The regulatory burden in Nova Scotia hinders our industry’s competitiveness when compared to other provinces. In part, this burden is caused by unclear, conflicting regulations. Some regulations are time consuming and others require farmers to incur significant costs in order to comply.
Agriculture falls under provincial jurisdiction, but municipal by-laws are not consistent across the province. Inconsistencies in such things as building permits and building codes for agricultural buildings are just a few of the challenges. Regulations should not exist to hinder the development of agriculture and should be written in plain language to facilitate understanding.
While food safety programs have a place to protect Nova Scotians, scale appropriate regulations and programs that allow for long term farm business planning must be considered. Scale appropriate regulations will help increase the number of processing facilities thus decreasing the amount of time – in some cases up to three hours – livestock farmers have to travel for processing and be away from their farm. Also, navigating the various regulations and programs is often a barrier to accessing markets.
Many of the barriers mentioned are inhibiting the growth of Nova Scotia’s Agriculture Industry. Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture is releasing a report on “Barriers to Growth”, resulting from industry survey and focus groups in 2015.
Through the Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness, the governments of the Atlantic Provinces are working together to address red tape and other inconsistencies across the region. Future priorities have been identified and include: internal trade, occupational health and safety, transportation and procurement.
Changes to regulations that affect farm operations always strike concerns. Any update to regulations should be phased in and facilitate clear communication with farmers around compliance.
Leading the industry toward increased capacity for innovation, responsiveness, and reduced business risk will help ensure the competitiveness of Nova Scotia agriculture. These costs must be recoverable in the market place or be recognized as a public good supported by Nova Scotia government, not downloaded to the agriculture community.
Policy Statement: It shall be the policy of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to lobby Nova Scotia Government for reduction of red tape and regulatory burden so farmers can do business in Nova Scotia. It shall also be the policy of the Federation to work with counterparts at CFA to reduce red tape at the federal level. The Federation will also monitor the results of the Barriers to Growth report and the activities of the Joint Office of the Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness.