News release

Government Reducing Regulatory Burden for Universities

Universities play an important role in Nova Scotia’s economic growth. As they continue to advance education and research across the province, government wants to ensure their operational needs are supported and regulatory burdens are reduced.

Amendments to the University Foundations Act introduced today, Feb. 21, will allow universities who no longer wish to operate their foundations to dissolve them.

“We’ve heard from our universities and for many of them, there is no longer a need to operate a foundation in addition to the university itself,” said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Labi Kousoulis. “These changes will help ensure the legislation reflects the current landscape and better support our universities by allowing them to streamline operations.”

Currently, the University Foundations Act requires all 10 universities to operate a foundation. At the time the act was established, there were tax advantages associated with donations to Crown foundations, however these tax advantages no longer exist.

The additional amendments will:

  • add transitional provisions to transfer all assets, property, liabilities and obligations associated with the dissolved foundations to the affiliated university
  • outline that any outstanding gifts or bequests to a dissolved foundation would go to the affiliated university
  • remove the requirement for the minister to table the annual report of each foundation before the legislature
  • add that the minister can require that additional information be included in a foundation’s annual report
  • update the name of the minister
  • include an amendment to the University Pension Plan Transfer Act to remove reference to the University Foundations Act

Seven of the 10 universities have chosen to dissolve their university foundations. Acadia University, Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design have opted to continue running their foundations.

Quick Facts:

  • the University Foundations Act was enacted in 1991
  • the act was originally established to support the tax advantages associated with donating to a Crown foundation that existed at that time
  • the changes will not impact the universities’ ability to fundraise
  • these amendments align with government’s broader commitment to reduce undue regulatory burden to businesses

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia’s University Foundations Act:

Government’s work to reduce Nova Scotia’s Regulatory Burden: