NOTE: The following is a an op-ed piece from Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen.
Earlier this week, consultations on u-vint regulations closed. I am very pleased to complete another important step in a process that began many years ago for me and the entrepreneurs who operate these shops.
After hearing from stakeholders, I am pleased to confirm that no new levy or fee will be introduced on ferment-on-premise products. Already, these businesses are expanding, hiring more Nova Scotians, and helping to grow our economy.
We need to foster an environment in our province that allows business to grow and thrive. I agree with Ray Ivany and his recent report. Nova Scotia has everything we need, including people with the right skills, to turn our future around. U-vint entrepreneurs are recognizing and capitalizing on some of those opportunities.
Since 2007, I have supported the legalization of u-vints. This hobby is allowed in many other Canadian provinces and it is a business model that is working, right now, in communities across our province. As I travel throughout Nova Scotia on my pre-budget tour, I am meeting with u-vint operators, business and community leaders and organizations in all sectors. I have been clear with them that we are focused on removing barriers to economic growth. In turn, they are telling me that reducing red tape and unnecessary regulation is something that can make a difference.
In January, my colleague Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey made changes to liquor licensing regulations, to allow beer made in-house at micropubs to be sold from the pub instead of having to be purchased from an adjacent, segregated storefront. The law prevented businesses from growing and frustrated customers.
I am looking forward to announcing, in the next few weeks, more details about the provincial tax review which was promised during the election. This review will be comprehensive and will include a review of taxes, fees and regulations. The Nova Scotia tax system has been developed over many years and has never been updated in a cohesive way. Successive governments have made tweaks, but rarely revisited changes to confirm they were achieving what they set out to do. We are on the verge of appointing a project lead who will work with us to look broadly at the tax system and make sure it is not preventing business growth in our province.
I look forward to continuing to work with all Nova Scotians to create conditions that support a stronger economy and more opportunities for us all.