Small Business Lens

The objective of the small business lens is to reduce regulatory costs on small businesses without compromising the health, safety, security and environment of Canadians.

As announced in Budget 2011 and based on the Recommendations Report: Cutting Red Tape…Freeing Business to Grow, the government has introduced the small business lens to "hardwire" attention to small business realities when designing regulations.

Why is the small business lens important?

The small business lens ensures that regulators are sensitive to the needs of small businesses when they design regulations. When designing regulations, regulators now must demonstrate to ministers that they have done what they can to minimize the impact on small business.

The lens introduces a number of new requirements that regulators must consider when designing regulations that will impact small business. Regulators must complete a checklist that drives consultation with small business to understand their realities at the earliest stages of design. They must also demonstrate to ministers that due consideration was given to reduce the burden associated with the option imposed upon small business. If a less burdensome option is not adopted, regulators must justify why.

The Small Business Lens is also featured as a cross-cutting tool in the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan, in which Canada and the United States agreed to share approaches and tools to assess and account for the needs of small businesses when developing regulations.

Guidelines and tools are available to help departments and agencies implement these new requirements.

How does it change current practices?

The lens requires regulators to consider the impact that regulations have on small business to ensure they do not have unintended consequences. Regulators must consider flexible regulatory options that reduce costs to small businesses without compromising the health, environment, safety and security of Canadians. Results are made publicly available in the Regulatory Impact and Analysis Statement for the regulation when published in the Canada Gazette. The checklist must also be included and posted publicly.

How will success be measured?

To demonstrate results to business and to Canadians, an Annual Scorecard Report is published on the systemic regulatory reforms the government is putting in place, particularly on the implementation of the "One-for-One" Rule, the small business lens, and service standards for high volume regulatory authorizations.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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