Burden Reduction Directive
This directive sets out the Ontario Government’s burden reduction and regulatory modernization expectations, requirements, and responsibilities. The directive applies to all Government Ontario ministries.
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This directive reflects the government’s burden reduction and regulatory modernization requirements when creating, amending, and removing provincial policy instruments for which ministries are responsible.
This directive should be read in conjunction with any requirements concerning regulatory policy development, issuance, management, evaluation, amendment, and/or removal.
The Burden Reduction Directive is issued under subsection 3(3) of the Management Board of Cabinet Act.
The purpose of the directive is to:
- set out the government’s burden reduction and regulatory modernization expectations, requirements, and responsibilities
- establish parameters for the effective development, issuance, management, evaluation, amendment, and/or removal of provincial policy instruments
Application and scope
This directive applies to all ministries and covers provincial policy instruments, subject to the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020, which include:
- a draft bill before its introduction into the Legislature
- a regulation made or approved by a minister or the Lieutenant Governor in Council
- any policy or form made by a minister stemming from legislation or regulation
Ministries should be guided by the following principles for the application of this directive:
- Proportional: government action is necessary, proportional to the matter being addressed, and in the public interest.
- Alternatives considered and impacts recognized. Where government intervention is needed, alternatives to making a regulation are carefully considered and the impact of government action is clearly and properly understood.
- Informed, transparent, and understandable: The regulatory process is transparent, easily understood, and informed by research and stakeholder consultation.
- Considers direct compliance costs and overall benefits: provincial policy instrument proposals consider direct compliance costs and benefits and demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs.
- Remains relevant: following implementation, provincial policy instruments are reviewed and evaluated to confirm Principle 1 remains true.
- Harmonized and least trade restrictive: provincial policy instruments are designed to not create barriers in the trades of good/services and are harmonized with other jurisdictions, wherever possible.
- Predictable: regulations are introduced in a predictable manner to encourage greater compliance and help affected entities plan for change.
The requirements below should be read in conjunction with the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020. This Act’s requirements include calculating any direct compliance costs and required offset values, benefits, and/or direct compliance cost-savings within a regulatory impact analysis and publishing the analysis of regulatory impact on a website of the Government of Ontario.
All ministries in the process of developing, issuing, managing, evaluating, amending, or removing provincial policy instruments affecting regulated entities, must comply with the requirements listed below.
Regulatory Registry: consultation and publishing
- consult on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry if a ministry is developing, amending, or removing provincial policy instruments, subject to the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020, that affect regulated entities:
- When consultation is required, the proposed provincial policy instrument proposal must be published.
- Under exceptional circumstances, ministries may request an exclusion from the requirement to publish. The Director, Office of Red Tape Reduction, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade has the authority to approve exclusion requests.
- publish for a minimum duration of:
- 45-calendar days for regulations, policies, and forms
- 30-calendar days for draft bills
- publish the provincial policy instrument proposal decision on the regulatory registry, as soon as practicable
Twice annual effective dates
- ensure regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council that affect for-profit business and that are included on the Twice Annual Effective Date List of statutes come into effect on either January 1st or July 1st of each year, regardless of when they are approved by Cabinet
Under exceptional circumstances, ministries may request an exclusion from the Twice Annual Effective Date requirement. The Director of Policy, Cabinet Office has the authority to approve exclusion requests
This applies to new, amended, and revoked Lieutenant Governor in Council Regulations.
Burden reduction activities and targets
Ministries must participate in burden reduction activities (for example, requests for new burden reduction proposals) and contribute progress (such as, new direct compliance costs, direct compliance cost-savings, regulatory offsets) toward burden reduction targets.
Mandatory regulatory review
- develop and maintain a comprehensive plan to complete a review of regulations filed for 10 years or more to ensure regulations remain relevant, beginning January 1, 2024
- update the plan annually, in accordance with the criteria outlined by the Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade
- monitor, track, and provide results of the regulatory review
Reviews must be conducted by ministries and be proportional to the scope and content of the regulation under review.
