Better for People, Smarter for Business Act

Published on October 07, 2020

The government has a plan to make Ontario work better for people and smarter for business as we continue down the road to recovery. Minister Sarkaria and this government has introduced the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act that, if passed, would help drive the province’s economic recovery by removing regulatory roadblocks to help businesses thrive again and create good jobs and opportunities for Ontarians. As we continue to apply necessary health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, this government is taking action to ensure an effective response and a strong economic recovery for struggling businesses in the weeks and months ahead.


The Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020 is the latest in a series of red tape reduction and regulatory modernization efforts to deliver meaningful results for Ontario. Along with other regulatory changes, the plan will strengthen Ontario’s economic recovery, support businesses on the ground, and help government deliver clear and effective rules that promote public health and safeguard the environment without sacrificing innovation, growth and opportunity. 


This plan will cut unnecessary costs on business, reduce unnecessary burdens, and digitalize processes to help more people and businesses recover from the economic effects of COVID-19, while preparing them for the opportunities of the future. 


Since 2018, the government has digitalized and streamlined processes, reduced duplication and modernized rules – which have amounted to a “tax-like-cut” of $338 million annually to businesses.


The Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020 will strengthen economic recovery, help businesses and government better adapt, and create the conditions for investment and prosperity over the long term by:  


  • By cutting costs on bus red tape to help businesses and people increase cash flow, invest in safety measures, and rebuild.


  • By reducing unnecessary and duplicative requirements for private and public-sector businesses and organizations to save time and streamline how government works. 


  • By modernizing regulations and digitizing to increase innovation and prepare people and businesses for the opportunities of the future. 


This new act would help government deliver clear, current, and effective rules that maintain or enhance public health, safety, and the environment. This work builds on the regulatory measures Ontario has already taken to support the needs of frontline workers, businesses, and hardworking families. Including:


  • allowing restaurants to expand their licensed patio areas to support social distancing and small businesses.


  • switching to off-peak time-of-use electricity rates


  • making $10 billion available to improve cash flow


Modern regulations that are easier to understand and comply with would allow people and businesses to invest time and money in what’s important right now: recovering, rebuilding, and re-emerging from this crisis stronger than before. Continuing to improve Ontario’s regulatory framework is key to making Ontario work better for people and smarter for business in this recovery period and beyond.


In detail, these proposed changes would also: 

  • Require gas and electric utilities to adopt the Green Button Connect My Data and Download My Data standard to help Ontarians understand their energy use and reduce costs;


  • Support renewable and alternative fuels and emissions reduction technology;


  • Allow single traffic studies for an entire specified highway corridor or area to reduce duplication and enable developers to get shovels in the ground faster;


  • Protect the environment and the health and safety of Ontarians by improving hazardous waste tracking;


  • Consult on amendments to clarify when pre-start reviews are required in factories in order to make it easier for businesses to comply;


  • Make it easier for property developers to get the environmental information they need by moving from a manual paper-based process to a much faster separate alternative digital delivery platform;


  • Require water bottling companies to receive support from the host municipality prior to applying for a new or increased permit to take ground water;


  • Help intercommunity bus carriers fill service gaps and meet local community transit needs.


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