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)

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

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read