Budget 2000
Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
Honourable Paul Ramsey, Minister
This electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.




The Streamlining Initiative is part of the government commitment to review government regulations to reduce unnecessary red tape and paperwork, while protecting critical environmental and workplace standards.

The initiative began with the appointment in May 1998 of a Business Task Force with a mandate to reduce the cost of doing business in British Columbia and to cut red tape.

Chaired by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations, the 16-member task force included representatives from business, labour and government.

The task force approach was to invite streamlining suggestions from the business community, initiate or endorse major streamlining projects, and promote a new "streamlined" legislative process for "housekeeping" legislation. The new process expedites legislation that is not controversial, has few policy implications and either reduces the cost of doing business or increases government efficiency.

To continue and expand its mandate, the task force recommended that an ongoing Business Task Force on Regulatory Impact be appointed and regulatory impact statements for major new regulation be prepared and published. Regulatory Impact Statements are intended to demonstrate that these policy decisions are based on information on their objectives, alternatives, implications including, but not limited to business, and consultation with interested parties.

In September 1999, the first Business Task Force on Regulatory Impact was appointed and chaired by the Honourable Paul Ramsey, Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations. There are 18 members representing local and provincial government, business, labour, and government.

The new task force is continuing to invite streamlining suggestions from the community and will monitor ongoing projects. It will also provide advice on which new regulatory proposal will require the publication of a Regulatory Impact Statement, and will provide advice on the review of existing regulatory frameworks.

Progress to Date

Both task forces' activities and accomplishments are outlined in quarterly reports and are available on the Streamlining Web site (www.streamline.gov.bc.ca).

Highlights include:

Voice for the Business Community

The task force provides a new organized way for the business community and others to suggest ways to reduce red tape and the cost of regulation, and for the government to consult with business.

The initial task force assigned a high priority to 130 of over 500 suggestions it received. Half were implemented and another 40 per cent are underway.

The new task force is considering the outstanding proposals from last year, as well as about 100 new proposals it has received. Proposals that are still current and within the task force mandate will be pursued. Details of streamlining proposals and their status are available on the Streamlining Web site.

Major Policy Impact: Regulatory Impact Statement Requirements

The government adopted the task force recommendations by enacting the Regulatory Impact Statement Act. Under the Act, policies and procedures were established to set out when a regulatory impact statement must be published for new major regulation. The policies apply broadly to legislation, regulations and administrative policy and, to all government ministries and to all with the authority to make or recommend regulatory policy decisions. This includes entities like the Workers Compensation Board, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and self-regulatory organizations. Regulatory Impact Statements have been made public for six bills introduced by the government in the Spring 1999 legislative session, including the Unclaimed Property Act, which was a streamlining project.

To help put the new Regulatory Impact Statement requirements into practice, over 200 policy analysts throughout government participated in training sessions, and have been offered cost-benefit analysis workshops.

Streamlining Projects

The Business Task Force initiated or endorsed over 30 major streamlining efforts, including:

  • the liquor policy review, which revised and updated the province's liquor laws with input from affected business sectors;
  • the Oil and Gas Initiative, which created a one-window regulatory agency, established revenue sharing with local governments and revised royalty rates;
  • the forest action plan, a two-part strategy developed to stabilize and modernize British Columbia's forest sector and help industry, communities and workers move to a more diversified and sustainable future while maintaining strong environmental standards;
  • the high-tech employment standards strategy, which modified employment standards to meet the unique needs of the growing high-tech sector; and one-stop business registration, which is now possible in 47 communities around the province.

During the spring 1998 and 1999 sessions of the Legislature, the government passed the following bills related to streamlining:

These bills are available on the Legislative Assembly Web site (www.legis.gov.bc.ca).


The Streamlining Initiative aims to:

  • promote better (smarter) regulatory policy;
  • promote more balanced, efficient and effective regulatory administration; and
  • minimize regulatory impacts and burdens, including managing and reducing the cumulative impact of regulation.

A priority has been and will continue to be to promote more accountable regulatory policy decisions. The regulatory impact statement legislation and policy are important steps in that direction.

Equally important are wise enforcement and a critical examination of existing regulatory frameworks and their cumulative impact. As in other jurisdictions, these kinds of reforms require fundamental changes to existing priorities, and that is the long term objective of the Streamlining Initiative.


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