Provincial Updates--Summer 2016

High-Speed Internet Coming to More Rural Communities

On June 20, the Province announced it is taking the next steps towards making high-speed Internet service available in more rural communities throughout the province. In the short term government will ask municipalities to bring forward proposals, and issue a call for information from service providers, so that solutions can be implemented quickly. Government will also hire a team with technical expertise to develop a detailed plan and work with communities on projects for further development. The team will be in place this fall.

Budget 2016-2017 allocated $6 million to improve high-speed Internet service. Government also commissioned a report from EY, a global leader in advisory services, to evaluate the current situation and offer guidance on the way forward.

The EY report indicates Nova Scotia is in a similar position to other Canadian and North American areas, in terms of availability of high-speed Internet. It also illustrates that achieving faster speeds in rural areas will need a mix of technologies. Doing so will require significant investment and partnerships with community groups, the private sector and all levels of government.

The EY report is available at http://novascotia.ca/business/about/.

 

Right to Know Week in Nova Scotia - September 26 to October 2

September 28, 2016 is International Right to Know Day. In Canada, the week of September 26 to October 2 has been designated as “Right to Know Week.” There will be various activities in most provinces and territories and at the national level during this week.

To enhance public awareness, Nova Scotia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has invited all municipalities to proclaim September 26 to October 2, 2016 Right to Know Week. A proclamation would serve as an official endorsement demonstrating your commitment to openness, transparency and accountability, greatly increasing the number of citizens who will become aware of their right to access information.

The purpose of Right to Know Week is to celebrate the right of all Canadians, and in our case specifically Nova Scotians, to access information in the custody or under the control of public bodies, municipalities, and health custodians as guaranteed by access to information legislation. Such legislation entrenches the accountability of governments by ensuring they operate with transparency and openness.

Nova Scotia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner is participating in this Canada-wide effort along with other Canadian Commissioner colleagues to raise awareness of the right to access information and its value, with a local focus on what it means to those living and working in Nova Scotia.

A copy of the proposed wording for the proclamation is outlined below. The OIPC has asked that if a municipality passes a motion to sign the proclamation that it provide the OIPC with a signed and sealed copy of the proclamation, which will be posted on the Right to Know Week webpage of their website www.foipop.ns.ca. The office also may Tweet about it on our Twitter page, @NSInfoPrivacy. The office invites each municipality to retain an original signed copy of the Right to Know Proclamation and post it in a prominent location.

For further information on Right to Know Week contact Julie Young, Executive Assistant, OIPC at 902-424-4684, or .

 

SAMPLE PROCLAMATION - RIGHT TO KNOW WEEK - September 26 to October 2, 2016

 

WHEREAS the [Insert the name of your municipality] has adopted the principles of openness, transparency and accountability; and

WHEREAS Part XX of the Municipal Government Act gives citizens a right of access to information in the custody or under the control of the [Insert the name of your municipality]; and

WHEREAS access to information ensures citizens of Nova Scotia have the opportunity for meaningful participation in the democratic process; and

WHEREAS a celebration of the right of citizens to access information will facilitate informed public participation in policy formulation, ensure fairness in government decision-making and permit the airing and reconciliation of divergent views; and

WHEREAS [Insert the name of your jurisdiction] joins all other Canadian jurisdictions and democracies world-wide in acknowledging international Right to Know Week;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that I, [Insert the name of the Mayor or Warden], [Insert the name of your municipality], do hereby proclaim September 26 to October 2, 2016 to be Right to Know Week in the [Insert the name of your municipality].

 

Changes to Building Code Act Regulations

The Office of the Fire Marshall wrote to UNSM providing an update on changes to the Building Code Act Regulations that will benefit home‐based businesses in Nova Scotia.

Following extensive public consultation, changes came into effect on August 1, 2016 that exempt home based businesses from some of the rules in the regulations. Home based businesses no larger than 25 per cent of the total floor area (50 m2) of a home that the
business owner occupies will be exempt from certain parts of the Building Code Act Regulations
intended for commercial spaces.

These exemptions include:

  • requirements including wider doors and a barrier-free entrance;
  • fire separations, loading, fire-rated doors with self-closures; and
  • additional washroom facilities.

These changes will bring clarity to business owners and Building Officials, and they will prevent
undue regulatory burden for home based businesses. More information is located at: http://novascotia.ca/dma/firesafety/BuildingCode/

 

Fire Services Study

Work is underway to gather views on fire services throughout the province. UNSM has received funding from Municipal Affairs and is working in partnership with the province and AMA to identify the top issues, best practices and recommendations for next steps to ensure fire services are delivered appropriately and effectively. Pomax Consulting will be holding sessions with municipal administrators and fire services providers the week of September 12. If you have any questions, contact Betty MacDonald, .