Government is making major changes to the way it promotes economic development in Nova Scotia. A new department will help create one of the most competitive and business-friendly environments in Canada, clearing the way for private-sector growth in Nova Scotia.
A small, efficient and responsive Department of Business, led by Minister Mark Furey, will provide strategic planning and direction, foster entrepreneurship and innovation, and ensure business and social enterprise development in Nova Scotia is co-ordinated across government and beyond.
“Nova Scotians and business leaders have challenged government to do its part to improve our failing economy. We are moving forward with a single-minded intent of making Nova Scotia a more attractive and easier place to do business in and grow,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.
This change directly responds to the One Nova Scotia Commission recommendation to reorganize government, introduce a Minister of Business, and provide priority support to all aspects of business expansion. It also responds to recommendations made in the recent Tax and Regulatory Review advising the province to become more welcoming to business and reduce red tape.
The new department will focus on three areas:
Business Strategy and Planning:
— creating a shared strategy for business growth that includes simplifying and speeding up regulation and permitting aligning P-12 and post-secondary education, co-ops and internships with economic development plans
— fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, exports and emerging sectors
— developing and implementing a Private Sector Growth Plan in collaboration with other levels of government, universities and NSCC, and the private sector
Strategic Projects and Investments:
— developing, delivering and overseeing strategic projects to grow and promote sectors
— establishing entrepreneur-led centres for business incubation and innovation
— advancing research and development partnerships between business and post-secondary institutions
— making venture capital more available
Operational Leadership, Co-ordination and Alignment:
— aligning government departments and policies with the shared business-growth strategy through leadership, oversight, measurement, communication and collaboration with the private sector, post-secondary schools, the federal government and other partners
The new department will house the Office of Regulatory and Service Effectiveness, whose mandate is to implement the regulatory recommendations in the Nova Scotia Tax and Regulatory Review, and work with New Brunswick to create a modern, consistent and fair regulatory environment driven by high-quality, client-focused service.
“Government can’t write a cheque to keep every business alive — but that has been the model for over a decade,” said Mr. Furey. “Our focus needs to change — to enhancing trade, supporting startups and venture capital partnerships, and focusing on sectors that have high-growth potential, particularly for rural areas of our province.”
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism will cease operations effective immediately. Frontline programs and services previously delivered by the department will be streamlined, consolidated or redesigned and moved to other departments and agencies to be co-ordinated by the Department of Business.
The new Department of Business will have 28 full-time equivalents (staff) and an operating budget of $56.6 million. Changes are effectively immediately.
Mr. Furey will retain his other portfolios.
More information on the new department can be found at www.novascotia.ca/business .