On Aug. 29, the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, along with Transcona-Elmwood MP Lawrence Toet, conducted a roundtable discussion with members of the Transcona Business Improvement Zone.
The subject of the meeting was initiatives introduced by the Canada Revenue Agency to reduce red tape for our businesses.
What constitutes red tape? Red tape can include unnecessary paperwork, regulations and processes which can interfere with a local business’ ability to compete, grow and develop.
At the meeting, the CRA introduced new features to its website that are specific to small companies. These include access to a number of informative videos and a business account enquiries service that allows businesses to ask tax-related questions specific to their personal accounts and then receive answers online.
According to Transcona BIZ executive director Wendy Galagan, the meeting generated positive feedback from local businesses.
"It was very well received by our attendees," Galagan says. "We had about 15 in attendance that included many of our BIZ members, some from our surrounding community within Transcona, as well as non-profit organization representation too."
The meeting provided participants an opportunity to discuss the daily challenges they face.
"It was an open discussion about what’s working and what isn’t working," Galagan explains. "It was a first-hand opportunity for the businesses and the minister to discuss those things and ask questions. It was a wonderful opportunity."
The CRA initiatives could be good for local businesses, Galagan says.
"If businesses have a smoother and less time-consuming way to conduct their business that can only add to the success of their business," she says.
"If they can spend less time doing that and spending more time growing and promoting their businesses that can benefit the business community, the customer and (the business itself)."
Galagan says Toet deserves credit for his role in bringing everyone together.
"The MP’s office played a big role in getting the minister here," she says. "We certainly look forward to more opportunities like that for our business community to connect and have a first-hand dialogue with leaders."
Toet was unavailable for comment, but his website says that "by supporting the online initiatives developed by the CRA we are working towards empowering small businesses."
Adam Petrash is a community correspondent for Transcona. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.