Krystal Nation Fear and loathing in Nova Scotia Page 3
July 2010 • Vol. 25, No. 02
This month’s View from the Corner Office (p.2) features...
News & Columns
Special Ad Features
Exit Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Real Estate, Construction & Development . . . . . . .4 Transportation & Tourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Business Insight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Resources & Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Funding Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Union of Nova Scotia Indians Anniversary . . . . .6-7 Mobius Environmental Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . .8-10 Environmental Excellence Awards . . . . . . . . . .11-12 Construction Safety Association Awards . . . .13-15 25 Years — Then & Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16-19
President, Atlantic Economics
Jeff Ransome President, Hotel Association of Nova Scotia
Jim Paris CEO, AG Research Inc.
Christine Power President and CEO, Capital Health
Mark Surrette President, Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
Cecil Smith xwave Regional Director, Nova Scotia
C E L E B R A T I N G
OF BEING NOVA SCOTIA’S LARGEST CIRCULATED MONTHLY BUSINESS PUBLICATION
Nova Scotia’s largest circulated monthly business publication
Secrecy in leadership Where’s the accountability and transparency? By Richard Woodbury
In the 1976 Oscar-winning film Network, character Howard Beale famously proclaimed: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” This comment could have just as easily come from the mouths of Nova Scotians upset with recent provincial government scandals, such as the MLA expense scandal, which have displayed a lack of accountability and transparency. People are losing faith — and it isn’t just in government, says Cathy Driscoll, a business ethics professor at Saint Mary’s University. “I think a lot of it is connected to a bigger societal problem with a lack of openness and transparency,” she says. “We’re seeing it in so many different sectors and so many different institutions where, in a lot of cases, people in positions of power and authority don’t feel that they should have to disclose information to various stakeholders.” Driscoll thinks tougher regulations and more watchdog agencies would help with these problems, as well as leaders which demonstrate a commitment to a higher standard of ethics and accountability. Finance minister Graham Steele wholeheartedly defends his government and its recent actions. “I believe very much in the idea that open government is good government,” he says. Since the NDP has been in office, it has been “very open, releasing information that had never b e e n released before” such as budget background information and projections.
But Steele says there are limits. “When you’re the opposition, you can talk in broad strokes. When you’re the government, you have to get all of the details right.” The June report by auditor general Jacques Lapointe — covering audits completed in the fall of 2009 and winter 2010 — is an example of where these limitations became evident. Citing cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege, the Government of Nova Scotia withheld more than 200 documents involving Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) and the Industrial Expansion Fund (IEF) from the auditor general. “These technicalities allow them to hide documents,” says Lapointe. “There’s no public policy reason to do so. It’s bad accountability.” In response to the government’s move, Lapointe denied an opinion on his audit of the operations of NSBI and IEF, and pointed out that denial of an audit opinion was the most severe audit sanction available to him. “We have no way of knowing whether these two financial entities — responsible for the distribution of millions of dollars of loans and other financial aid and incentives — have appropriate financial or program controls in place to protect the public funds they disburse or are operating in compliance with legislation, regulations and policies,” the auditor general stated in a media release. Lapointe isn’t the only one troubled by this lack of transparency and accountability. “In private business, you do not get to negotiate with your auditor over what they can see and what they can’t see,” says Tory leadership hopeful Jamie Baillie, CEO of Credit Union Atlantic. “I think we should ensure by law that the auditor general can look at and audit any segment of government that he or she chooses and that it would be inappropriate for the government to interfere or try and limit their access.” At the time the report was released, Lapointe harshly criticized the government for its “pervasive policy of secrecy” — consistently hiding information from the office of the auditor general. In his report, Lapointe wrote there was “ample and recent precedent for releasing this type of information to the auditor general.” Continued on page 3
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July 2010, Nova Scotia Business Journal
View from the Corner Office Compiled by Joanie Veitch
THE QUESTION: What qualities and skills do you value most in a political or industry leader?
Dianne Kelderman President, Atlantic Economics
Jeff Ransome President, Hotel Association of Nova Scotia
Jim Paris CEO, AG Research Inc.
