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Langley City has one of the best red tape records in B.C.

CFIB report ranks City third out of 20 municipalities, Township placed seventh

Langley City is good at keeping red tape under control, one of the best municipalities in B.C. according to a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The “Municipal Red Tape Detective” report on the amount of red tape faced by businesses was released Tuesday.

A CFIB analyst said 20 municipalities in Metro Vancouver, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria were reviewed.

Members of the federation checked out online services for business applicants, and posed as would-be entrepreneurs to email questions.

They then gave each municipality a score out of 100 in three categories: access to information, quality of information, and regulatory framework “through the eyes of a business owner by analyzing online information and information obtained directly from municipal staff.”

It also makes recommendations for improvement.

Langley City ranked third after first-place Kelowna and second-place Delta.

Langley Township placed seventh.

The City of Langley had a score of 78 out of 100.

The City did “particularly well” when it came to access to information, the report said, “and should be recognized for their online account, ‘MyCity’, and their ‘EasyPay’ system which allows entrepreneurs to pay for their business license online.”

Under quality of information, the CFIB analysis gave the city a thumbs-up for quickly responding to email queries.

But, the report suggests, the city should include more specific information such as permit and licensing costs and wait times, as well as information on local bylaws and small business resources, which would have improved the score. “Ensuring administrative staff are aware of these metrics is important, as business owners rely on availability of information and communication to get answers.”

Under regulatory framework, the City scored well on their Mobile Business License (MBL) score, with an agreement that covers 11 municipalities.

“While this is a good score, the City should look to expand their MBL agreement to cover all municipalities in the region.”

READ MORE: Langley City sets $100 million construction record

The Township of Langley received a grade of 74 out of 100, ranking seventh.

 The report suggests the Township could benefit from expanding their online service account ‘MyTownship Account’, which allows users to submit requests and have them tracked.

“Introducing other online services such as the ability to submit licenses and permits, make payments, and submit new business license applications would help new and existing business owners” the report states.

The Township won an satisfactory rating for quality of information because it responded promptly to emails, but should have provided more extensive information when asked, such as the cost of permits and business license application forms.

Regulatory framework was where the Township’s did best.

”Accessing important information, such as anticipated delays in permits and business licensing, was easy and publicly available … in addition, the Township was able to provide recommendations on third party resources, financing, or initiatives pertinent to small businesses.”

The report suggested the Township should expand their Mobile Business License agreement, which currently covers 10 municipalities in the region to cover them all .

READ MORE: 20 B.C. cities ranked on ‘red tape’ when starting a business

Among the other municipalities, Prince George and Surrey both received top marks for access to information, while Kelowna received the top mark for its regulatory framework.

The federation said having online service accounts that allowed businesses to submit inquiries, applications and get feedback as key to cutting through the red tape.

Having city-specific resources, such as Kelowna’s economic development commission, was rated higher than simply directing businesses to third-party organizations.

Mobile, non-city specific business licence that allow businesses to operate in several communities without applying in each one was considered “very helpful.”

With files from Kat Slepian



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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