Creating jobs and economic growth by reducing regulatory burdens facing Ontario’s entrepreneurs and investors – The findings from five municipal pilot projects.

In June of 2016, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) entered into a contract with the Minister of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG) to launch a “Business Burden Reduction Project”, focusing on ways that, in collaboration, both orders of government could identify opportunities to reduce the regulatory burdens of cost and delay on businesses. Following a broad invitation to Ontario municipalities, five municipalities volunteered to undertake individual pilot projects in specific areas of perceived burdens to business – the City of Barrie, the County of Bruce, the City of Hamilton, the City of London, and Peterborough Economic Development / the City of Peterborough. AMO contracted with a Facilitator, Michael Fenn, to work with the pilot projects and to prepare a summary report. This is a report on the progress and achievements of those five municipal “business burden reduction” pilot projects.

The pilot projects identified approaches that would make for better regulation, including: client-focused regulation; measuring aggregate and cumulative effects of regulation; “up-streaming” compliance procedures; process re-engineering; and, applying the Pareto principle to delegation.

The pilot projects yielded several innovative, “business burden reduction” breakthroughs results, including these four:
  • Expanding employment and the municipal tax base by helping investors and expanding businesses use a “Sherpa” or “concierge” to guide them through an integrated, automated regulatory approvals process;
  • Promoting investment and economic sustainability in rural and small town Ontario, by overcoming the gaps in business information facing individual entrepreneurs in the rural economy;
  • Creating more construction employment and more housing supply by streamlining business processes in land-use development; and,
  • Facilitating investment in Ontario’s hospitality, beverage and tourism sectors by reducing the business licensing challenges facing craft brewers, micro-distillers and brew-pubs.
Using the regulatory reform measures identified in the pilot projects, municipalities across Ontario can assist in meeting these seven priorities:
  • Increasing and sustaining employment, by reducing the complexity and cycle-time for complying with regulations;
  • Making it easier for entrepreneurs to expand businesses and employment in rural Ontario;
  • Creating welcoming track for external and domestic investors;
  • Making more land readily or quickly available to accommodate new economic activities;
  • Bolstering the regional tourism, hospitality and beverage industries;
  • Increasing the supply of housing and the range of housing options; and,
  • Increasing the success of regulation by making compliance easier, less costly, more predictable, evidence-based and results-focused.