B.C. town wins national award for cutting red tape

The City of Langford, British Columbia, grabbed the national spotlight Thursday, earning the 2014 Golden Scissors Award for its plan to reform business licences.

Langford Mayor Stew Young: "Our council felt that adopting a permanent business licence was a practical decision that would benefit business owners and citizens alike."

The City of Langford, British Columbia, grabbed the national spotlight Thursday, earning the 2014 Golden Scissors Award for its plan to reform business licences.

The small city swept aside dozens of larger federal and provincial agencies to win the award, which is handed out each year by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to recognize efforts in cutting red tape to foster growth.

The CFIB said Langford's "positive action" ensures that all business licenses issued in the municipality will now remain in effect until there is a major change to the business, such as relocation. The federation added that while requiring annual renewal of business licences is a guaranteed source of revenue for local governments, it adds needless costs and paperwork for small business owners.

"It's such a simple thing, but it makes so much sense — there's no reason why other cities across Canada can't do the very same thing tomorrow," said CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones. "In fact, that's exactly what CFIB is calling on them to do."

Langford claims its decision to reduce the red-tape burden on its small businesses won't cost municipal coffers much. While the city loses about $70,000 a year in revenue, it will save about $40,000 a year on the costs to administer the program.

"On behalf of my colleagues on Langford city council, I am honoured to accept the Golden Scissors Award," Mayor Stew Young said in a statement. "Our council felt that adopting a permanent business licence was a practical decision that would benefit business owners and citizens alike. We hope other municipalities look to Langford as a model of what a small business-friendly community can be."

The CFIB presented the award to Young on the fourth day of Red Tape Awareness week in Canada. A panel of senior CFIB employees chose the winner from dozens of nominations across Canada.