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January 21, 2013
This week is Red Tape Awareness Week in Toronto
Mayor Rob Ford has proclaimed January 21 to 25 Red Tape Awareness Week in Toronto.

The Mayor was joined by Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, and Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, for the proclamation at Toronto City Hall today.

"I am committed to improving customer service and cutting the red tape at City Hall. I am very proud of the many improvements we have made," said Mayor Ford. "We have reduced wait times, improved customer service and developed new initiatives to help businesses save time and money."

Initiatives are currently in place and more are being developed to help businesses better access and use the City's services. Some examples:

• The City is an ongoing partner in the national BizPaL service, which allows businesses to search for and access online business permits and licences required at all levels of government.
• The City is expanding its e-service capabilities to allow event producers and film companies to easily access the forms and permits required to produce events and films throughout the city.
• Through the Workforce Development Strategy, the City of Toronto is helping people find jobs and helping companies secure the skilled employees they need, through a new web page called Toronto WorkOne. This gateway gives employers and jobseekers easy access to the many resources, supports and services the City offers.
• The online business licence payment system in Municipal Licensing and Standards allows licensed businesses to pay their fees online instead of in person. From January 1 to October 31, 2012, the number of licensed business customers who paid their licensing fees and renewal notices online was 12,185, which represents 15.71 per cent of licence payments made (totalling $3.14 million in online transactions).
• Transportation Services has reduced the turnaround time for issuance of Street Occupation Permits from seven to 10 business days to three to five business days, with no backlog, avoiding delayed construction activity and increased costs. These permits are issued to facilitate construction activity within the public right of way.
• The Gold Star service for business is a program that expedites the development review process of strategic industrial, commercial office and institutional planning and building projects that retain existing jobs and provide new post-construction jobs in Toronto.

"The jobs and investment generated by Gold Star projects are significant," said Councillor Milczyn. "In 2012, 25 Gold Star business projects helped generate approximately $500 million in construction investment and retained and created over 5,000 jobs in Toronto. Gold Star has been successful, and the City has committed to improving the Gold Star service delivery in 2013 by further reducing timelines for reviewing eligible projects."

The Gold Star program is a key economic development and city-building tool for business retention and expansion that supports investment and job growth in Toronto. The program is delivered through the collaborative efforts of the Toronto's Economic Development and Culture, City Planning and Toronto Building divisions and is designed to work across all 12 City divisions involved in development review.

“The City is committed to continuous improvements to customer service and red tape reduction for all of its citizens and businesses," said Councillor Thompson. “Red Tape Awareness Week allows us to highlight some of those efforts and to remind staff that we are always looking for efficient, innovative and collaborative ways to serve Torontonians better.”

Red Tape Awareness Week is an initiative of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), a membership organization representing 109,000 small businesses in Canada.

"When it comes to running a small business in Canada, red tape is everywhere. It’s the $30 billion ‘hidden tax’ that leads to lost jobs, stress in the workplace and higher prices for goods and services”, said Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the CFIB. "We appreciate the work the City of Toronto is doing to reduce red tape for small business in this city."

This year marks the fourth year for Red Tape Awareness Week, which in the past has raised awareness of the issues affecting small business and citizens. This year, the goal of the CFIB is to move from awareness to action. The improvements made to date indicate that the City is also serious about taking action to eliminate red tape.

Red Tape Awareness Week allows the City to highlight some of those efforts and to remind staff that the City of Toronto is always looking for new and innovative ways to serve Torontonians better.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Shane Gerard
Senior Communications Coordinator

Bruce Hawkins
Senior Communications Coordinator



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