Message from the Minister
and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Rick ThorpeThe Ministry of Small Business and Revenue was established to further our government's commitment to the small business community of British Columbia, and create a centre of excellence for tax administration and revenue management.

The Ministry is focused on advancing our government's Great Goal to lead the nation in job creation on a per capita basis. Working in partnership with small business, our government is planning for British Columbia's future growth and success.

Small business and their employees — numbering more than one million — are a driving force in British Columbia's economic revitalization. In 2005, small business in British Columbia created jobs at more than four times the national rate.

In October 2005, a permanent Small Business Roundtable was established. The Roundtable, which I chair, is a forum for government and small business owners and operators to build a working partnership to provide ongoing, advice and input on issues and opportunities to ensure small business success.

The Roundtable conducted 18 sessions in communities throughout British Columbia and met with hundreds of small business owners, operators and association representatives to discuss issues affecting small business. The Roundtable submitted their first report to government on October 17, 2006. Government and the Ministry have reviewed the recommendations from the Small Business Roundtable and, working together in partnership, we developed a Small Business Action Plan for implementation in 2007/08.

As part of our government's commitment to review taxation policies, the Ministry launched the Provincial Sales Tax Review in November 2005. We consulted with small business and industry to develop revenue-neutral options for changes to the provincial sales tax. These consultation sessions heard from 166 business representatives from communities throughout the province before concluding in May 2006. Based on this input, policy, legislative and administrative changes will be considered.

The Ministry of Small Business and Revenue continues to identify and collect amounts owed to government through fair, efficient and effective tax administration and revenue management processes. Our mandate is to create a centre of excellence for revenue management in British Columbia. We introduced a streamlined, consolidated revenue management system in April 2006 and are working with other ministries to transition their revenue management functions to our revenue management program.

In March 2007, we will launch the third edition of the Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code. All three editions are the result of ongoing work in partnership with British Columbia small business organizations. The Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code demonstrates our commitment to service excellence through responsive, courteous, fair and respectful treatment, and the protection of privacy and confidentiality. The Code includes a comprehensive set of service excellence standards against which we will monitor and report publicly on our service performance.

As Minister Responsible for Regulatory Reform, our goal is to achieve continuous improvement in our regulatory environment, making it easier for citizens and businesses to operate and succeed in British Columbia. Under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell, we have fulfilled and exceeded our pledge in 2001 to reduce the regulatory burden by one-third.

Today, we are committed to a zero net increase in British Columbia's regulatory count. In addition, we are pursuing a citizen-centred approach to regulatory reform. Citizen-centred reform focuses specifically on saving time and reducing steps for citizens, small business or industry accessing government programs and services or complying with regulations. We will continue to modernize, streamline and simplify our regulatory system while preserving regulations protecting public health, safety and the environment.

As announced by the Premier in October of last year, my ministry will work with other ministries, municipalities and local governments to implement a common municipal business licence for mobile businesses operating in British Columbia. This will reduce costly duplication and encourage business growth in all regions of British Columbia.

The Ministry of Small Business and Revenue 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 7, 2007 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.

Additionally, under the Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act, I am accountable for earning $215.5 million in gross revenue from audit and compliance-related activity in respect of revenues payable under enactments administered by the Minister of Small Business and Revenue.

I am pleased to present this plan on behalf of the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue. This Service Plan sets out our priorities for the next three years and I look forward to working with all British Columbians to achieve our goals.

Honourable Rick Thorpe
Minister of Small Business and Revenue
and Minister Responsible for Regulatory Reform

February 20, 2007

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