When the going gets tough, the government gets out of the way.
The premiers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick signed an agreement Tuesday to reduce red tape for businesses and workers who crisscross the border.
“We are examining ways to get out of the way of business, to reduce barriers to trade and the movement of skilled labour to allow workers to go where there is work to be done,” Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday.
“The goal is to help our workers and businesses respond to opportunities with as few constraints as possible.”
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham said a number of initiatives — some immediate and others longer term – were created after consultations with the business community.
“For example, commercial trucks delivering goods between our two provinces currently have to be stopped and weighed at Salisbury and at Amherst. These two stops are within 50 kilometres of each other,” he said.
The Partnership Agreement on Regulation and the Economy (PARE) will streamline the process so trucks only have to stop once, saving money that would be passed on to the consumer.
It will impact regulations on on-shore drilling, trucking, construction and every kind of business that crosses the border, MacDonald said.
Another project on the immediate list is to create a uniform 511 system where someone leaving Halifax on the way to Maine would have one place to call to check out road conditions.
MacDonald said New Brunswick could piggyback on Nova Scotia’s new 511 system, but that’s just one option they’re looking at.
The premiers were asked if P.E.I. and Newfoundland were asked to join the party.
MacDonald said they thought it best to get started with a province-to-province agreement but have invited the other Atlantic Canadian provinces to join at their convenience.