Legislation Supports Increased Municipal Revenue, More Events, Enhanced Tourism
The Province is giving municipalities a greater ability to generate revenue to attract events, people and tourists to their communities.
Amendments to the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter introduced today, October 14, create a consistent, provincewide approach for municipalities to charge a marketing levy on the purchase price of hotel rooms and other accommodations.
Under the proposed legislation, municipalities can choose if they want to impose the levy and at what rate, up to a maximum of three per cent of the total cost of an accommodation.
“I have a mandate commitment to review and modernize the Municipal Government Act, and these consultations and legislative changes are an important piece of that work,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr. “Like other parts of the country, our Maritime neighbours already have reasonable marketing levies in place that help municipalities develop, plan, attract and pay for large events which benefit communities. This legislation aligns us with other provinces and supports business and tourism in our own province.”
The current process around marketing levies is time consuming, inconsistent and has caused confusion for municipalities, tourism marketing organizations, event organizers, sponsors and visitors. Municipalities must request legislative authority from the Province to create a levy, and there are now separate pieces of legislation permitting levies in four areas: Cape Breton Island, Halifax Regional Municipality, Yarmouth (town and district) and Digby (town and district). The levies vary in application and rate. The proposed legislation will apply to municipalities in those areas.
The amendments provide consistency and fairness for all municipalities and reduce red tape.
- all other provinces allow some form of marketing levy or accommodation tax, but how the levy is imposed and/or collected varies
- Nova Scotia’s proposed approach is similar to what New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Manitoba have in place
- the maximum rate of three per cent is lower than average rates across the country; a levy of three per cent on accommodations that cost $200 per night would be $6
- rooms registered under the Tourist Accommodations Registration Act would qualify for a levy
- consultation has taken place with key stakeholder groups, including the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, individual municipalities and the tourism industry
Bills tabled in the legislature are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1