OSBR was launched in July 1996 as a business registration system built on an Oracle database. The application, available at 76 kiosks in summer 2001 (then 90 kiosks at 79 sites by the end of 2001) connected through the Internet, enables new businesses to register simultaneously with a municipality and the provincial and federal governments. The involvement of all three levels of government is a major innovation; in fact, preliminary research at OSBR's indicated that it was a first. The kiosks are expected to be replaced by direct Internet access from a registrant's computer in the near future. They also hope to quickly increase the number of municipalities participating in the project in the coming months. There is a kiosk in Calgary as well.
OSBR aims to simplify the business registration partnership and forge a partnership among the governments to reduce red tape. It can be used to:
register a business or corporation,
register for the provincial sales tax and GST, as an employer and individually with the Worker's Compensation Board, and
apply for a municipal permit.
By June 2001, 25,600 clients had used the service to fill out 65,900 forms.
Before OSBR, someone wanting to register a business had to go from one government office to another and learn to adjust to the rules of the different government departments and their office hours, not to mention traveling from town to town. Electronic processing of the applications has reduced response time. Despite the OneStop name, it is really a two-step procedure. First, the name of the business has to be approved by the Finance Ministry; then comes registration. Both steps can now be completed within a day; previously it took a week or more.