2021 Priorities

2021 Priorities

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Contributors:

Kathleen MacEachern
Policy Analyst

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce recently submitted our 2021-2022 Pre-Budget Submission, providing several recommendations to the province. The submission focused on the impact of COVID-19 on our business community and what the government should do to mitigate the impacts of the virus.

There is no way around it. 2020 has been a difficult year for many, especially those working in or owning a business in the hardest-hit sectors like tourism, hospitality and the arts.

This year, the Halifax Chamber is focused on advocating for the optimization of the size of government by publicizing government spending amounts and ensuring grants and supports are delivered with a purpose to those who are in dire need. We must ensure our businesses encounter less friction and see communication and transparency from the government.

We are hopeful for an economic plan from the government and hope the Chamber and its many partners at the Nova Scotia Business Labour and Economic Coalition can provide timely input. The plan should guide employees and employers through these toughest of times with rapid testing that can reduce quarantine times and revive tourism.

We also tasked the provincial government with ensuring the retention of our skilled workforce, and the return to a reliable immigration stream because our valuable human capital is essential to our economic prosperity and growth.

It is also pivotal that we reflect on the disproportionate challenges faced by women and underrepresented groups during the pandemic. Proper changes can guarantee not just their recovery but also their growth and success.

Furthermore, the pandemic has shed a light on issues needing more support and greater awareness, like affordable housing and systemic racism. We want to work even more closely with our partners to create as well as accelerate solutions to ensure positive change really does endure.

Promoting Halifax as a major city can persist through increasing tourism marketing and advertising in addition to funding our transit system for better accessibility by Nova Scotians and travellers. These are only a couple of ways we can work towards a prosperous future after vaccinations are complete.

Such a future can be accomplished through rapid testing at the airport, increasing our tourism budgets and advocating to keep our dwindling air routes in service. This is also a great opportunity to continuously promote Halifax and Nova Scotia as a great place to live while working remotely. It’s possible given our success with working from home during the pandemic and accessing high-quality services and products.

It’s very evident that downtown areas across the country are still facing an even greater challenge. Many workplaces shifted to remote work and left businesses in those specific areas without patrons. As the economic generator of Nova Scotia, Halifax businesses need guaranteed supportive resources to adapt to the new reality and jump start their recovery.

The municipal budget process for 2021 to 2022 is currently in progress and, like every year, we will be submitting these recommendations through the Pre-Budget Submission. This year we will be more focused on a variety of other issues such as:

• taxes

• affordable housing and development-approval times

• transit

• pension plans

• federal funding

• by-laws reviews

• and a multitude more

Keep an eye on our Policy Library for the full document and recommendation details.

The road to recovery is long and not a straight line. We don’t expect the provincial or municipal government to have all the answers, but we sincerely hope to see a plan in development. We need one for economic growth, consistency for our schools and a way for businesses to remain and/or become sustainable through this pandemic and beyond.

We commend the province on the work they have done so far and appreciate the communication and relationship developed through the Nova Scotia Business and Labour Economic Coalition (NSBLEC). However, there is much to be done still.

Together, we must ensure our business community can indeed grow, flourish and increase the economic capacity of our province.

Check out the full 2020-2021 Pre budget submission.

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