Online Business Registry a Hit

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

November 20, 2002 2:30 PM

Businesses across the province are giving the online version of
the Nova Scotia Business Registry (NSBR) high praise as it marks
its first year of operation. More and more people are turning to
the online service when they need to renew a business permit or
licence or as they start a new business venture.

A variety of transactions, such as business name reservations,
business registrations and permit applications and renewals, can
be conducted through the registry.

The business registry was launched in October 2001 as a joint
venture between Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, the
Workers' Compensation Board and the Canada Customs and Revenue
Agency after discussions with their clients made it clear that a
service like this was necessary. The one-stop-shopping format is
especially convenient for businesses and entrepreneurs, who deal
regularly with all three agencies.

"Business leaders asked for -- and received -- more flexible
access to government services and less red tape," said Angus
MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations. "The Nova Scotia Business Registry makes it easier for
business to thrive in this province."

The first online partnership of its kind in Canada, the business
registry was expected to serve about one in 10 clients initially.

"Since its inception, the business community has been very
receptive and usage has exceeded expectations," said Brenda
Morse, NSBR project manager at Service Nova Scotia. "About 15 per
cent of our renewals transactions are handled online. The numbers
are lower -- but climbing -- for new permit applications."

Many business people do their paperwork outside of normal
business hours. A key indicator of the registry's acceptance is
the number of transactions that occur outside normal government
business hours. More than 11,500 after-hours transactions have
been processed since October 2001.

"In fact, we had to reschedule our computer system maintenance
because there was so much online activity," said Ms. Morse.

"Nine out of 10 clients said they would use the registry again,
according to our user satisfaction surveys," she said. "That's
even more impressive when you consider that more than seven out
of 10 respondents were new users. In the past, they used to do
business with us by phone or mail or in person."

Two people who recently reserved their business names and
registered their businesses through the online registry are Julie
Nowe of Nowe's Accounting and Income Tax in Amherst and James
Smeaton of Highland Multimedia in Antigonish.

"Several years ago, I registered another business the old way,"
said Ms. Nowe. "I went to the government offices and filled in
all of the forms. Using the Nova Scotia Business Registry is so
much easier." She set up her business in early November and has
already used the registry to reserve a business name for a

"Convenience. That's why I chose the NSBR," said Mr. Smeaton. "I
run a web-design firm and I like to do most of my business over
the Internet. It saves me a lot of time going from Point A to
Point B."

While name reservations and business registrations account for
many business registry transactions, obtaining permits and
licences also represents a large part of the online activity.
Currently, business leaders can apply for 39 permits online and
new additions are anticipated.

Online Workers' Compensation Board clearance letters are also
very popular. Each year, the board receives close to 25,000
requests for clearance letters. Service Nova Scotia estimates
that more than 9,000 requests will be processed through the
business registry this year.

"Accessing clearance letters online is a significant service
improvement for Nova Scotia businesses who need proof that they -
- or sub-contractors they hire -- have WCB coverage," said Cathy
Belliveau, manager of assessment services for the Workers'
Compensation Board. "In some cases, timely access to a clearance
letter can determine who gets the contract."

One company that accesses the registry for WCB clearance letters
is the Lunenburg construction firm Rikjak Projects Inc.

"We used to request clearance letters from sub-contractors; the
NSBR has eliminated a lot of phone and fax tag and gives us more
control," said accountant Sherri Aulenback. "It works very well
for us."

"The Nova Scotia Business Registry is doing what it set out to
do: Deliver government at the speed of business," concluded Ms.


     Businesses across the province are giving the Nova Scotia

Business Registry high praise as it marks its first year of


     The business registry is a joint effort between Service Nova

Scotia, the Workers' Compensation Board and the Canada Customs

and Revenue Agency.

     Businesses use the service to register a company, obtain

permits and W-C-B clearance letters and to complete a variety of

other business-related tasks.

     Nine out of 10 clients have said they would use the online

service again, according to customer satisfaction surveys. Seven

of 10 were first-time users who used to use the phone, the mail

or travel to a government office.


Contact: Kevin Finch
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations

sac         November 20, 2002        2:27 P.M.