Celebrating progress

Celebrating progress

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President


Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO, Halifax Chamber of Commerce

The Outlook issue of Business Voice is an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come as a region, and to explore where we’re heading next. With the Now or Never Report’s 5-year anniversary this month, we felt it was the perfect time to delve deeper into the report’s goals and progress. Led by Ray Ivany with a group of outstanding Nova Scotians, including Irene d’Entremont, John Bragg, Susannah Fuller and Dan Christmas, they delivered a report that doubled as an urgent call to action to all Nova Scotians. The report’s daring goals would catapult Nova Scotia to stand among the provinces leading the country in economic growth. When I spoke to the commissioners at the time of release, I heard even if we get the majority of the way there, we will have made significant progress!

It was a clarion call to move us out of our comfort zone and do better. At the Chamber, our Strategic Plan and key goals were well aligned with the goals of the report. Attraction and retention of skilled labour, immigration, job creation by the private sector, and red tape reduction were key focus areas for the Chamber and remain so in our new Strategic Plan.

In five years, we have seen significant improvements in a number of areas. Immigration numbers have grown due in part to strong communications initiatives by this Chamber, Boards of Trade and other Chambers of Commerce across this province. We reminded our members about the urgent need for not only increased demographics, but the exceptional value and richness diversity would bring to our province. Taking a similar approach to encouraging our members to hire, train and seek out opportunities to retain talent in this province has delivered good results.

The Chamber was an advocate for a dedicated approach to championing red tape reduction and the establishment of the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. We are pleased to see the department’s measurable results.

Government was not going to achieve the goals on their own, nor force Nova Scotians to achieve these goals. Government needs to put the conditions in place to enable the private sector (including companies, associations, and membership groups), to step up and succeed. To give government its due, it has made some progress on the report’s goals through programs and services put in place to support this important work and they should be recognized for this leadership.

In the last year, the NS Collective was set up to track the progress of the goals in the Now or Never Report. The Chamber welcomed the opportunity to be part of this work. You can see more on the report’s status in our main feature on page 14.

While Ray Ivany and his colleagues challenged our province, which we accepted and acted on, the journey is just beginning. The progress we’ve seen in the last five years is tremendous, but it can never really slow down. The collaboration and investment in start-ups, innovation and the oceans sector is just beginning to unfold. Our post-secondary institutions brought their A game to the table with unprecedented collaboration, and with an eye on the future of this province.

At the Chamber, we will continue to voice the need for our province to remain on its course of fiscal sustainability and to ensure that every tax dollar provides true value for each Nova Scotian. To continue to hire and invest, our business community needs competitive taxes, smarter regulations and an open-for-business environment. These improvements, combined with the culture of change we have seen since the report, will ensure our businesses grow and thrive in the next 5 years and beyond.

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President

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