Photo credit: The Niagara Independent
Earlier this week, the provincial government launched Ontario.ca/business, a one-stop online resource shop for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.
Part of the government’s broader Fewer Fees, Better Services Act, the new website is designed to reduce administrative burdens by providing the most pertinent information for starting and growing a business in Ontario in an accessible, centralized location.
“We’re working toward making it easier for entrepreneurs and growing businesses to navigate, access, and find the information they need to open their doors for business,” said Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Nina Tangri in a press release Tuesday.
“With the launch of the new website, we’re taking the first step toward a holistic, start-to-finish approach to allow entrepreneurs to more effectively interact with government in meeting the requirements to get their business up and running.”
The new website offers prospective and current business owners easy access to a variety of essential and valuable resources related to such things as business registration, funding opportunities, permits, licencing, insurance, taxes, and workplace rules and regulations.
The website also provides links to free legal advice and features an interactive map of every small business enterprise centre in Ontario.
Dolores Fabiano, executive director of the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce – an amalgamation of four local chambers, representing six Niagara municipalities – said the government initiative couldn’t have come at a better time, given the profusion of challenges faced by the business community today.
“Fewer fees, better services, cutting red tape and reducing regulatory burdens for businesses has never been more important!”, Fabiano told The Niagara Independent.
“These are, in fact, the reasons why many businesses do not access government resources. At a time when businesses are facing multiple challenges, a clear and concise guide to available tools and easy access to meaningful resources will go a long way to the ongoing sustainability of many of our small businesses.”
According to the province, over time the website will develop into an “intuitive, predictable, and transparent source of information” for new and growing businesses, with fresh tools continuously added to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and business owners.
In time, the website will also help take the confusion out of completing necessary paperwork and permits, including some that will be backed with a service guarantee.
“The launch of Ontario.ca/business is welcome news to the business community,” said CEO of the St. Catharines-based Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) Mishka Balsom. “The GNCC has asked governments at all levels to work towards a ‘one-stop shop’ for business owners, and this takes us a big step closer to that goal.”
“Those not in business may not realize the onerousness of red tape, regulations, permits, and fees. We can’t deny the need for regulations to promote public safety, environmental stewardship, and other social goods that deliver us a great quality of life. However, we must also recognize that regulation is a barrier to business and a disincentive to entrepreneurship, and governments must work to reduce that barrier wherever they can. Making it easier to do business will make business better.”
The Fewer Fees, Better Services Act received Royal Assent on Mar. 3, 2022.
Since first being elected in 2018, the Ford government has introduced and passed a total of seven substantial pieces of legislation aimed at creating economic opportunities by removing unnecessary regulatory burdens for people and businesses.