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

Chemainus Public Market vendors venture outdoors

Different functions in the works to appeal to all tastes

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Heartfelt memories of Derek Descoteau four years later

Victim of Chemainus murder and his brother leave a huge impact on a large group of friends

The Good Old Days

Glee club show from 67 years ago

City of Duncan, North Cowichan reopening municipal halls

North Cowichan’s municipal hall will reopen on June 15, but for tax payments only.

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

B.C. drive-in theatre shuts down to await appeal of car limits, concession rules

Business owner Jay Daulat voluntarily closed down the theatre awaiting a health ministry decision

Most Read