of land is a real factor. My point would be, if we want to create a common good greenbelt, buy the land outright and control how it is used. To your point, if the purpose is to help improve conditions, then things can be controlled in such a way by the MOE or similar. Manure, herbicides and livestock operations are fair game in the Greenbelt. The problem is in not being able to expand your farm, since your equity was blown up by the Greenbelt, and no other farmer wants to buy you out since you are on or adjacent to the Greenbelt, so you are stuck in the middle due to a unilateral government decree. Out of over 2,000,000 Greenbelt acres, 237,154 acres is wetland that can be protected separately through its own unilateral decrees. The water shed of Lake Ontario is immensely bigger than the Greenbelt, and being the last great lake is also an accumulating basin for the other great lakes feeding it, so the point of cleansing Lake Ontario is somewhat muted anyway, not to mention the bi-lateral aspect of sharing it with the USA. Bottom line is the Greenbelt “cost” is borne by the 5500 farms within its boundaries, and those people were not compensated in any way. The Greenbelt is really about having a boundary to urban sprawl, and in fact that is also somewhat useless since that sprawl has been proven to jump the Greenbelt anyway, and ends up being carbon adverse since it leads to more commuting. The Greenbelt feels good to us, but in reality is not accomplishing much at present. In fifty or seventy five years it will look brilliant, and we can thank 5500 farmers that were financially gutted to do it.

  2. Nice to see people are reading my comments even if they prefer to remain secretive about who they are when replying.
    Yes my concern, and the concern of 4 million in the GTA, is about sanitary and chemical-free drinking water draining into the Great Lakes. Farmland does not provide that. Wetlands and forests without manure and pesticides need protection and expansion.
    Sure beavers and deer leave some e-coli but not like dairy and beef feedlots and spreading liquid pig manure on those open spaces.
    I believe farmers should be compensated for restrictions placed on some of their activities due to the Green Belt that benefits the urban dwellers. Farmers were there first and suburbia encroached, raising the value of land. That was a windfall profit for the farmers who sold out but why would a farmer purchase land at the urban market value? There’s no compensation for poor judgement or poor luck in real estate. That’s a game for gamblers. Stakes are high. Win big, lose big.
    Meanwhile there are many subsidies available to reduce your pollution such as fencing cows out of watercourses and building manure storage lagoons. That’s win-win for farmer and drinking water users.
    New York State strictly protects the wild Adirondack Mountains, the water source for New York City. Green Belt is intended to be that for the GTA.

  3. rob says:

    What makes you think that the greenbelt is all source water protection and sensitive areas? To a high, high percentage it is open space and farmland. While that is important to protect as well, it is being done on the backs of private citizens. There was no compensation for the overnight destruction of property values of farms in the greenbelt, or even adjacent to it. We farm adjoining the greenbelt and it killed us almost overnight. Land worth a fraction of what it was purchased, no possibility to finance expansion, unilateral decrees over-riding generations of work. Greenbelt is not just about wetlands and source water, it is about attempting to curb the ambitions of municipal politicians, and while that is noteworthy, it can’t be carried by a relative handful of landowners.

  4. As a lifelong self-employed entrepreneur and former 100-acre farm owner and operator, I appreciate the need to reduce the bureaucratic obstacles and costs that waste time and efficiency of sole-proprietors and small to medium size businesses.

    That being said, regulations are normally in place to prevent private enterprises from harming the commonwealth and greater good of the general population, for instance the environment.

    Rumour has it from the Green Party of Ontario that the Premier plans to go back on his campaign promise not to open the GTA “Green Belt” to urban development. Doing so would be a call to battle for everyone who holds these protected forests and watersheds dear in the name of our clean and abundant drinking water as well as wildlife and outdoor recreation close to Canada’s largest metropolitan area.

    Safeguards to our clean water and air are definitely not the kind of red tape we want to eliminate. Neither are our programs for energy conservation and renewable energy projects to reduce our dependence on dirty and diminishing fossil fuels.

    What is this government thinking! Who comes up with these ideas? And why do citizens sit back and let them tear away?

  5. Scott Farkus says:

    Aren’t some of these regulations safety related? I’m all for making it easier for people to do business, but not if it reduces public safety. Increasing the number of children for unlicensed daycare facilities, and eliminating regulations on upholstered and stuffed objects (Does this mean they can be made with flammable materials now?)just sounds like a preventable accident waiting to happen.

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