Cumulative Burden and Asymmetric Regulation

For over two decades, the federal government has been strengthening its regulatory governance mechanisms and enhancing the capacity of its regulatory programs.

Making a new regulation is a far more complex and costly undertaking now than it was even ten years ago.  Nonetheless, a key irritant identified by the Red Tape Reduction Commission (RTRC) during its consultations with businesses was the impact of cumulative regulatory burden and asymmetric regulation, particularly on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Cumulative burden is the result of the aggregation of multiple regulatory requirements that apply to the same regulated activity and, hence, to those businesses and other regulated entities that carry out the activity.  Although each individual set of regulatory requirements may be distinct and eminently justifiable from a public policy and cost-benefit perspective, the cumulative burden resulting from the aggregation of regulatory requirements over time diverts the scarce resources (time, money, knowledge and expertise) of businesses. The Final Report of the RTRC gave considerable attention to the cumulative burden that results from the activities of federal regulatory departments and agencies and from overlapping regulations and rules between Government of Canada regulators and other regulatory agencies in non-federal Canadian jurisdictions and in other countries.

The following link provides readers with access to an article, which summarizes and builds on a discussion paper on this subject that was prepared for the RTRC by a Delsys Research consultant in 2011.  The article describes the issues that are most important to reducing cumulative burden and asymmetric regulation in Canada, and other countries; and the strengths and limitations of five specific options for reducing the impacts of cumulative burden on regulated businesses and other stakeholders.

With Contributions from Craig Marchand
Graphic by Katie Cassidy 
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