New legislation, introduced today, Oct. 22, positions the private sector to lead and drive economic growth, and increases accountability for results.
A tax incentive and rebate program for businesses will encourage more capital investment that supports economic growth, increases exports and creates jobs.
The Act to Improve Economic Development in Nova Scotia also defines new roles and responsibilities, and increases accountability, for the province’s economic development agencies. The Film Industry and Digital Media Tax Credits are also being extended until 2020, meeting a government commitment.
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson said a new Capital Investment Tax Credit will give businesses which invest more than $15 million a 15 per cent tax incentive. The credit will be available Jan. 1.
“This tax credit will make Nova Scotia more attractive for manufacturers and processors to invest,” Mr. Samson said. “This could attract new business to Nova Scotia and will help existing businesses grow, export more, and create more jobs.”
The independent Invest Nova Scotia Board will review applications to ensure projects advance provincial economic development priorities. The tax credit is being aligned with the federal Atlantic Investment Tax Credit, valued at 10 per cent, a program already known to business that has clear criteria.
Details will be developed through regulations.
“Politicians will no longer pick winners and losers in the economy,” Mr. Samson said. “The rules around the tax credit are the same for everyone, creating a level playing field and benefiting companies which make a significant capital investment in their business and in our province.”
The Capital Rebate Program will complement the new tax credit, available to businesses which invest up to $15 million. Planned changes will increase the current rebate maximum from $1 million to $3 million.
Amendments to the Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) Act clarify the mandate and increase accountability for the agency. NSBI will be responsible for trade operations, business development and assistance programs, including the new Capital Rebate Program, cutting red tape and speeding up turn-around time for businesses.
NSBI, and all economic development agencies, will be required to produce five-year strategic plans on the same timeline, with the first due on March 1. The plans will collectively be subject to an independent third-party evaluation.
Regulations will also give Cabinet the authority to provide policy guidelines to NSBI, and the minister the authority to provide directives and letters of expectations to the NSBI Board.
NSBI will no longer undertake equity and venture capital investments. Innovacorp will be solely responsible for equity investments in technology-based startups.
Changes build on steps already undertaken by government, including a new accountability act and website that reports more information on financial assistance to business than any other province in the country.