Province announces red tape hotline for businesses
Business Navigators program will help entrepreneurs navigate regulations
The province of New Brunswick is introducing a pilot program which it says will help businesses navigate regulations and red tape.
The Business Navigators program will provide entrepreneurs with a phone number and email they can use to contact the province with any questions they have about regulations that deal with running or starting a business in New Brunswick.
In a statement on the province's website, Economic Development and Small Business Minister Mary Wilson said the initiative will start Thursday and will help businesses "spend less time navigating rules and regulations and more time running their businesses and growing our economy."
John Wishart, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Moncton, welcomes the move.
"I think overall we would consider this a positive step by the province," said Wishart.
"One thing we consistently hear from business is they do have trouble navigating layers of red tape and bureaucracy … It's great to have a central starting point and a one-person contact for any need that you might have."
Delays a problem
Wishart says when it comes to red tape and regulations in the province, the biggest problem is the delay that comes with them.
"Maybe there's a developer who's ready to break ground, he thinks he's met all the regulations set out by the province and then finds out that he's missing one or he's misinterpreted a piece of legislation or regulation," said Wishart.
Jim Cormier, the Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada, said while the move won't drastically change day-to-day operations for businesses, he's happy the province has moved on this as every little bit helps.
"Any step forward in this is a positive step," said Cormier.
"You know it's small,small steps. But the point that we've always made is that if you take about 10 small steps, it all of a sudden has a bigger impact on a business."
Nova Scotia influence
The province said its taking much of the framework for the program from a similar initiative in Nova Scotia.
The Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness in Nova Scotia offers much of the same assistance the Business Navigators program will in New Brunswick.
In July, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told CBC News 4,000 entrepreneurs had used the services of the office.
Cormier said the businesses he represents in Nova Scotia are fans of the office.
"Overall we've been big fans of the [office] given the fact that they were really leaders when it came to having a dedicated resource that would deal with helping employers navigate the maze that can be working with governments at different levels," said Cormier.
The New Brunswick program will be offered through Opportunities NB as opposed to a separate office, like in Nova Scotia.
While Wishart approves of the program, he said this doesn't mean the government should stop looking at how to better help businesses.
"It still doesn't remove the need, I think, for government to look overall at the number of regulations and red tape that exists and try to streamline that," he said.