E-News Bulletin--January-February 2016-In This Issue

In this issue:

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

President's Activities

For a list of the President's activities over the past month, 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

Update on UNSM Board of Directors

Update on UNSM Board of Directors

As you may know, UNSM President Councillor Claire Detheridge has taken ill, and will be focused on recovery over the next number of months. Our thoughts and prayers are with Claire and her family as she begins recovery. The UNSM Board wishes to thank Vice President Councillor Laurie Murley for stepping up in Claire's absence.

To allow her the necessary time to recover, and following the intent of the UNSM By-Laws that this year's President be from the regional caucus, the Board has appointed Mayor Cecil Clarke to serve as President. This appointment, fully endorsed by CBRM Council, is effective immediately until Claire can resume her duties as President.

Deputy Warden Fraser Patterson, County of Victoria, has been elected by the Rural Caucus to serve as one of its representatives on the Board.

The UNSM Board is appreciative of Mayor Clarke's and Deputy Warden Patterson's willingness to serve.

UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from January 22 meeting


  1. Accessibility Legislation: The Province is aiming to introduce legislation in the Fall that will establish the framework for developing standards and regulations around accessibility. Both the Province and municipalities will be impacted by the legislation. As UNSM has been pushing for involvement in the development of regulations prior to them being announced, the UNSM Board agreed to establish a joint provincial-municipal committee to: a) develop and implement a municipal education and awareness plan around the intended legislation; and b) develop and implement an engagement strategy allowing municipalities to provide advice on how the outcomes of the intended legislation can be achievable in the municipal sector. UNSM will be issuing a call for an elected member from each of the caucuses to serve on the committee.
  2. Caucus Structure: The Board discussed this issue, as the impact of recent dissolutions is changing the way municipalities view themselves. There continues to be concerns raised by some of our members. Staff are preparing a report for the next meeting on this issue, focusing on how to build a stronger voice for UNSM.
  3. CAP Update: The CAP continues to distort the market based assessment system. Currently 75 per cent of residential properties are now capped. Ten years after its introduction, it is impacting those wanting to buy or home or to downsize. The Province does not see the CAP as a priority. The UNSM, PVSC and AMANS will be developing a strategy for the next board meeting.
  4. Fire Services Study: The Province had undertaken a review of fire services from their perspective. In order to gain the municipal perspective, the Province is providing funding for UNSM and AMANS to hire a consultant to meet with municipalities, to identify fire issues and opportunities, and to make some recommendations on fire services. Provincial staff are finalizing the terms of reference.
  5. Advocacy: UNSM will be writing the provincial and federal ministers of finance regarding municipal priorities and concerns.
  6. Appointments: Warden Aldric d'Entremont, District of Argyle, and Councillor Eldon MacDonald, CBRM, were appointed to the Active Transportation Committee
  7. UNSM Events: Mark your calendars. More information to follow:
  • February 19 - Climate Change Workshop, Dartmouth
  • April 14 - Forestry Workshop
  • April 14-15 - CAO-CEO Forum
  • May 4 - Structural Change Workshop, Old Orchard Inn
  • May 4-6 - UNSM Spring Workshop, Old Orchard Inn
  • Caucus and regional meetings are being planned.




Federal Issues--January-February 2016

Federal Matters

Municipal governments are eligible for federal funding to hire students this summer. Canada Summer Jobs Program is designed to focus on local priorities and help employers create summer job opportunities for full-time students aged 15 to 30.  Visit the Service Canada website for more information. The application deadline is February 26, 2016.

Provincial Issues--January-February 2016

New Business Immigration Streams Launched - On January 7, the Province launched its two new business immigration streams. The streams will attract international entrepreneurs and retain international graduates of provincial post-secondary institutions.

The Entrepreneur Stream aims to attract those who want to start or buy, and actively manage, a business in Nova Scotia. The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream provides an immigration opportunity for students who have graduated from a Nova Scotia university or community college and have started their own business.

Both streams use a temporary to permanent residence model, considered a best practice in immigration.

For the Entrepreneur Stream, the applicant initially receives a work permit allowing them to enter Nova Scotia to start and run their business for at least one year. Candidates sign an agreement that sets out the business plan outcomes to be met before nomination for permanent residence.

For the International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, students are required to have studied for a minimum of two years and then spend a year running their business on a federal post-graduation work permit.

Once the new streams are fully operational, Nova Scotia expects to nominate 40-50 applicants per year as permanent residents.

Nova Scotia's Minimum Wage Increasing April 1 - Nova Scotia's minimum wage is increasing in line with the cost of living.

Government accepted the Minimum Wage Review Committee's recommendation to increase the minimum wage by 10 cents, to $10.70 an hour on April 1.

The minimum wage for someone who has less than three months' experience will also increase by 10 cents an hour, to $10.20.

Minimum wage rates are adjusted annually, and are based on the previous year's national Consumer Price Index.

The Minimum Wage Review Committee, which includes employee and employer representatives, filed its report with the minister on Jan. 6. The report is online at www.novascotia.ca/lae/pubs


Employability Service Delivery Framework: Update January 29/16--In November we reached out to you regarding Nova Scotia’s employment service system transformation. We’ve reached an important milestone and want to provide an update.

In late November we presented the framework for a new employment services system and a go-forward process to all of the employment service providers in Nova Scotia. We asked them to work together to develop a structure that supports a consistent, quality suite of services for their communities.

The province was divided into regions to facilitate the process and encourage local collaboration in the design of an employment services structure tailored to meet regional needs. The deadline for the regional concepts was January 22. We’re pleased to tell you we received 14 collaborative community-based concepts that clearly demonstrate providers are working together to design innovative, client-centric models of delivery. (See list of partnerships to date at the end of the letter.)

