E-News Bulletin--February 2017-In This Issue

In this issue:

  • UNSM Board Report 
  • Upcoming Workshops/Events/Initiatives
  • UNSM Announcements
  • NS Economic Projections
  • Provincial Issues: Department of Business Rural High Speed Internet Stakeholder Sessions; Province Commits to More Access to Information; Change to Liquor Licensing Regulations Cuts Red Tape for Restaurants; Nova Scotia--One Year of Open Data
  • Federal Issues: Federal Budget
  • FCM: FCM Announces New Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program; FCM Announces New Municipal Asset Management Program; FCM is Hosting a Free Webinar to Preview its new Climate and Asset Management Network; Connect to Innovate Rural Broadband Program--Application Deadline Extension; Opioid Crisis--Mayors Launch Task Force, Engage Federal Ministers
  • Articles:  "So You Think You Can Dance? Footwork for Elected Municipal Officials"  - Kevin Latimer, Q.C. and Meryn Steeves, Articled Clerk, Cox & Palmer 

President's Activities

For a list of the President's activities over the past months, click here.

Update on UNSM Board of Directors
UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from January meeting
Upcoming Workshops/Events/Initiatives
Provincial Issues
Federal Issues
Other Announcements

UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from February 3 meeting

  1. MLA Letter - A letter was sent to all MLA's which included a copy of the passed resolutions and the Strategic Partnership Framework signed by the UNSM and Municipal Affairs Minister at the 2016 UNSM Fall Conference. Also included was a request to meet with each provincial party caucus to discuss both documents.
  2. Engage Nova Scotia - Engage Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit organizations formed in 2012 to advance a province-wide culture of collaboration, innovation and self-reliance. They have met with UNSM and are proposing a series of steps to communicate and work directly with municipalities.
  3. Committee Appointments - During a teleconference held January 17, the UNSM Board appointed the following individuals to the following committees: NS Building Advisory Committee: Councillor Andre Veinotte, District of Chester, Health and Benefits: Councillor John MacLennan, County of Inverness and Deputy Warden Linda Gregory, District of Digby; PVSC: Councillor Clifford Hood, Town of Yarmouth, Councillor Darren Bruckschwaiger, CBRM, Jane Fraser, HRM; Municipal Finance Corporation: Five candidates were submitted to the DMA Minister for Consideration: Councillor Vince Byrne - Town of Amherst; Councillor Jim Winsor - County of Kings; Councillor Ivan Doncaster - CBRM; Councillor George MacDonald - CBRM; and Councillor Wayne Talbot - Town of Truro.
  4. Committee Appointment Policy - The Board agreed to review the current UNSM Committee Appointment and Reporting Policy including how candidates are appointed, candidate qualifications, ensuring a consistent reporting process back to the board, and posting of meeting minutes and agendas on UNSM website.
  5. Women Mayors Op Ed Piece - Given that in Nova Scotia's municipalities, 38 per cent of mayors are represented by women, the UNSM Board agreed to submit an Op Ed piece for the Halifax Chronicle Herald in conjunction with International Women's day on March 8. The focus will be on the importance of having women at the council table as they can offer a different perspective on issues.
  6. Advocacy Strategy Project Committee - The Board agreed to form an Advocacy Strategy Project Committee comprised of the UNSM Table Officers (President, Vice President, Past President), UNSM Executive Director, UNSM Manager, Member Relations, UNSM member with experience utilizing social media, and a municipal communications staff person. The Committee will prepare an RFP to engage a consultant. The consultant will be tasked with preparing a report to develop an advocacy strategy that will enhance UNSM’s profile and visibility among the membership, the Province, stakeholder groups and general public through the use of traditional media and social media.

UNSM Announcements--February 2017

Open Data Council

On December 14, 2016, UNSM President Laurie Murley signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Province of Nova Scotia, Halifax, and the Property Valuation Services Corporation, to find ways to harness the potential of Open Data. The MOU establishes an Open Data Council to identify opportunities for collaboration and consultation across governments and the business sector. The Council will also help educate and communicate best practices in open data and provide strategic advice on how best to use and promote open data.