When I think about great leaders, whether they be political or industry leaders, a few things come to mind. First and foremost, they are honest, ethical and have integrity. Great leaders win the hearts and minds of people. They always “do the right thing” rather than do all things right. Likewise, they hire and nurture people who will do the right thing, even when they don't know what to do. They create an environment that other people want to belong to. They take risks and push the limits of what is possible in a collaborative and innovative way. They have a personal willingness and drive to keep growing — intellectually, technically, emotionally, spiritually, from a leadership perspective. Finally, they operate from what I call the four E’s: they engage people, they set clear expectations, they explain plans and goals, and they evaluate.
At Capital Health we’ve been on a journey to help people become transformational leaders for the sake of a different today and a better tomorrow in health care. To me, the skills and qualities remain the same, regardless of the realm in which one works to affect positive change. Our vision is that as leaders, we need to share our talents, act with passion and purpose, listen deeply, grow relationships, take risks and embrace tension. The other key element is to have a strong strategic perspective. Leaders need to have a foot in today but their sights on the next 10 to 20 years, being relentless in their pursuit to prepare their organizations, Christine Power cities and provinces for what lies ahead. If we are only paying attention President and CEO, Capital Health to today, we are doing a huge disservice to those we serve.
An effective leader needs to focus on what really matters. They must be truly visionary with a talent for seeing positive change and the ability to map out the course that will take them there. It is essential that they be able to speak passionately on their subject. The ability to influence others and solicit not only their support, but their active involvement, is absolutely critical to a leader’s success. They must be able to push through obstacles and keep the agenda moving forward. Winning leadership relies on a skill set that will “make things happen”. A strong leader needs to know where they are going, how they will get there, and the added resources that must be enlisted. With the right vision, plan development, and advocate support, the stage for successful leadership has been set. It is these inherent qualities that will speak for the results.
From my experience I see the great leaders possessing four key attributes. They have humility. It is not all about the leader, but rather about the people on the team. I am fond of saying the great leaders get out of the way of compliments and jump into the path of criticism. They are honest, which is something so rare and magical in today’s world. They are clear communicators. No matter how great the ideas, strategy or execution, without the ability to engage people effectively, nothing will get accomplished. And finally, they are action-oriented, because the agenda must move forward and things must get done, much unlike what we see in our local political arena.
The skill set profile of a modern senior political or business leader must include an important shortlist of key attributes. Not only must they be structured or process driven, they must have a strong set of ethics. The best leaders differentiate themselves by standing firmly in the centre of the ethical circle extolling and practicing honesty, morality, and generosity. A leader must also have a passion for learning — learning across multiple disciplines to be able to craft solutions to the problems and issues of our day. Emotional intelligence is key as well. They must have an innate ability to understand, evaluate and judge people people. So often senior decision-making is more based upon the character and feelings of the people they deal with than the facts themselves. Charisma is also essential for a leader. The ability of a leader to touch, emotionally, the people, organizations or institutions they lead is a powerful tool to affect change.
Mark Surrette President, Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
Cecil Smith xwave Regional Director, Nova Scotia
Effective leadership starts with the leader’s ability to create and effectively communicate a vision of where the organization is headed. This is essential to the leader understanding how contributions to outcomes impact the broader cause. With this vision in mind, the leader must be inspirational — a genuine motivator — and, to that end, must focus on continual reinforcement of the vision. Effective leaders, for example, do not allow day-to-day events to distract them from their desired course. Achieving objectives may involve traveling different paths, but they all should lead to the same destination. Good leaders also are able to defend their actions when criticized, drawing from additional qualities such as decisiveness, consistency and ethics, which underpin all endeavours.