Roles and responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the Government of Ontario to ensure provincial policy instruments will meet the needs of Ontarians, including maintaining or enhancing public health, safety, and environmental protection, while minimizing burden on regulated entities. Specific responsibilities are outlined below.
Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet
- approving amendments to this directive
- granting exemptions from all or part of this directive
Director of Policy, Cabinet Office
- approving requests for exclusion related to the twice annual effective dates
- reporting exclusion requests and outcomes related to the twice annual effective dates to the Director, Office of Red Tape Reduction, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
- administration of this directive
- developing and implementing training for ministry representatives so that they are trained and have the timely advice they require for complying with the requirements in this directive
- reviewing this directive as needed, and at least every five years
- updating the Twice Annual Effective Dates list of Statutes annually
- tracking exclusion requests and outcomes related to Regulatory Registry consultation and publishing as tracked by the Office of Red Tape Reduction; and twice annual effective dates, as reported by Cabinet Office
- updating Burden Reduction Targets so they remain current
- checking that mandatory regulatory reviews are completed, in accordance with stated criteria and per the indicated schedule under section, mandatory regulatory review
Director, Office of Red Tape Reduction, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
- approving requests for exclusion from the requirement to consult on the Regulatory Registry related to the Regulatory Registry consultation and publishing
- ensuring that a ministry representative is identified and takes the required training
- ensuring that the principles and requirements of this directive are implemented and monitored, including putting in place processes that support the directive
- ensuring consistent application of the directive within the ministry
- ensuring that all persons covered by this directive are aware of their responsibilities under this directive
- responding to red-tape information requests
footnote 1from the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
For the purpose of this directive, the identified terms have the following meanings:
An advantage or gain; can be tangible (for example, reduction in direct compliance costs) or intangible (such as, improved employee safety, enhanced consumer protection etc.)
Broader Public Sector organization
Has the same meaning as in the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 and additionally includes municipalities and long-term care homes.
A draft act that has been or will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly with approval of cabinet.
Includes all mandatory public-facing forms stemming from acts, their accompanying regulations and related policies. A form outlines a complete piece of information that must be provided by regulated entities to the government, regardless of the form’s design or layout.
Direct compliance costs
A direct cost of complying with a draft bill, regulation, policy or form (stemming from legislation and regulation) and includes administrative costs, fees, upfront capital costs, upfront operating costs, and ongoing operating costs. These are the specific costs that an organization may incur to comply with requirements set out in legislation, regulation, policies and forms, as set out in the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020.
Legislation is an act that has been passed by the legislature to become law and receives royal assent by the Lieutenant Governor.
Official Red Tape information request
Includes any information request made by the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade pertaining to burden reduction and regulatory modernization initiatives, activities, and progress undertaken by ministries.
An amount that reduces increased direct compliance costs imposed on regulated entities. Every $1 of increased direct compliance costs must be offset by $1.25 in direct compliance cost-savings, as required in the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020.
A set of actions that has been formally adopted by the Ontario Government that specifies what regulated entities must do, including information that must be provided to be able to carry out business or access a program or service, and which stems from relevant Ontario Legislation or accompanying regulations.
Provincial policy instruments
Includes a draft bill before its introduction into the legislature, a regulation made or approved by a minister or the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and any policy or form made by a minister, stemming from legislation or regulation.
Any business, trade, occupation, profession, service, venture and Broader Public Sector organization, whether or not carried on with a view to profit.
Red tape information
Is defined as information pertaining to burden reduction and regulatory modernization initiatives, activities, and progress undertaken by Ontario ministries.
Any cost that may be measured in terms of money, time or resources and is considered by the minister in consultation with other members of the Government of Ontario to be unnecessary to achieve the purpose of the statutory, regulatory, procedural, administrative or other requirement that creates the cost.
A regulation made or approved by a minister or the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
- footnote Back to paragraph Includes any information request made by the Deputy Minister, MEDJCT pertaining to burden reduction and regulatory modernization initiatives, activities, and progress undertaken by ministries.