Fax machines live on in some small businesses solely to communicate with government departments that have not updated their procedures, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. (Flickr)

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

The B.C. government’s new employer health tax has made the Canadian Federation of Independent Business 2020 “paperweight awards” list, an annual contest for “the worst examples of useless and excessive regulations.”

The tax that took effect in 2019 to replace B.C.’s Medical Services Plan premiums is assessed on payrolls of more than $500,000. Small businesses such as restaurants are facing a March 31 deadline to pay smaller amounts for 2019, and most businesses have been required since last year to pay the tax quarterly.

The tax “forces business owners to pay quarterly instalments based on estimates of their payroll, not their actual payroll,” the CFIB said in its announcement of the awards.

B.C.’s union-only public construction regulation also won a paperweight award, “for forcing employers and employees to comply with 336 pages of complex, inflexible union rules that go as far as outlining what kind of meat and condiments are acceptable in sandwiches.”

RELATED: Full weight of employer health tax to be felt in 2020

RELATED: Highway cost jumps 35% with union construction deal

The awards are part of the CFIB’s 11th annual Red Tape Awareness Week, which includes an open letter to all governments calling for them to take “at least one meaningful step to modernize in 2020.”

A symbol of the 2020 government reform effort is the fax machine, with a social media hashtag #axethefax.

“It’s crazy that in 2020 some business owners keep a fax machine solely to deal with governments, or have to stand in line for a simple business licence application,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s vice president for Atlantic Canada. “This kind of red tape costs Canadians and small businesses countless hours of wasted time and frustration.”

Other paperweight winners include Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis, which forces small brewers that outsource their brewing to a contract manufacturer to ship all of the final products to one of two official warehouses near Edmonton before they can sell at their store-fronts, “even if the contractor is located right next door.”

Several federal government departments make the list, including the Canada Revenue Agency for its collection of federal carbon tax. It requires truck drivers who drive through multiple provinces to fill out and return forms every quarter, “with complex math to show how much fuel was bought and used in each province.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clearwater Famers Market looking for help

“The Farmers Market and the North Thompson (Valley) need more local food.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Rainer Meat Cutting continues family tradition

Finding a new role in the days of COVID-19

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read