A new web portal, known as datazONE, (www.thedatazone.ca), available to municipalities, is funded, managed and administered by PVSC. Currently the portal includes data and information from Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and connects to data sets available on both the Halifax and Municipality of East Hants's open data portals. All municipalities are encouraged to become involved in providing open data; there is no direct cost for municipalities to participate in this service. The Open Data Council will help and all data sets and information will be checked to ensure it meets privacy requirements.

Municipalities interested in learning more about open data and the datazONE should contact, Trudy LeBlanc, CMM, Sr. Advisor Municipal Client Relations, Property Valuation Services Corporation ().


Engage Nova Scotia/UNSM Partnership

Engage Nova Scotia has partnered with UNSM and the Department of Municipal Affairs to increase the level and quality of public engagement in Nova Scotia’s communities. We hope this partnership will support you in your efforts to engage citizens, create more buy-in, and work together towards shared goals.

Municipal officials will soon receive a link to a survey to gather information about what is already working in your region and areas that might need extra support. We encourage your participation. We also invite you to join a conference call on Monday, March 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., when you will hear about the survey results and have an opportunity to exchange ideas about challenges, new approaches, and best practices in community engagement.

Engage will also send out more information about their “Engagement Clinic” to be held May 10, immediately prior to our UNSM Spring Workshop. This will be an opportunity for councillors and staff to work through their engagement ideas, challenges, or active projects with the support of engagement professionals as well as other UNSM members.

Engage is also available ongoing as a sounding board and learning partner. Contact the Engage office at (902) 407-2582 or to find out more about the resources available to you as you pursue greater engagement in your community.

We welcome the opportunities this partnership presents and encourage you to take advantage of the resources Engage is making available to our membership.


Upcoming Workshops/ Events/Initiatives--February 2017


  • February 23, 2017 - Valley Regional Meeting - 6:45 p.m. - 9:15 p.m., Acadia University, Town of Wolfville
  • February 24, 2017 - Accountability and Transparency: Special Meeting of UNSM Membership - 9:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Commonwealth A - Westin Nova Scotian Hotel, Halifax
  • March 6, 2017 - Department of Business Rural High Speed Internet Stakeholder Session - 1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m., Salon C, Cafeteria, NSCC in Truro, 36 Arthur Street
  • March 7, 2017 - Department of Business Rural High Speed Internet Stakeholder Session - 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - NSCC Waterfront Campus, 80 Mawiomi Pl, Dartmouth
  • March 7, 2017 from 2 – 3 p.m. – Free webinar to preview FCM’s new Climate and Asset Management Network. Find out how your municipality can build on its foundation of asset management and take action on climate change. Click here to register.
  • March 10, 2017 - South Western Shore Regional Meeting - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Town of Yarmouth
  • March 20, 2017 - Engage Nova Scotia Teleconference - 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (details to follow)
  • March 24, 2017 - Colchester/Cumberland/Pictou/East Hants Region - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. County of Colchester
  • March 31, 2017 - Cape Breton-Strait Area Regional Meeting - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre
  • April 28, 2017 - South Shore-HRM Regional Meeting - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Atlantica Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre, District of Chester
  • May 10, 2017 - Engagement Clinic Hosted by Engage Nova Scotia - St.F.X. University - Held as a separate event in conjunction with UNSM Spring Workshop.
  • May 10-12, 2017 - UNSM Spring Workshop, St. FX University, Antigonish, NS (More details to follow--check UNSM Spring Workshop Website)

NS Economic Projections

Canmac Economics has released its 2017 Macro Economic Outlook for the province. It is available on the UNSM website http://unsm.ca/economic-development.html.

This is part of a subscription service to add value for UNSM members. Other publications available on our website include a sub-provincial outlook (April, 2016), and an industry outlook 2016-21. Updated information will be published on our website.

The 2017 Macro Economic Outlook indicates with the $30 billion Irving Shipyard project underway and the promise of increased infrastructure spending from the Federal Government, GDP is expected to average 2.2% over the forecast period. This will put increased pressure on the labour market – unemployment rates of 3.1% by 2021.

Canmac’s models have the ability to integrate economic impact assessments. Increasingly, the assumption in traditional impact analysis that all employment will come from the ranks of the unemployed is not tenable. If one is doing impact analysis for policy purposes, then the true incremental economic impact will require a more advanced simulation methodology such as those provided by Canmac’s econometric forecasting approach.