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Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement

The Ministry of Small Business and Revenue was established in 2005 to demonstrate our government’s commitment to the success of British Columbia’s small business community and create a centre of excellence for customer service, 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 committed to working towards our goal to be the most small business friendly jurisdiction in Canada.

British Columbia’s small businesses — 98 per cent of all businesses — are a driving force in our economy, and employ more than one million people. British Columbia ranked first in the country in 2006 (tied with Prince Edward Island) with the highest proportion of Gross Domestic Product — approximately 27 per cent — attributed to small business. Over the last five years (2001 to 2006) the number of small businesses in British Columbia has grown by 11.0 per cent, triple the national average.

The permanent Small Business Roundtable, established in 2005, continues to be a valuable forum for partnership between government and small business owners and operators to provide ongoing dialogue and input on issues and opportunities to ensure small business success. The Roundtable conducts consultations across British Columbia and has met with hundreds of small business owners, operators and association representatives. On October 17, 2007 Government received the Small Business Roundtable’s second Annual Report. Government will review the annual report and its recommendations.

As part of our government’s commitment to undertake a comprehensive review of British Columbia’s tax policies and legislation, to develop revenue-neutral options for simplifying, streamlining and enhancing fairness, during the past year the Ministry completed the first phase of the Provincial Sales Tax Review. As a result, 13 new tax measures were announced in Budget 2007, resulting in a taxation reduction of more than $120 million over three years.

Over the year, the Provincial Sales Tax Review conducted Phase II of our consultations regarding specific tax applications identified in the first review. Recommendations have been provided to the Minister of Finance for consideration in Budget 2008.

The Ministry of Small Business and Revenue identifies and collects amounts owed to government through fair, efficient and effective tax administration and revenue management processes. The Ministry has an overall commitment to continuous improvement in customer service excellence.

With this commitment in mind, four successive versions of the Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code have been developed. All four editions are the result of ongoing work in partnership with British Columbia small business organizations. This innovative code explains a customer’s right to courtesy and respect, fair treatment, dispute resolution and a timely appeal, and demonstrates our commitment to service excellence. 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, I lead government regulatory reform initiatives. Our focus is on saving time from the perspective of individuals, small business or industry, whether they are accessing government services or complying with regulations. Under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell, we have met and exceeded our 2001 goal of reducing regulatory burden by 33 per cent. As of December 31, 2007, we have reduced regulatory burden by 42.61 per cent or 163,496 regulations since June 2001.

Our ongoing regulatory reform commitment through 2012 is a zero per cent net increase. We will continue to modernize, streamline and simplify our regulatory system while preserving regulations protecting public health, safety and the environment.

Another regulatory reform goal designed to save citizens and small businesses time and money is to have BizPal service available to every municipality in British Columbia within three years. The BizPal online tool provides small businesses with access to permits and licences they require from federal, provincial and local government, from one access point.

The Ministry of Small Business and Revenue 2008/09 – 2010/11 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 19, 2008, 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 $200.9 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 19, 2008

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