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Federal, Provincial, & Municipal

Many Americans complain of excessive regulations imposed by their federal government. Here is my perspective. 

Similar to the United States, Canada, in 1867, also adopted a federation approach to governance where the provincial rights are clearly spelled out--and the federal people must clearly stay away from provincial jurisdiction. For the most part, there really isn't a lot of conflict here in most Canadians things: the provinces do these things; the feds do those things. But an issue or two does come up every once in a while that requires some kind of new definition of roles--or perhaps a bit of a nebulous arrangement between the provincial and national governments. But our constitution is pretty clear (at least 90% of the time) on federal vs. provincial jurisdictions.

I should add that under the Canadian constitution, the municipalities exist at the whim of their provincial governments. There are very few rights for municipalities. 

I had my own oil well testing business from 1985 to 1992. Of course, there were regulations around this business. But I mostly dealt with provincial agencies, such as workers' compensation, labor laws, and vehicle inspections. If I were to be in this business today, I would probably have to deal with more environmental issues, but this too would be provincial.

My only contact with the federal government was to remit payroll taxes of my employees and remit a corporate tax return. The system was set up quite well such that as long as my books were done correctly, it really didn't take that much work to keep up with my monthly reports: at best, a couple hours a month.

Other than a business license, I didn't have much contact with municipal government in the seven years. But there were a couple of times I had to call the police for minor issues.

I am wondering if American small businesses have the same proportion of federal/state/local government agencies to deal with. I bring this up because my experience is that the federal government was really not an onerous body for me to deal with in Canada. If American small businesses are similar, then is it really correct to blame excessive business regulation on the federal government when most of these regulations are actually imposed at the state or municipal level? 

Published in Writerbeat 2017

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