NSBJ REGULAR COLUMNIST
An ounce of prevention can help seal the deal Exit Planning Marty Raymond To say that the past few years have been challenging for exiting business owners would be an understatement. There will be good years ahead but, given the numbers of businesses to be transitioned over the next 10 years, owners need to be aware that the job of selling a business will most likely become harder, not easier. As the seller of a business, you need to put yourself in the position of the buyer. How discerning would you be? How would you view risk? What questions would you ask? If you would consider these issues as a buyer, why
not expose your own business to this process as a seller, and before you go to market. The due diligence process is very intensive, tiring and intrusive. After all, the buyer’s hard earned money is on the line. It is all about bridging the expectation gap between buyer and seller. At the time of your exit, can you chance a wide gap or should you start now to narrow the divide and view your business through the eyes of a potential buyer. Key issues for the seller are value retention and certainty of closing the deal. Due to higher thresholds of scrutiny by both lenders and buyers, greater financial transparency is the new norm and essential to achieving seller value objectives. Purchase price reductions are common where financial irregularities or inaccuracies are discovered by a buyer during due diligence. Early identification and appropriate positioning of issues reduces the buyer’s negotiating power. Unaddressed red flags, large or small, create uncertainty and provide the
buyer the opportunity to walk away or reduce the price. There are various aspects to the value enhancement process generally falling under the categories of strategic, operational, financial and legal. The category of most importance may vary among industries and companies; however, it is important to identify those areas and issues that could most likely derail the sale process and then establish the relevance and importance of possible deficiencies. A “cost benefit” type of analysis can then be completed to determine the plan of attack. Think of this as an insurance policy against the risk that the buyer will find issues that diminish value. Pre-transaction due diligence by a business owner involves the same scrutiny that a buyer or banker would perform prior to investing and essentially involves detailed financial and legal self-investigation. A financial review looks at the substance of financial information to be presented related to each line item on the balance sheet and income statement
and that backup information is supportable and correct. Closing a deal or not closing a deal may teeter on the issue of financial transparency. It comes down to confidence in the financials. Pre-transaction legal due diligence ensures that all corporate records are up-to-date and all employment, environmental, contractual, regulatory, tax, title, intellectual property and other issues and contingencies are covered. Careful preparation creates a defensible position to retain value and gain the buyer’s and lender’s trust. Martin Raymond CA, CVA, CEPA, is a chartered accountant, certified valuation analyst and certified exit planning advisor. He is a partner with CA firm Raymond Yuill and managing director of the Halifax office of The McLean Group, a middle market investment banking firm based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at (902) 444-5540 (phone), (902) 350-0656 (cell), or at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Are you ready to take a stand? In the May opinion column, the Nova Scotia nity, are perfectly willing to sit back and snipe at Business Journal took our new premier to task those trying to do the difficult job of leading us, for a perceived lack of leadership. “You can’t but when it comes to suggesting alternatives our lead from the middle,” we declared. Perhaps we palaver dries up. Afraid of going on the record with our own picks, we are more comfortable were a little too hasty. A leader can only lead those who are willing to with complaining rather than action. It can be tough to take a stand in a place like be led, and then only as far as those people are Nova Scotia, where so willing to follow. If you are much of the economy faced with a timid popuWe seem to be perfectly can depend upon the lace, there is only so far favour of government, and so fast you can push willing to sit back and snipe but nothing changes if all them. And a timid popuat those trying to do the we do is seek to extend lace seems to be what difficult job of leading us, the status quo. The elecPremier Dexter has to contion of the NDP was seen tend with, if our business but when it comes to as a chance for real community is anything to suggesting alternatives change in Nova Scotia, judge by. our palaver dries up but in order to achieve Given the dissatisfaction change you need to be that has been voiced about the NDP’s first year in power, the NSBJ decided ready to accept it. How can our leaders know we it was time to have the business community put are ready to embrace vision if we aren’t ready to its money where its mouth is, and tell us if not stand up, speak out and be counted? The cover of this month’s issue speaks about Premier Dexter, then who should lead our the need for transparency and accountability province? We were looking for some honest feedback on (and the lack thereof). However, it is a two-way who they thought would make the best leader street. We need to be just as transparent as government in communicating what, or who, we for Nova Scotia. We had no takers. It would appear we, as the business commu- want if we are to ever achieve real change.
Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 3
Secrecy in leadership Continued from cover Steele says the pervasive policy of secrecy comment is unfair. “Although the auditor general has certainly put his finger on an issue that needs to be dealt with, it is frankly an exaggeration to say there’s a sort of pervasive secrecy within government,” he says, given the NDP has only been in power for a year. Steele says the province plans to introduce legislation this fall that will provide Lapointe with more access to government documents protected by cabinet and solicitor-client privilege. He expects this will help provide resolution, making it a nonissue. But many say, this is far from being the end of the discussion. More issues remain, including the obstacles facing, what some call, a crucial component to a well-functioning democracy — Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requests. FOIPOP requests are a way for citizens, especially journalists, to access information collected or controlled by public bodies in Nova Scotia. The reality is many people find making these requests to be a discouraging process. The system is “not in very good shape”, says Darce Fardy, the president of the Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia. He says criticisms of the system usually fall under three categories: The waits to receive the information are too long, the cost of making a
request ends up being prohibitive, or information gets blacked out or requests are turned down altogether. The FOIPOP legislation falls under the jurisdiction of justice minister Ross Landry. Landry says there is room for improvement, but notes 75 per cent of requests are met within the first 30 days and 95 per cent are reached within the first 60 days. “I think that’s not a bad record,” says Landry. When the NDP took power, it lowered the cost of a FOIPOP request from $25 to $5 but additional fees which already existed for services, such as searching and evaluating the records, can turn a $5 fee into a bill for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Landry says by making specific requests, the costs to people will be minimized. Regarding information being blacked out or denied outright, much like Steele, Landry says there are limitations. Limitations is the key word many continue to pin their outrage on, simply referring to it as tightlipped behaviour. What does a lack of transparency ultimately mean for Nova Scotia and its economy? The biggest side effect may be on the decisions we make, says Baillie. “We make bad decisions in business and in government when we don’t have good information,” he says. And given the challenges Nova Scotia faces, it’s clear to many that good decisions are needed.
NSBJ REGULAR COLUMNIST
Fear and loathing in Nova Scotia Krystal Nation Andrew Krystal He nods. He’s tensing. You can see it in the muscles around his mouth and cheekbones. Nothing I’ve said. It’s the subject. It’s a hot day and his light blue, long-sleeved shirt looks like it’s been worn all day and early. But this businessman is still fresh, undaunted, and serious. When he talks he leans forward, drilling down. I’m hammering him over coffee at the new Starbucks by the Hydrostone about something that I’ve written about a dozen times on my News 95.7 blog and talked a lot about on the air — the fact that the province is headed for a brick wall: a demographic time bomb.
In 15 years one in four of us will be seniors and there won’t be enough working people to support retirees. Unlike other places, because we have no real immigration, the “out migration” historical problem is more acute. When Donald Shabib directed his film Goin Down the Road in 1970 there were lots of young people to replace those who left. Not so now. A future 15 years hence of high labour costs, labour shortages, an aging population with high-energy costs and high taxes (to try and make up the shortfall), and you have a recipe for a real excrement soufflé. I’m explaining all this, enumerating to him what are blatant economic truisms (something for which the unaffected premier is also apprised) and he starts to get mad. “I have two daughters, 12 and 10, and I want to do everything I can to make them have a province that they can stay in. I am worried that there won’t be an option for them.” He pauses, letting the air in the room swallow it. “I have a
great sense of urgency about this” he continues. “We are living beyond our means,” he says, putting his coffee cup down as if to punctuate his sentence. “The provincial government is making deals that are going to be very difficult to finance. When they borrowed $500 million to prop up public sector pensions without getting a cent in contributions from the employees themselves I just about died. So they increased the HST, and in two years we will have all paid for it.” He looks down, taking a breath to continue. He is distant, sad, looking inward and outward at the province. His words tumble out. “We are going in the wrong direction. I know numbers. I run a business. And I know the budget. Something has to be done.” When I mention that one third of NDP support has been lost, that political capital has been squandered over their own (premier’s) handling of the MLA expense scandal, all before any of
the tough decisions have been made, he just shakes his head and stares out the window. “We have to do things differently. What you said earlier about the population is true. A growing population is a growing economy. We should be setting immigration targets of 10,000 people per year. We should have a payroll rebate for small businesses so that they hire young people and we should allow graduates to keep up to $100,000 tax free over the years they stay here. I want my kids here. I want everyone’s kids here. And we need a trade centre to kickstart the downtown.” As we finished our discussion, the light outside was dimming. It was time. Jamie Baillie is ready to go. Andrew Krystal is the host of Maritime Morning, heard in three provinces from 9 a.m. until noon on News 95.7 FM. He can be contacted through www.news957.com
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Re-igniting your elevator speech Business Insight Debbie Lawrence
Those on hand for Membertou’s landmark day were: Sarah Filbee,assistant deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; Darrell Dexter,premier of Nova Scotia; Eileen Paul,manager of the Membertou Entrepreneur Centre; Terrance Paul, chief of Membertou First Nation; Owen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office. — Photo courtesy of the Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office
Real Estate, Construction & Development • Membertou builds on its success: On Wednesday, June 23, there was more to celebrate than just the grand opening of the newly constructed Membertou Business Centre and access road. It also marked the official opening of the new offices for the Membertou Entrepreneur Centre and the new offices of the Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office, now located in the New Membertou Business Centre. “Membertou has pursued an aggressive strategy towards economic sustainability and we identified a growing need in our community for entrepreneur training and business support. The Entrepreneur Centre addresses this growing need,” says Eileen Paul, manager of the Membertou Entrepreneur Centre.
