Sustainable Prosperity Act: consultation

We’re working on new legislation to help us to advance our goals of a healthy environment and long-term prosperity for Nova Scotians. We’re inviting Nova Scotians to share their feedback. The deadline to participate is 27 September.

We believe that a healthy economy and a healthy environment are closely linked, and there's great economic potential in supporting a healthy environment. The proposed new legislation would replace the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act (EGSPA), which was passed in 2007. It will help us build on the important work Nova Scotians have already done.


Our long-term goal is a sustainable, prosperous province with strong, inclusive growth, a clean environment, and a healthy, resilient population.

We propose to renew our commitment with a new Sustainable Prosperity Act and regulations. The new legislation will set new targets with clear reporting requirements. It will be more flexible and allow us to adapt to new conditions and opportunities.

We propose to base the new legislation and regulations on 5 main concepts. These concepts will guide our decision making and influence the private sector and others to support sustainable prosperity.

The 5 concepts are:

Netukulimk: The Mi’kmaq concept of achieving adequate standards of community nutrition and economic well-being without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity or productivity of our environment.

Sustainable development: Hallmarks of sustainable development are a healthy economy, a healthy environment and a healthy, resilient population.

Inclusive economic growth: Inclusive economic growth is a concept that’s increasingly gaining recognition as key to sustainable prosperity. It means that all Nova Scotians have something to contribute to a healthy economy, and they should all benefit from it in an equitable way.

Circular economy: The Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) in the UK defines a circular economy as “an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.” Foundations of a circular economy already exist in Nova Scotia and there’s opportunity for growth.

Interconnected, shared responsibility: The health of the economy, the health of the environment and the health of Nova Scotians are interconnected. They’re a shared responsibility among all provincial government departments, all levels of government, the private sector and all Nova Scotians.

Areas of focus

In 2017, the Round Table on the Environment and Sustainable Prosperity conducted a legislated review of EGSPA. Its members represent environmental non-governmental organizations, industry and academia. They stressed that, in today's world, a stronger Nova Scotia economy is also a green and more sustainable economy.

We propose focusing on the following key areas in the new legislation:

Cleaner Energy

  • renewable energy opportunities
  • energy performance and efficiency of buildings and homes
  • supporting low-carbon and active transportation

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

  • fighting climate change through cap and trade program and other initiatives
  • building resilience to a changing climate

Circular Economy

  • building on success in solid waste management
  • working with partners to support and seize circular economy opportunities
  • encouraging private sector to adopt circular economy practices and principles

Leadership in Sustainable Prosperity

  • investing in key areas of research and development
  • supporting education programs
  • incorporating sustainability across government programs and initiatives, particularly those that build capacity
  • reporting on efforts and celebrate successes of all levels of government and the private sector

Biodiversity and Natural Asset Stewardship

  • managing protected areas and maximize their benefits for Nova Scotians
  • creating measures to protect biodiversity
  • taking steps to transition to ecological forestry
  • implementing legal protection for our coasts

Inclusive Economy

  • promoting youth employment in green industries and professions
  • promoting and supporting skills development
  • identifying ways for all Nova Scotians to benefit from a sustainable prosperity approach

How you can participate

We’re inviting all Nova Scotians to share their thoughts on the proposed changes. Send us your answers to these 3 questions:

  1. What are your thoughts on the proposed objectives and key concepts?
  2. What are your thoughts on the six areas of focus? Are there other areas we should consider?
  3. The Minister’s Round Table on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity recommended that we rename this legislation the Sustainable Prosperity Act.  Do you agree?

You’re welcome to include other thoughts, too.

Email your answers to The deadline to participate is 27 September.