Throughout the process we have been listening to our stakeholders and have been influenced by what we’ve heard. Our goal is to improve employment services for specialized and targeted populations in Nova Scotia. Right now the availability of employment services is inconsistent across the province, and these specialized and targeted populations do not have equitable access to services tailored to their needs. To improve consistency we need communities to work together to ensure service excellence for all Nova Scotians.

We are also working toward the development of the Centre of Employment Innovation and Excellence. The Centre will have a specific mandate to support diversity and inclusion throughout the system - greatly improving the availability and the quality of employment services currently available to women and other diverse populations.

It’s important to note, this transformation will not result in less funding. The same amount will be available for employment services after the transition as is available today. But, we need to change how this money is spent so that more can go directly to frontline services for all Nova Scotians. Currently, 48% of our $23 million system is being spent on administration and infrastructure.

To help us with this important transition, we’ve contracted the services of a consulting firm who will work with us as we continue to move forward. As a next step we will be working with communities who have submitted concepts to move them forward to meet the July 1st implementation date. There are four areas that did not reach consensus. The service providers in these areas will be submitting individual concept applications that will be evaluated by an independent, intergovernmental group who will bring diverse perspectives to the process.

In the meantime, the Careers NS Team are willing and available to meet with organizations at any time to explain the employment system transformation in greater detail. We would be pleased if you were able to take advantage of this opportunity.

Thank you for your interest in a matter that is important to all of us. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Careers NS Transformation Team at .

List of Partnerships (achieved to date):

Cape Breton Region

  • Employability Association and Ann Terry
  • YMCA and New Waterford Resource Centre
  • NEDAC and North Victoria

Northern East

  • Career Connections, Antigonish Career Resource Centre, Guysborough County Community Business Association and Antigonish Black Development Association

Northern Central

  • Cumberland African NS Association
  • FutureWorx in partnership with CareerWorks Nova and Open Door

Dartmouth/Sackville/Cole Harbour

  • YMCA
  • Opportunity Place


  • Job Junction and Women’s Employment Outreach
  • YMCA and Direction Emploi
  • Team Work and Work Bridge

South Shore

  • Employment Solutions, South Shore Community Services Association, Queens Employment, and Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre


  • Black Employment Resource Centre and West Nova Inclusive Employment Society

For more information, contact:

Vicki Elliott-Lopez
Executive Lead, Careers NS
Labour and Advanced Education
(902) 424-1162

PVSC - January-February 2016

PVSC Awarded IPTI Certification

The International Property Tax Institute (IPTI) has completed its certification review of the Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC), Nova Scotia, in terms of its appraisal outcomes and business processes and procedures.

IPTI examined the following areas of PVSC’s core valuation business:

1. Statistical Review of Assessment Outcomes
2. Policy and Procedure Review
3. Statutory and Communication Review
4. Special/Unique Properties Review
5. Quality Framework/Business Improvement Review

As the worlds’ leading organization on property tax policy and practice, IPTI is well qualified to evaluate and make meaningful conclusions regarding assessment jurisdictions worldwide.

IPTI used the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) standards in making these judgements along with its considerable experience in the field of mass appraisal.
It is IPTI’s professional opinion, based on its expertise and objective evaluation in terms of best practices for assessment jurisdictions that PVSC has achieved what IPTI considers to be a very good level of certification, achieving a total score of 89.5% out of a possible 100%.

It is IPTI’s professional opinion that PVSC has been compliant in terms of property valuation
as mandated by s. 42(1) of the Nova Scotia Assessment Act, RS, c23. s1 (as amended) and
with IAAO standards for mass appraisal. Based on its review, IPTI has confidence in PVSC’s ability to produce and provide a quality assessment roll for municipal units throughout Nova Scotia and for individual property owners in the Province.

For a full copy of the report, click the following link: http://www.pvsc.ca/site/media/PVSC/Documents/PVSC%20Certification%20Report%20with%20Addenda%20FV.pdf


Consultations--January-February 2016


They have invited municipalities to take part in this important consultation.

The key questions that CRTC would like addressed related to broadband internet services include:

How has access to broadband internet services enabled or impaired your participation or those of your citizens or stakeholders, if applicable, in Canada's digital economy?

  • Given the growing importance of the digital economy, how do you expect the broadband internet needs of individuals, communities, institutions and/or businesses will evolve over time?
  • What upload and download speeds for broadband internet services do your stakeholders require to deliver services to Canadians?
  • What role should the CRTC play, if any, in ensuring that Canadians have access to broadband Internet services that enable their participation in the digital economy?

An online survey is available to fill out. It can be found through the following link: https://97.ca/ekos/cwx.cgi?EN:01616R 

Deadline to respond is February 29, 2016.

For additional information on CRTC's Broadband Internet consultation, click on: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/performance.htm



Nova Scotia Trails has developed a shared strategy and is looking for feedback from stakeholders on their draft document. You can find the draft strategy and comment through this link.


UNSM/AMA Wellness Program--January-February 2016

The Building a Healthy You! Program continuously provides municipalities, employees and elected officials with accessible tools, resources and interactive challenges. Rising health related costs puts pressure on municipalities bottom line. Investing in healthy lifestyles works! For every $ spent on wellness programs, medical costs can [text=E40404]potentially[/text] fall by some $3.27 and absentee costs by $2.73. Ask what your municipality is doing to support health and wellness, and take advantage of it yourself!
Visit www.amans.ca to discover additional health and wellness related tools and resources to help you create a healthier workplace for you and employees!

Obituaries--January-February 2016

Mr. Charles Keagan, Councillor for Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Mr. H. Donald "Don" (P.Eng.), former Councillor for Town of Lunenburg