Alberta's prosperity depends on small business success

Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011 12:25 pm | Dan Singleton

Small businesses have always been one of the cornerstones of successful rural communities, including those across West Central Alberta.

From the earliest days of this province, businesses operating at the local town and village level have employed longtime residents and attracted newcomers, contributing in no small way to the overall success of Alberta’s economy.

On the other hand, when small businesses are forced to cut back or even close due to unreasonable amounts of government red tape it is bad news for everyone.

In an attempt to help the small business community in Alberta thrive and grow, the provincial government has launched a new task force with the stated aim of streamlining provincial regulatory hurdles that small businesses currently have to jump through to carry on their day-to-day activities.

The five-member MLA Red Tape Reduction Task Force, which is being chaired by Sundre-Rocky Mountain House MLA Ty Lund, will work with small business leaders and associations from across Alberta over the next 60 days to gather input about improving the regulatory environment in which small business operates, says Premier Alison Redford.

“Without small business, our province’s economic growth would simply not be possible,” said Redford. “Alberta has the largest number of small businesses per capita in Canada and we want to ensure that we have the right rules in place for health, safety and the environment while reducing the regulatory burden that gets in the way of business doing its job.

“The task force will make recommendations for Alberta's regulatory processes to improve quality and address issues of ‘red tape’ burden from provincial requirements on an on-going basis while ensuring the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of Albertans.”

As one of the longest current serving MLAs and a former county reeve, Ty Lund is a good choice to head this new task force, which is expected to present its final report, including recommendations, to the Redford government by the end of March. The Tories will then, in turn, decide which recommendations, if any, to act upon.

During its consultations the task force will no doubt hear from small business owners and small business association officials that streamlining regulatory barriers will make good business sense and help the overall provincial economy.

Hopefully the Alberta government will listen to the small businesses that provide submissions and comments to Lund’s task force and make any reasonable regulatory changes, while at the same time, as Premier Redford says, “ensuring the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of Albertans.”


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