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  • Help us build a better Ontario September 14, 2017
    If you live in Ontario, you may have recently been selected to receive our 2017 grassroots poll on vital issues affecting the province. Your answers to these and other essential questions will help us decide what issues to focus on as we head towards the June 2018 election in Ontario. For decades, the CCPA has […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    Today CCPC-BC senior economist Marc Lee submitted an analysis to the BC Utilities Commission in response to their consultation on the economics of the Site C dam. You can read it here. In short, the submission discussses how the economic case for Site C assumes that industrial demand for electricity—in particular for natural gas extraction […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Deregulation: A Bad Idea Crosses the Atlantic

The Harper government announced today that federal “regulators will be required to remove at least one regulation each time they introduce a new one that imposes administrative burden on business.”

At the risk of imposing a proofreading burden on communications staff, that sentence is missing the word “an.”

I first heard this idea at a meeting of the OECD’s Regulatory Policy Committee, where the British government representative was touting the “One-in, One-out rule.” Canada’s Conservatives have just renamed it the “One-for-One Rule.”

At best, this rule is a gimmick. At worst, it will delay or prevent the implementation of needed public-interest regulation.

The issue is not, of course, the sheer number of regulations. It obviously makes sense to review existing and proposed regulations. But an honest review should be open to the possibility that more regulations are warranted, if that is what the evidence indicates.

The One-for-One Rule will create perverse incentives for federal regulators. They will maintain and husband unnecessary regulations so that they have something to remove when they need to introduce new regulations.

For your reading pleasure, here is what I and others submitted to the OECD.

UPDATE (January 21): This letter is in today’s Globe and Mail (page F8):

Regulation roulette

It obviously makes sense to review existing and proposed regulations (Tories Seek To Cut Red Tape Wrapped Around Businesses – Jan. 19). But an honest review should be open to the possibility of increasing regulation, if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Requiring the elimination of an existing regulation for each new one creates perverse incentives. Regulators will husband unnecessary regulations so they have something to eliminate when new ones are required. If not, the “one-for-one” rule could impede needed public-interest regulation.

Erin Weir, economist, United Steelworkers

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Comments

Comment from Travis Fast
Time: January 19, 2012, 8:21 am

The conservatives are doing yet another in-out in-out in place of real public policy.

Comment from Andrew
Time: January 19, 2012, 7:08 pm

This is indeed really stupid. I note the commission also recommended that public service executives get bonuses based on their elimination of regulations. So someone can get a bigger bonus by dropping food safety or drug safety regs. Brilliant!!

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