Survey of Regulatory Compliance Costs

Statistics Canada's Survey of Regulatory Compliance Cost on the impact of paperwork burden on small business is a key component of the Government of Canada's Paperwork Burden Reduction Initiative (PBRI). The Statistics Canada Survey is a triennial survey that focuses on small businesses, given their importance to the Canadian economy and the challenges they face in complying with information obligations stemming from government regulations.

The survey has two primary objectives. The government seeks to:

  • improve understanding of how small businesses comply with information obligations stemming from government regulations; and
  • measure the compliance costs imposed on small businesses and track changes in costs over time.

The survey was designed in partnership with Industry Canada. It consists of two parts:

  • a Main Survey, which was distributed to over 30 000 small and medium-sized businesses to collect data on the time and salaries spent complying with the obligations internally; and
  • a Supplementary Survey, which was distributed to over 5000 external service providers to collect data on the time spent complying on behalf of their business clients. (External providers include accountants, payroll firms and bookkeepers.)

The survey examines key federal, provincial and municipal regulations and information obligations related to:

  • employees — payroll remittances, record of employment and workers' compensation (claims and remittances);
  • taxation — T4 summary/individual T4, T1/T2 income tax filing, federal/provincial sales tax and corporate tax installments;
  • provincial and municipal operating licences and permits;
  • corporate registration; and
  • mandatory Statistics Canada surveys.

In addition to specific questions about each of the above, the survey includes questions about the firm's overall experience with government regulations, as well as business demographics. Information regarding demographics makes it possible to organize respondents under five employment size categories, five industry sectors and different geographic regions (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and British Columbia).

2011 Survey Iteration

SME Regulatory Compliance Cost Report—September 2013

2008 Survey Iteration

Results from the 2008 Survey Iteration provide a first look at whether the costs of paperwork burden has changed over the last three years. Several aspects related to paperwork burden are examined and new insights on cost savings, reinvestment, methods of compliance, and external service provider assistance are gained.

2005 Survey Iteration

Results from the 2005 Survey Iteration establish a series of quantitative benchmarks with which to track changes in various dimensions of paperwork burden over time.