• A Call-to-Action for Candidates: The Ballot Box Issues for NS Businesses

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    Nova Scotians head to the polls on August 17th to decide who will govern the province. There are many issues that are being brought to the attention of political candidates, but one of the core planks of any political platform is always the economy. At the heart of the economy are our resilient businesses who are ready and eager to recover from the past 17 months of the pandemic. 
    Not surprisingly, the top issue for business is pandemic recovery. The next government must fully harness the potential of Nova Scotia’s economy as businesses continue to navigate the hardships caused by COVID-19. Our next government needs to consider the economic impact that continued restrictions have already had on businesses and must work with the private sector to create an environment where businesses have the opportunity to grow and flourish during and following the pandemic.
    COVID-19 has also accelerated the need for rural internet and connectivity throughout areas of the province. The Atlantic Chamber recently explored this issue with members of its insight community, Atlantic IMPRESSIONS, and 67% of members indicated rural internet is a top concern. Ensuring access to high-speed internet is essential for Nova Scotians no matter where they live, to ensure businesses can thrive and employees can work remotely—especially in rural communities.
    Robust labour markets and a healthy population is essential for Nova Scotia’s continued growth. Access to healthcare is a dominant question on the minds of Nova Scotians and those thinking about moving to the province. There are currently more than 69,000 Nova Scotians without access to a family doctor. Having a well-functioning and accessible healthcare system is crucial to attracting people to the province and growing the economy. Another critical part of our labour market is access to affordable and accessible housing. Without adequate housing which is accessible to people of all backgrounds, growth will be stagnated, and the economy will not be able to reach its full potential.
    Finally, as business casts their votes, the other key issue that remains top of mind is immigration. Immigration fuels the economy. It is also essential for economic growth and pandemic recovery. When immigrants enter the labour force, they increase the productive capacity of the economy, address labour shortages, and raise GDP. Taking a proactive approach to creating a positive environment that attracts immigrants and Canadians to Nova Scotia should be among the highest priorities for the next elected government. 
    Unlike past elections, the next government will be influenced by the extreme conditions and ramifications of the pandemic, which has only compounded the demographic, fiscal and growth challenges that existed in the province.
    The reality is, there many communities are at risk in Nova Scotia. As business heads to the ballots on August 17th, the call-to-action is clear: candidates need to address these critical issues for business and recovery for at-risk communities in Nova Scotia.