Nova Scotia is aiming the bulk of the money it will spend on a new job creation strategy at improving productivity, fostering innovation and boosting international trade.
HALIFAX: Faced with economic growth that ranks dead last in Canada over the past two decades, Nova Scotia is aiming the bulk of the money it will spend on a new job creation strategy at improving productivity, fostering innovation and boosting international trade.
The three-year, $200-million strategy announced Nov. 23 by Premier Darrell Dexter modifies dozens of existing programs and includes 20 new initiatives, although many of the details are yet to be announced.
JobsHere will see about $60 million spent on skills development. The remaining $140 million will be spent on projects that improve productivity, innovation and international trade.
Dexter said government loans, loan guarantees and other assistance programs for business will be evaluated on a company’s competitiveness.
“We want to get past the situation where we are simply responding to businesses that come to government and say, ‘This is my plan,’” Dexter said after the announcement. “We want to be with those companies, saying, ‘How can we help you with new innovation and new competitiveness measures?’”
The government plans to establish several funds to boost venture capital and to help firms find international markets. It’s also promising to review the equity tax credit in 2012 to offer tax breaks to investors who support Nova Scotia companies.
As well, the province will recognize more foreign credentials to boost the potential pool of skilled workers. There is also a promise to increase the number of immigrants who come to Nova Scotia, with 7,200 set as the target by 2020.
Business groups and the province’s opposition parties said the strategy fails to address taxation, which would make the province more competitive.
Leanne Hachey of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the strategy is an improvement, but she was disappointed that it made no mention of tax policy.
“It’s a critical missing piece,” she said.
© 2010 The Canadian Press