The Red Tape Commission made its final Northwestern Ontario stop in Fort Frances yesterday, fielding complaints of provincial regulations and procedures that have hampered day-to-day operations in the district.
“There actually has been a fairly diverse list of issues,” said MPP Bob Wood, co-chair of the commission which has been set up to eliminate paperwork that’s not absolutely essential.
Town reps began by noting legislative changes related to the uncontrollable tax levies have caused a costly delay in issuing the second instalment of this year’s municipal tax bills.
“It’s a massive amount of regulation we have to interpret and apply. If it wasn’t a regulatory issue before, it certainly is now,” argued CAO Bill Naturkach.
Wood admitted problems related to provincial downloading have been voiced by a number of communities.
“The who does what has been quite a major change,” he said. “There are two things we hear—can we do it more quickly and can we do it properly so we don’t get it wrong.”
Another complaint the commission has received from numerous communities is the amount of time it’s taken to receive development permits.
“The issue that I brought forth on behalf of a member was an issue regarding land transfers and the difficulty with the red tape and also the issue of removing liens,” said Tannis Drysdale, a former president of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
Drysdale said she was pleased with the response—and news the government has recognized that issue and has been testing a pilot project to make the process a one-time thing over the Internet.