NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece from Business Minister Mark Furey.
Nova Scotia needs and values the significant contribution businesses of all sizes make to our communities and our economy. Their success is our success.
They employ people, build skills through training, innovate, invest, provide Nova Scotians with the goods and services they need, and export those goods and services abroad. They also volunteer their time and expertise in countless areas.
For these reasons, we’re always looking at ways to help businesses succeed.
Jan. 23 to 27 is Red Tape Awareness Week, drawing attention to ways governments can reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and free up needed time to grow their business – and the economy. Across government, we’ve made reducing red tape a priority.
Just 18 months ago, we created the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness to help with this work. The office, together with many departments, has made progress I’m proud of.
We’ve removed unnecessary or redundant requirements such as eliminating the video retailer licence and the requirement for alcohol manufacturers, like our local wineries, to maintain a separate retail space.
We’ve made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to make compliance easier for landlords and tenants.
We’re moving services online, like new vehicle registrations for car dealerships, to make things simpler and faster for business.
We’re piloting a new service, the first of its kind in Canada, to help businesses navigate what can be a complex regulatory environment. We have people dedicated to answering questions and providing advice to help businesses.
We’re also working with our regional neighbours to eliminate unnecessary differences to make it easier for businesses to succeed across the region.
For example, there’s now one date for changes to the minimum wage and one standard for record-keeping requirements across the Maritimes.
There’s a shared look and feel for some procurement documents to make bidding for government work across the Maritimes easier.
Soon, businesses across the region will be able to register for all four Atlantic workers’ compensation systems through Canada Revenue Agency’s One Business Number, saving time and money.
And we’re harmonizing trucking standards from Ontario to Nova Scotia for long-combination vehicles, lowering costs for trucking companies and their customers.
A handful of these initiatives will save Nova Scotia businesses $2.2 million every year and that’s only a fraction of what’s been saved overall.
This is the work we’ve been doing over the past year. There’s much more to do – but we’re on it.