Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It is a great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon to talk about how we can reduce red tape for SMEs.
As you already mentioned, Mr. Michael Vandergrift, who's the assistant secretary of regulatory affairs at the Treasury Board Secretariat, is with me. We're pleased to comment on Bill C-21, which enshrines the one-for-one rule into law and as a result will help to permanently control the growth of federal regulatory red tape.
The one-for-one rule, I should mention to committee, has already been in place as a rule for more than two years.
The one-for-one rule has been in place for more than two years.
It is a cornerstone of the government's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, which we launched in October 2012 to eliminate unnecessary regulations, while maintaining high standards for safety and protection.
The purpose of the rule is to make regulation as pain free and efficient as possible for Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, and to free them up for what they do best, that to is to say, to grow, innovate, and create jobs.
Specifically the one-for-one rule requires regulators to monetize—and I will get into that a bit later—and offset any increases in administrative burden that result from regulatory changes with equal reductions from existing regulations. One rule comes on and one or more rules must come off. In addition, when a brand new regulatory title is introduced that adds administrative burden, an existing regulation must also be repealed.
This approach has already proven to be effective.
During the first year of implementation, it provided successful system-wide control on regulatory red tape that impacted businesses. As of June of this year, the rule had resulted in a net annual reduction of more than $22 million insofar as it is calculated for administrative burden on businesses, an estimated annual savings for businesses of 290,000 hours—that's 33 years dealing with regulatory red tape—and a net of 19 federal regulations taken off the books.
As I mentioned earlier, the government is committed to help permanently control federal regulatory red tape.
That's why we decided to propose to Parliament that we enshrine the one-for-one rule into law, and that's why we introduced the red tape reduction act. By giving the one-for-one rule the added muscle of legislation, Canada will have one of the most aggressive red tape regulations in the world.
The one-for-one rule and other red tape reduction action plan reforms are, I can report to you, bringing a new level of discipline to how government regulates and creates a more predictable environment for businesses. And believe me, that is their request and demand of government.
And we are doing it while maintaining high standards for the safety and protection of Canadians.
Canadians count on their government and on their regulatory system to uphold the public trust.
I can assure you that the government will continue to protect the health and safety of our citizens, but we will do that while freeing businesses from unnecessary costly and time-consuming red tape. Our approach is designed to increase Canadian competitiveness and to free businesses to innovate, invest, grow, and create jobs without being impeded by unnecessary government regulations. With this bill and by following through on our other red tape commitments, we are helping to cement Canada's reputation as one of the best places in the world in which to do business and invest.
I just want to describe very briefly some of our other commitments. They include introducing the small business lens, posting forward regulatory plans on the web, increasing service standards for high-volume regulatory authorizations, and keeping track of our progress in reducing red tape through the annual scorecard report.
It's precisely because we have taken such actions that Bloomberg recently ranked Canada as the second-best country in the world in which to do business. We believe that it is the private sector and the ingenuity and creativity of hard-working Canadians that should and does create economic growth, jobs, and long-term prosperity.
Indeed, our role as the government is to put in place the right balance of policies to support them.
We are doing that not just through our red tape reduction reforms but also through other measures that secure Canada's long-term economic prosperity, including a competitive tax regime, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G-7, and a stable banking environment.
With that, I can say thank you.