The province is making it simpler for Nova Scotia businesses to operate, thanks to a new initiative, Service to Business, launched today, Oct. 16. The first stage of the initiative includes new business services at two Access Nova Scotia centres, a new website and a toll-free information line. “Nova Scotia businesses have told us that they want a single point of contact with government and better access to government forms. We are responding,” said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “Service to Business shows that government departments and agencies want to, and can, partner for the benefit of business.” Government licences, permits, registration and certifications are being bundled and centralized to help make them more accessible and easier for businesses to use. This means that business information will be grouped by industry sector. New business start-ups will be able to receive a complete package of forms and information that will fulfill their registration requirements with the province. Business service areas have been created as pilot locations in the Access Nova Scotia offices in Kentville and Sydney. Trained staff will offer information to help people starting, operating, and growing their businesses. A new website has also been created to provide the most current and relevant business information by sector. The information will also be available by contacting the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations call centre. “This project will offer a business-friendly and simplified service,” added Mr. Muir. “We hope to build on the experiences and expertise gained at these two Access Nova Scotia centres and begin offering these services in other locations in the future.” Surveys and consultations with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business confirmed that business operators believed that it is difficult to do business with government. “Three out of four business owners deal with regulatory requirements themselves, which takes, on average, seven hours per week. This is time they could be investing on their employees, their customers or their operations,” said Stephane Robichaud, vice-president, Canadian Federation of Independent Business Atlantic. “This initiative represents an important step for the province in reducing the compliance cost for small- and medium-sized businesses.” Service to Business is a project being led under the province’s Better Regulation Initiative, an approach involving every government department to help improve business regulations and economic competitiveness. More information on the Service to Business initiative is available on the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website at www.accessns.ca/business or by calling toll-free at 1-800-225-8227.