RCC sent the leaders of the major provincial parties for their strategies on key issues for retailers with operations in Nova Scotia. Below are the questions outlined and the issues being addressed.

Please be advised the political parties are currently reviewing the questionnaire and responses will be posted shortly.

1. Faced with a multitude of increasing costs, Nova Scotia retailers are looking for the next provincial government to find ways to reduce costs for retailers and consumers. Nova Scotia’s provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) increased from 8% to 10% in 2010 while Nova Scotia’s corporate taxes are the highest in the country at 16%. The Liberal government recently announced that the revenue threshold to qualify for the NS small business tax credit would move from $350,000 (the lowest in Canada) to a regionally competitive $500,000.

a. Will your party commit to take steps to lower the HST to 13% now that the provincial budget is balanced?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
In this election, retailers in Nova Scotia have an option if they are looking for vision and action. Jamie Baillie’s goal is to bring our taxes down to the national average. To start, we will increase the amount of money people can earn before they start to pay provincial income tax. The result will be a tax cut for every Nova Scotian. In addition, to get the cost of living down, we will continue to oppose a new Carbon Tax or new tolls to be added on Nova Scotia roads and highways.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
Our party is committed to putting the Province of Nova Scotia on the right path to fiscal sustainability. That is why we have worked very hard over this mandate to bring forward a second straight balanced budget.
Sound fiscal management and putting in place the right government levers that will allow business to grow and prosper in this province was a priority for us as a government. If we are awarded the privilege of a second mandate, as announced in our 2017-2018 budget, we will cut taxes for the middle class and those who need it most by raising the tax-free basic personal exemption by up to $3000.00 for those people earning up to $75,000. This helps people who need it the most. In fact, this change will see 60 000 people no longer paying provincial income tax.

b. Will your party commit to lowering the corporate tax rate to 14% so as to maintain regional competitiveness?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
Taxes are too high in our province and we need to find ways to grow the economy. That’s why we are proposing a new Earned Tax Relief program that will provide an incentive for businesses to earn a reduced corporate tax rate, as low as 10%. This lower rate would make Nova Scotia the most competitive place in Canada to create jobs.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia Liberals have had at the core of our mandate the fiscal health and economic prosperity for all Nova Scotians. We believe that helping our small, medium and large business here in the province grow and maintain their competitive advantage is crucial to the overall fiscal health of the province. We believe that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and that is why in our 2017-2018 budget we reduced their taxes by $13.9 million by increasing the small business tax threshold to $500,000 from $350,000. If we are awarded the privilege of a second mandate we will look at all economic options that will help bring more economic growth and prosperity to the province of Nova Scotia.

c. Will your party pledge to honour the Liberal government commitment of moving the small business tax threshold to $500,000?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
The Progressive Conservative Party believes job creators should be able to earn a tax break. That’s why we will make real tax relief available to all businesses that create new jobs in our province. We will limit the dollar amount of income tax each company pays to the province to the dollar amount paid last year.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
Due to the leadership of Premier McNeil we provided 2 consecutive balanced budgets to Nova Scotians. In our 2017-2018 budget, we have raised the small business tax threshold from $350 000 to $500 000, thus reducing taxes for 1800 small to medium-sized businesses

2. The current government should be commended for its support of the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. The Office has been effective in part due to the support of the Atlantic Provincial governments and the leadership of each Atlantic Provincial Premier.

a. Will your party commit to providing ongoing support of the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
The Office of Regulatory Affairs has the potential to be an innovative approach to working together with regional government partners, to harmonize certain rules. A Jamie Baillie government will go further to reduce the paperwork burden on small and medium-sized businesses to make it easier for business owners to hire workers. We will set clear targets for red tape reduction with the goal of cutting two existing regulations for every new one introduced. We will act.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
The Liberal Government under the leadership of Premier McNeil created the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. This approach has been a resounding success. The Liberal Government has just committed to continued effort to reduce red tape and the effort will be worth $25 million to Nova Scotian businesses.

3. Under the Minimum Wage Order of Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code, employers pay minimum wage workers for time where the employee is not working. If a minimum wage employee works 1 minute past the end of their shift, the employer must pay the employee to 15 minutes past the hour. If the employee works 16 minutes past the end of their shift, the employer must pay the employee to 30 minutes past the hour. However, if the employee works 31 minutes past the end of their shift, the employer must pay the employee to the top of the hour. This inexplicable jump from a 15 to a 30 minute interval results in an employer being forced to pay a minimum wage employee for 29 minutes of work that the employee did not perform.

Retailers are perplexed by this rule as it creates needless red tape and it does not send a message that the province is open for business. Retailers have mentioned that policing this rule to prevent abuse by employees creates additional supervisory demands on businesses. Such demands are especially problematic for small retailers.


a. Will your party commit to changing the Labour Standards Code so that the amount an employer pays a minimum wage worker who works past their regular shift would always be in 15 minute intervals?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
The issue of overly prescriptive regulations is one of many that are negatively impacting small businesses and retailers across Nova Scotia. Jamie Baillie has a vision for a less prescriptive regulatory environment where retail businesses can flourish and compete at a national level.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
As a government, the Liberals committed to reducing red tape wherever possible to create a better environment where business can thrive. We are willing to look at all options that could improve the fiscal health of the province.

4. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment consulted with stakeholders and has proposed changes to seven areas of the provincial solid waste regulations: product stewardship, disposal bans and approval requirements, used tire management program, removal of the requirement for regional solid waste management plans, clarity on the rules for energy from waste, improved enforce ability of the solid waste regulation, and the beverage container deposit-refund program.

a. Will your Party ensure that Nova Scotia policies related to solid waste regulations are harmonized with best practices across Canada? This must include remaining silent on the administration of Environmental Handling Fees (EHFs) and no Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Program for the Industrial Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sector.

PC Party of Nova Scotia
As noted in the question above, the issue of over-burdensome regulations facing Nova Scotian businesses is serious and requires action. A Progressive Conservative government will work with stakeholder groups such as the Retail Council to ensure a level playing field across Canada. We will address these issues as part of our commitment to a clean environment by modernizing and extending the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
As a government, we Liberals have always strived to be leaders when it comes to our environmental policies whether it is on our greenhouse gas reductions or our land conservation. Nova Scotia is currently a world leader in solid waste management. We work with CCME to stay abreast of what’s going on in other provinces. We also work closely with the other Atlantic provinces to stay harmonized with other Provinces on solid waste. If awarded the opportunity of another mandate, we would continue to modernize our waste management strategies and policies to reflect the changing needs.


b. As the consultation regarding a packaging program was most contentious among stakeholders, will your Party commit to work towards stakeholder consensus on EPR for packaging before introducing regulations related to packaging stewardship?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
A PC government led by Jamie Baillie will work together with stakeholders to ensure all regulations meet the standards of protection and efficiency that Nova Scotia consumers expect. At the same time we will work to avoid creating negative impacts on our economy and jobs. We will provide transparency and the opportunity for input on all regulations before implementation.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
With regards to EPR, as a government we did do consultation with business and although there is support for EPR, there is disagreement about what that system would look like. We have asked municipalities to work together to find a way forward that lays out a solid business case for EPR, that improves our environmental footprint and performance, and doesn’t just shift costs to others.

5. The retail sector is one of the largest industries in Nova Scotia, employing over 16% of Nova Scotia employees and contributing almost $14 billion in sales each year. But unlike other key sectors the Nova Scotia government has not developed a sector strategy to ensure government policies are aligned to both support the industry and enhance its competitiveness.

a. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy, similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors that would ensure Nova Scotia’s retail industry continues to prosper?

PC Party of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia needs a government with vision and a plan of action to implement that vision. The offer by the Retail Council to help create a retail sector strategy is an interesting one. Jamie Baillie and his PC team will be willing to work together with the Retail Council on that strategy.

Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
If given the privilege to form government again, A Liberal Government would be willing to work with all sectors of the economy, including our retail sector. One of our main goals has been to create a better business environment here in Nova Scotia. A more prosperous business environment means more jobs and more jobs means a brighter future for Nova Scotians. In our 2017-2018 budget, we committed to reducing taxes for 1,800 small and medium sized businesses by increasing the small business tax threshold to $500,000 from $350,000. We have also committed to $4 million to support innovation initiatives, including a new rebate program and mores support for business startups. Our 2017-2018 budget is making strategic investments that fund creativity and fuel entrepreneurs to create a better economy.