News release

Legislation to Help Modernize and Grow Tourism Sector

Nova Scotia is modernizing its tourist accommodations legislation and taking steps to support tourism growth across the province.

Government introduced legislation today, March 7, that will repeal the outdated Tourist Accommodations Act and replace it with a new registration act. Short-term accommodations providers, except those who rent in their primary residence, will be required to register through a simple online system.

Changes will take effect a year from now, allowing time for further consultation with municipalities and industry in the months ahead.

“It’s time to update our legislation to reflect today’s travellers and find innovative ways to attract more visitors,” said Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan. “These changes will reduce red tape for existing operators and make it easier for more Nova Scotians to participate in our thriving tourism sector.”

The current act includes prescriptive rules for licensed tourist accommodations, including having at least eight coat hangers and governing the size of a floor mat, a mirror and the wattage of light bulbs.

Government is also proposing amendments to the Assessment Act to ensure small-scale operators will pay a residential property tax rate, rather than a commercial rate. Municipal Affairs will engage its municipal partners to develop regulations which will define a small-scale tourist accommodation establishment, including the maximum number of rooms.

“I am confident these changes will provide greater clarity on the definition of short-term rentals, for taxation purposes, while helping to support tourism growth in Nova Scotia,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Chuck Porter.”

Nova Scotia has a goal to grow the tourism sector to $4 billion in annual revenues by 2024, up from about $2.7 billion in 2017. An independent study found that the province will require between 5,500 and 7,000 additional units to achieve that goal.

“The growth of short-term rentals is great news for rural communities like ours,” said Larry Peach, tourism manager with the Municipality of Clare. “Without our vibrant short-term rental accommodations, it would be a lot more challenging to host signature events like the Gran Fondo or bid for international events like le Congrès mondial acadien in 2024.”

“We all want unique, exceptional experiences when we travel,” said Dennis Campbell, CEO of Halifax’s Ambassatours Gray Line, one of the largest combined land and water tour companies in Canada. “By embracing the modern approach to travel, Nova Scotia is even better positioned to grow the tourism sector.”

The changes will not impact any municipal by-laws or zoning on short-term rental accommodations.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia is modernizing the rules around tourist accommodations to support tourism growth across the province.

Legislation introduced today (March 7th) that will repeal the outdated Tourist Accommodations Act and replace it with a new registration act.

Under the new act, if you provide a short-term rental in your primary residence, you won’t have to register at all.

All others will be required to register through a simple online system.

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the changes reduce red tape and encourage more people to take part in the tourism sector.

Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter is also proposing amendments to the Assessment Act to provide clarity for short- term rental operators.

The amendments would ensure that small-scale operators will be assessed at a residential property tax rates, not commercial.

The changes won’t take effect for another year to allow time for more engagement with municipalities and people in the tourism sector.

Nova Scotia has a goal to reach four-billion-dollars in revenue in the tourism sector by 20-24 – up from two-point-seven in 2017.

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Media Contacts:

Gary Andrea
Department of Business Cell: 902-456-6196 Email:
Krista Higdon
Department of Municipal Affairs Cell: 902-220-6619 Email: