Reducing Nova Scotia’s Regulatory Burden

A strong, efficient and effective regulatory environment is a hallmark of a high-functioning, efficient and sustainable economy.

In 2017, government set a target to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden to Nova Scotia business by $25 million by the end of 2018. The target was based on an estimate of the overall regulatory burden to Nova Scotia business of approximately $560 million, and, specifically getting at ‘undue burden’, estimated by business at approximately $200 million.

In January 2019, the Office reported on more than 60 regulatory initiatives estimated to save businesses $34 million (net) annually, well exceeding its $25 million target. 
Exceeding the target in an ambitious timeframe underscores the role and importance of regulatory reform as part of a broader effort to create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity.

What is regulatory burden?

Regulatory burden or ‘red tape’ is the time and cost business spends dealing with outdated, overly complex or duplicative rules and processes or unnecessary paperwork that provide little or no value to consumers, employees, the environment, government or businesses.

Reducing regulatory burden

Regulatory burden is reduced by changing how government regulates. It begins with exploring other ways of doing things, such as education, before introducing new rules.

When evidence indicates regulation is the best option, burden can be reduced by developing rules with the ‘lightest touch’ and with the input of those who will be impacted.

Burden is also reduced when government makes compliance easier through service and process improvements, which can reduce the time it takes to get accurate information or approvals. Finally, burden can be reduced by eliminating rules that are unnecessary or duplicative.

What’s Next

Building on the momentum of our first burden reduction target, government has set new targets:

By the end of 2020, government will:

  • Reduce undue burden to business by $10 million (net).
    • Once achieved and added to the $34 million savings attained in 2017 and 2018, government will have reduced the annual regulatory burden to business by nearly $45 million. These are yearly savings.
  • Pilot an approach to reduce time spent on compliance by citizens and non-profit organizations by 50,000 hours by end of 2020. This pilot will be led by the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services. If successful, it may be expanded to other departments.
  • Update our regulatory count, completed in 2018
  • Do a regulatory sweep to remove outdated or redundant regulations

Tracking our progress

All actions that contribute to the overall regulatory burden are costed using the Business Impact Assessment. The costing tool, developed by the Office with input from the business community, is used across government to estimate the costs and savings of all regulatory proposals, which are assessed and tracked by the Office.

The regulatory costing tool considers:

  • Upfront costs or savings businesses incur due to a regulatory addition or change
  • Ongoing costs or savings businesses will realize due to a regulatory addition or change
  • Time and fee costs or savings businesses will realize due to a regulatory addition or change

Watch this short video about Business Impact Assessment

Contact us

Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness
Suite 302, Collins Bank Building
1883 Upper Water Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1S9