News Release Archive

The latest Statistics Canada figures show average prices did not
rise in Nova Scotia last month because of the harmonized sales
tax, Finance Minister Bill Gillis said.

"The average cost of living in Nova Scotia went up by just
one-tenth of one per cent." said Dr. Gillis. "Ontario and Quebec
had the same rate of change between March and April. These
numbers show the increases on costs under the HST are being
offset by the savings.

"All along we have told Nova Scotians that there is balance
between the tax going up on some items and going down on others,"
the minister said. "The latest information from Statistics Canada
proves our assumptions to be correct."

Economists with the Finance Department said that in the longer
term the rate of inflation in Nova Scotia should be lower than
elsewhere in the country because sales tax savings will allow
businesses to postpone future price increases.

Dr. Gillis said that will be welcome news for Nova Scotians:
"Well before the HST came into effect, Nova Scotia had one of the
higher rates of inflation in Canada. Anything that slows down
inflation in the future will be very helpful for our consumers."

Figures released today by Statistics Canada represents the
average spending pattern of all consumers in the province. Dr.
Gillis acknowledged that they do not necessarily represent any
single family's spending pattern in any given month.

"The CPI (consumer price index) takes into account average
consumer spending. It represents an objective measure of how the
average family's cost of living will be affected over the long
term. Now we have evidence that the impact of the HST is


Contact: Bruce Cameron
         Department of Finance

trp                       May 15, 1997 - 2:20 p.m.