TORONTO, ON – Part of Ontario’s new omnibus legislation, Bill 154, Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017, appears to be modelled on an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump – an order that forces the gutting of government regulations, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
“It’s hard to believe, but the Wynne government has put forward a Bill that is very similar to a much-maligned executive order from Donald Trump, which says that every time the US government creates a new regulation, any associated costs must be offset by slashing two existing regulations,” says Hahn. “It boggles the mind that Ontario’s Liberal government has seen fit to take its legislative inspiration from the train wreck that is the Trump presidency.”
Buried deep in an omnibus Bill that is 144 pages long, Schedule 4 of Ontario’s Bill 154 stipulates that every time the Ontario government creates a new regulation, or reviews an existing one, it will have to assess the cost for business to comply with that regulation, publish the cost assessment, and then provide an “offset” to eliminate the compliance cost of the new regulation, plus 25 per cent.
Similarly, Trump’s Executive Order 13771, entitled Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, signed on January 30, 2017, requires, in part, that “any new incremental costs associated with new regulations be offset by the elimination of existing costs associated with at least two prior regulations.” Ontario’s Bill 154 requires that new regulatory costs to profit-seeking businesses be offset by an amount equal to 125 per cent of the new assessed regulatory compliance cost.
Bill 154 is not clear on exactly how the offset will be achieved, but it is written such that a government could provide the required offsets, either through eliminating an already existing regulation or by a cash equivalent plus 25 per cent, possibly by means of a tax credit.
“Ontarians are either going to pay through the loss of an existing regulation made to protect them and their families, or they will pay out cash that should be going to support public services like childcare or hospitals,” Hahn says,
“In either case, it’s just wrong.”
“The view that government regulations are about safeguarding us should have been cemented in Ontario after the Walkerton water crisis, not to mention the financial crisis of 2008, where Canadian financial regulations were widely credited with mitigating the damage to our economy. Anyone who cares about public safety, public accountability and business not operating in the totally unregulated wild west, should be upset,” Hahn says. “This is Ontario and Trump-style policy just isn’t going to fly here.”
On October 19, Bill 154 will be the subject of public hearings called by the Ontario Standing Committee on Justice Policy. The CUPE Ontario president is scheduled to make a presentation.
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
For more information, contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638