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(OTTAWA) – September 11, 2019 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s new report spotlights a recent federal policy that makes it easier for government departments to drastically hike user fees they charge businesses, and to do so without cost analysis or improvement to service standards.

“Canadian businesses accept and support a user fee concept, and they appreciate the value exchange for the various permits and regulatory approvals needed for their business. What they will not accept is massive increases in fees as a backdoor tax to help the federal government get Canada’s $20 billion deficit under control,” said Ryan Greer, Senior Director, Regulatory Policy and author of Bringing Back Fee Fairness.

In 2017, the government quietly changed the rules for how fees are set by introducing the new Service Fees Act through an omnibus budget bill. In addition, the bill went even further by allowing Health Canada to bypass the new rules through ministerial discretion.

“Fees charged to businesses and individuals must be set at fair levels, not increased arbitrarily and linked to service standards,” added Greer. “Like taxes, these fees impact the competitiveness of Canadian companies and we are concerned the new Service Fees Act that was passed without public or parliamentary debate will lead to unchecked fee hikes by federal departments as the government tries to balance the budget.”

The report notes that immediately after being exempted from the new rules, Health Canada abused its new powers and immediately tried to increase some fees charged to businesses for the approval and monitoring of drugs by upwards of 400 per cent.

”In this federal election, we are calling on federal parties to remove these exemptions, fix the fee rules and ensure that the federal budget is not balanced through backdoor fee increases,” concluded Greer.

To learn more about Bringing Back Fee Fairness and Canada’s regulatory competitiveness, visit RegulateSmarter.ca.

The Voice of Canadian Business

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most representative business association, which speaks with one unified voice on behalf of nearly a quarter million businesses. The Chamber’s job is to help Canadian businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions grow their business. We do this by helping them connect to each other, new opportunities, providing essential business services, and influencing government policy on their behalf. For more information visit www.Chamber.ca or follow us @CdnChamberofCom.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
ptaylor@chamber.ca (preferred and fastest response time)
613.238.4000 (2231)