The fines in Nova Scotia for price gouging during an emergency are about to be hiked up to 100 times higher.
Currently if a business or individual is found to be raising prices to exploit people in emergency situations they face a $1,000 fine. That’s going up to $10,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies.
Emergency Management Minister Ramona Jennex and EMO head Craig MacLaughlan both said they were unaware of anyone being convicted of price gouging in Nova Scotia. But they said the stiff fines would act as a deterrent.
The change is part of a bill unveiled Thursday that was inadvertently leaked to reporters in a media scrum by NDP MLA Percy Paris the day before. The bill will give the province the power to demand pandemic plans from outside businesses such as utilities, gas companies, grocery stores and universities. However staff say they don’t have the capacity at the moment to judge those plans.
“If Nova Scotia Power were to drop their plan on a desk at present I would not have the expertise to evaluate whether that plan would work for Nova Scotia Power,” MacLaughlan said. When asked then what the point of the bill was he said they may have the expertise in the future.