Ont. to slash biz red tape to cut costs, create jobs

Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid. (ANTONELLA ARTUSO/QMI Agency)

Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid. (ANTONELLA ARTUSO/QMI Agency)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 11:44 AM ET

TORONTO -- A red-tape cutting initiative will be launched to help Ontario businesses reduce costs and create jobs, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid says.

The Better Business Climate Act, introduced Monday, would also support the creation of regional economic "cluster developments" and mandate long-term infrastructure planning.

The provincial government has already reduced 80,000 regulatory "burdens" on businesses over the past decade, he said.

"Some of those are significant, some of those were minor -- but all of those are trying to get out of the way of business ... but ensuring that we are always protecting the health and safety of public interest that some of those regulations protect," Duguid said.

Moody's Investors Service fired a warning shot last week when it changed Ontario's debt rating outlook to negative from stable and cast doubt on the government's ability to hit budget deficit reduction targets.

Duguid said the legislation builds on the strengths of the economy and supports long-term strategic investment planning.

"It may be the summer, but we're not wasting any time getting down to business," Duguid said.

Questions about the health of the economy dominated the first question period Monday with both the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic Party MPPs pressing Premier Kathleen Wynne on the Moody's move.

"We laid out a path to balancing our budget," Wynne said. "What we ran on, what we said that we were going to do and what we are doing is reintroducing a plan that will keep us on target to balance the budget and eliminate the deficit by 2017-2018."

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