Harper Government Reducing Red Tape to Create Jobs and Opportunities

January 28, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), alongside the Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, today outlined how the Government of Canada is eliminating red tape to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expand and succeed here at home and in new markets around the world.

For example, in cases where two export permits are required for the same product, the Government of Canada is moving to eliminate the duplication. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada has also proposed streamlining export permits for dual-use goods and technologies to certain destinations. Further red tape was eliminated recently to help Canadian manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of imported steel and steel products. They are no longer required to obtain individual permits; instead, they use general import permits for all steel imports covered by the Federal Import Control List. This eliminated the need for some 270,000 permits a year, resulting in savings of up to $10 million annually.

Minister Fast also highlighted how the coming into force of the Canada-European Union agreement will further reduce barriers to trade between Canada and the largest and most lucrative market in the world. Red tape reduction measures to help SMEs in the agreement include eliminating tariffs, locking in fair and predictable conditions for business, creating mechanisms to reduce unnecessary red tape and ensuring that each side treats the other’s companies and goods the same way as they treat their own. All of these measures help ensure that world-class Canadian workers and businesses are able to realize the full benefits of this historic agreement.

Reducing red tape is in keeping with the government’s priorities under the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council and the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

Quick Facts

  • Accounting for 99.8 percent of all Canadian companies, SMEs are the backbone of the Canadian economy.
  • Under the Global Markets Action Plan, the government is working with Canada’s critical SME sector to grow its footprint in emerging markets to meet the following targets:
    • Grow Canada’s SME export presence in emerging markets from 29 percent to 50 percent by 2018.
    • This would grow Canada’s SME footprint in emerging markets from 11,000 to 21,000 companies.
    • This growth would create over 40,000 net new jobs.
  • Since 2009, the Harper government has eliminated close to 1,900 tariffs, including the elimination of all tariffs on imported machinery, equipment and manufacturing inputs, to make Canada the first tariff-free manufacturing zone in the G-20.
  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business likens dealing with red tape to death by a thousand cuts.
  • SMEs with fewer than 100 employees make up 86 percent of all exporting companies.
  • The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will eliminate 98 percent of all EU tariffs, which will translate into increased profits and opportunities for Canadian SMEs in every part of the country.


“Our government is committed to making it easier for Canadians to do business abroad because we understand clearly that this helps create jobs and prosperity here at home. That’s why, through our ambitious trade plan, we are reducing or eliminating red tape for our world-class businesses around the world. And through the Global Markets Action Plan, we’re looking to double the number of SMEs exporting to emerging markets by 2018, which will create 40,000 net new jobs.”

- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

“Small businesses are the engine of the Canadian economy, and they are equipped to respond to market demands. By reducing red tape and trade barriers such as tariffs, CETA will provide Canadian small businesses with a competitive advantage and allow them to grow their business and create jobs.”

- Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture)

Associated Links


Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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