Creating a positive business environment

Creating a positive business environment

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Contributors:

Paul Bent, Self-Employed Consultant

Advocacy critical for making HRM a better place for business

With the holidays now behind us and the business community returned to its normal activity, it’s probably a good time to take stock of the past year and also look forward to the year ahead for our Creating a Positive Business Environment Task Force.

Our task force, a sub-group of the Board of your Chamber, has been in place since the commencement of the current strategic plan, which the Chamber created back in 2013. The current year marks the end of that plan and work is well underway on the next iteration which will be rolled out in the coming months.

In the meantime, work continues at the task force level working with our members, stakeholders and constituents to advance the agenda in support of the objective of making our municipality and our province a better place in which to conduct business. Last year was both a busy and successful year as many of the items the task force advocated for saw some movement indicating that our government is listening.

While it is difficult to draw an absolute correlation between advocacy and results, the task force believes that our Chamber has the ear of the decision makers and that our views are critical to the development and application of policy. Indicators of this include the increase in the annual small business deduction threshold to make Nova Scotia more in line with other provinces, changes to personal income tax impacting a segment of Nova Scotia taxpayers including the elimination of provincial income tax for many low-income taxpayers.

On both the provincial and municipal fronts our Chamber, through the task force, has been a strong champion of fiscal responsibility and living within our means. With some challenges, particularly at the provincial level as regards labour relations, the government has recognized the need to keep budgets in balance. We will continue to support fiscally responsible management in the current year as we soon again will approach budget season. Celebrating Nova Scotian success and in particular success in our Halifax municipality has continued through our many events and activities throughout the year.

As noted previously, 2018 marks the completion of the current phase of the Chamber’s five-year strategic plan. Your Chamber Board remains fully supportive of the Creating a Positive Business Environment Task Force and in particular critical files in the areas of taxation (property, business and personal), fiscal responsibility, championing our business leaders and their success and innovation as well as unique and evolving matters specific to Halifax including the City Centre Plan and the strategy behind the next phase of downtown renewal and matters such as the Cogswell re-development.

Another area of focus which continues to be on the minds of our members is the reduction of red tape and redundancy. Early in the coming year the task force will be looking for specific examples where there is common support of the need for change and from there will look to develop a means to advance these issues.

There is no doubt, 2017 was an incredible year for our city with unprecedented levels of growth in development but also in population and the feeling that we are perhaps at the edge of something truly special. With that in mind, we are seeking interested folks to join our committee.

If you have a bit of time, an area of particular interest and most importantly, a passion to make our city the best it can be, we want to hear from you.

Come join us for the ride!


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