Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stalking a “silent killer of jobs.”

He has switched on the green light for a war on red tape.

He said a commission looking at reducing red tape, especially for small businesses, will start consultations next week.

Red tape is a “hidden tax and a silent killer of jobs,” Harper said in Toronto Thursday.

When governments over-regulate, Harper said, red tape becomes too much for entrepreneurs to bear and reduces opportunities for growth.

The Red Tape Reduction Commission will hold countrywide consultations and deliver recommendations this fall.

Rob Moore, minister of state for small business, will head the commission, which also includes MPs and business representatives.

Harper said businesses spend billions each year adhering to regulations and it’s critical to look for ways to reduce that.

The first public consultation will take place Wednesday in Kamloops, B.C.