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Ford promises to cut red tape at Toronto City Hall

Councillor Paul Ainslie, Councillor Michael Thompson, Mayor Rob Ford, Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Councillor Peter Milczyn cut "red tape" at city hall on Jan. 21, 2013. CITYNEWS.

Mayor Rob Ford promised to cut red tape at city hall on Monday but didn’t say what new measures were in store for Toronto.

“We need to make it easier for businesses to access our services,” Ford, wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, told reporters Monday.

“We need to cut the red tape to ensure they have success.”

Ford said that businesses could use city websites to access programs like BizPal – a national program that searches online business permits and licences required at all levels of government.

Film companies and event producers can also use the city’s online services to find forms and permits.

These programs, which were praised by Coun. Paul Ainslie, have already been implemented.

“Global Municipal Management services, which monitors municipal websites around the world, ranked the City of Toronto’s website at No. 1 for usage,” Ainslie said.

“It’s No. 3 for content and fifth, in the world, for services,” he said.

Ford proclaimed Jan. 21-25 Red Tape Awareness week the same day MP Tony Clement unveiled $10 million in federal funding to combat red tape.

Clement said the bulk of the money — $8.7 million — would go to pharmacies, allowing them to more easily transfer prescriptions and reduce other administrative costs.

Currently, only pharmacists can transfer prescriptions. Now pharmacy technicians will able to complete the task and the associated paperwork.

The decision was supported by the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association (OPA).

“This amendment to the Food and Drug Regulations is a welcome step forward, and one that will enable pharmacists to focus more of their time on direct patient care,” OPA CEO Dennis Darby said.

The federal government also said companies with revenues between $10 and $200 million annually will see a reduction in corporate reporting. The reform will benefit 32,000 businesses, generating $1.2 million in reduced regulatory burden.

Telephone agents at the Canada Revenue Agency will now have to provide an agent ID number. The measure should ensure accountability and a more friendly user experience, Clement said.