COLLABORATION THROUGH SHARED INTERESTS: REDUCING RED TAPE AND REGULATORY HURDLES

Earlier this summer, I made a motion asking City Administration to bring forward a report identifying how we can reduce barriers by one-third for our local entrepreneurs starting or growing a business. While that report is still being compiled, I wanted to highlight some significant work Administration has done to address red tape related hurdles. It’s often forgotten that municipalities are structured by the Municipal Governance Act; legislation controlled and governed by the Provincial Government. And so, while we strive to operate with best intentions and taxpayers in mind, we can be handcuffed by regulations outside of our control. This is where the Provincial Government, through their commitment to reduce red tape, can assist. On Monday, Executive Committee unanimously passed - without debate - the City’s Provincial Red Tape Reduction Submission based on four themes:

  1. Removing duplicate or unnecessary processes and rules;

  2. Increasing business competitiveness in Edmonton and Alberta;

  3. Minimizing regulations that are “open to interpretation” to strive for consistency, certainty and reducing administrative time; and

  4. Streamlining process and integration between ministries at the provincial level and the City.

The City’s submission will help to simplify and improve customer experience while ensuring the intent and necessary regulations remain in place (public safety and financial control, for example). These suggestions, if acted on by the Province, could help reduce regulatory hurdles for businesses, support service outcomes of Edmonton’s 2019-2022 Corporate Business Plan, and assist us in achieving the goals of the ConnectEdmonton strategic plan. Edmonton-based businesses that are starting, growing, and succeeding need the City and the Province to work together to ensure prosperity. I’m also pleased to see City Administration include the following for areas outside of our jurisdiction that can be actioned by this Provincial Government:

  • Clarify and streamline regulations for new clean energy technology businesses and applications

  • Allowing municipalities to set square footage regulations for licensed premises

  • Allowing appropriate development along Anthony Henday Drive and within Transportation Utility Corridors

  • Allowing for electronic notices for subdivision and development appeals

  • Eliminating redundant Development Permit Notifications to the applicant

  • Removing the limitations on the number of employees “across Canada” to qualify as a small business property

Municipalities in Alberta have faced strong criticism over the past few weeks for infrastructure costs, budget deficits, climate proposals, and regulatory hurdles placed on entrepreneurs. This report signifies we are doing everything in our allowed power to work with the Provincial Government in implementing policies to reduce these burdens that taxpayers face. I encourage you to speak with your MLAs about this Red Tape Reduction report and highlight the ways in which the government can empower municipalities to make your life easier. At the end of the day, we’re all working toward building a strong economy and a resilient Alberta. I look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with the Province and, as always, I am happy to hear your feedback and opinions on this or any other municipal issue. If you would like to reach out, you can connect with me by phone at 780-496-8120, by email at sarah.hamilton@edmonton.ca or via twitter @sjlhamilton.

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