The government is partnering with municipalities and with the restaurant and accommodations industry to slash red tape and make it easier to do business in Nova Scotia. Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Mark Furey announced today, Jan. 30, the formation of the Restaurant and Accommodations Industry Sector Bundle Project, marking the first time in Canada that business and government have come together to deliver a comprehensive bundle of specific services through a single online tool. “The regulatory burden is significant in the restaurant and accommodations sector today,” said Mr. Furey. “We know that cutting through the red tape and making business more competitive demands that we work hand-in-hand to find solutions.” The first step in the project is the creation of a Restaurant and Accommodations Industry Advisory Group, made up entirely of owner-operators across the province and representation from industry associations. The group will identify needed improvements in regulation and the delivery of services that will support businesses, improve their competiveness, and strengthen Nova Scotia’s economy. Government has already been collaborating with industry over the past few months, together with three pilot municipalities — Halifax Regional Municipality, the Town of Truro and the Town of Antigonish. Together they have identified a collection of more than 40 provincial and municipal licences and permits now required by accommodation providers and food service establishments in order to carry on business. A priority of the project is to find ways of eliminating needless duplication by using digital tools to allow businesses to satisfy multiple requirements with just one online stop. Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, said his group is pleased to be part of the project. “This project will clearly lead to a reduction in red tape for new start-ups, small and medium size business operations. The harmonization of forms and information that can be transferred from department to department will make both government and industry more efficient,” Mr. Stewart said. Over the next year, the province will ramp up its engagement with other industry partners, identify opportunities and confirm the project’s priorities before designing and implementing the new online tools. “The project has the potential to make a significant improvement in the business environment across the province,” said Scott MacAulay, chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. “Tourism operators are primarily small business and the administrative burden placed on them by many of these processes has traditionally been quite substantial. “We are delighted to be working with the provincial government to advance this and other projects and applaud them as they seek to streamline costs.” The project is part of Access to Business, the government’s initiative to make it easier for businesses in Nova Scotia to access government services. The Access to Business online service was launched in December 2012 and provides businesses in the province the opportunity to complete many different government transactions online, at their convenience. The province continues to respond to feedback from the business community, and expand the offering of this online tool.