Owen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office, was pleased to be moving into the new offices as well. “With the success of our office and the new economic opportunities the Unama’ki communities are now pursuing, we were in desperate need of new and larger office space. We currently have six staff and will soon be hiring two more,” he says. “These are exciting times in Membertou. The economic growth here is great for the economy of our whole Cape Breton Regional Municipality.” — By The Daily Business Buzz, Transcontinental Media • Province seeks heritage advice from developers, community: The government is asking Nova Scotians how it should protect heritage properties in the next phase of the Heritage Property Act review announced on June 4. The review of the act is one of the recommendations in the provincial heritage strategy, A Treasured Past, A Precious Future, released in 2008. “This will ensure Nova Scotia is able to respond to the needs of heritage preservation while balancing the benefits of good jobs and economic growth that future development can bring to communities across the province,” said Percy Paris, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Public consultations will involve municipal officials, heritage property owners and developers, and heritage advocates. A consultant will conduct targeted consultations over the summer and provide government with input on potential changes to the act. A final report is due in early fall. — By The Daily Business Buzz, Transcontinental Media • House sales on the rise in HRM: Housing sales in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) spiked this spring according to numbers recently released by the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors. During the period between March and May, 1,925 singlefamily residential homes were sold in Halifax and Dartmouth — a 16.9 per cent increase over the same period last year. According to NSAR president Karen Edwards, the increase in sales reflects increased consumer confidence that the global recession may finally be receding. “People are becoming much more comfortable after last year’s economic situation and going on with their lives,” she says. “As people become more comfortable, they buy.” Provincially, 3,079 single-family homes were sold between March and May — an increase of 16.2 per cent. The average price of homes in HRM also increased by 4.7 per cent to $251,085 — the highest average in the province. With Halifax holding its own, Edwards says she expects the trends will continue as the year progresses. — By Alex Boutilier, Metro Halifax
Most businesspeople have heard of the “elevator speech” and many have committed time and effort to developing their own. In a nutshell, the elevator speech reflects what can be said in 15 to 30 seconds, the average time it takes for an elevator ride. Imagine stepping on an elevator and being met by a warm smile and the question “what do you do?” How would you respond? Every person in the workforce needs to have a well-cultivated elevator speech. One never knows when and where an opportunity will appear, and far too many people have let career-related gifts slip through their fingers simply because they were not ready to respond in the moment. The most basic way of thinking about an elevator speech is to equate it to a self-introduction. All you need to do is fill in the following blanks: My name is (blank) and I work with (blank). I am really interested in / passionate about working with / servicing clients / customers who are ready to (blank) so that they can (blank) because (blank). Here are a couple of examples. I am passionate about working with managers who are ready to try new tools and techniques with their team so that they can step up their performance because
their current approach has become stale. Or I am really interested in working with clients in the manufacturing sector who are ready to implement “lean” manufacturing so that they can increase efficiency and profitability because they want to be streamlined before beginning to export to markets beyond North America. I recommend to clients that they craft multiple versions of their elevator speech to ensure they are able to articulate the diversity of what they do and are poised to respond to a range of requests. This is actually a form of situational marketing where you present a situation and then explain how you can provide a solution for that problem or need. Most of all, an elevator speech needs careful construction and practice, practice, practice. Then it needs to be put into action so that it can be tested, refined, enhanced and used as the tool it is meant to be in helping you step up you game. Failure to do so is akin to settling for good enough instead of great. The founder of Abundant Living Personal Coaching, Debbie Lawrence is a life, business and career coach and author of “Standing In Your Light: Women and Entrepreneurship” and “Dancing in Your Light: 6 Steps to Attracting A Life That Makes Your Heart Sing”. The former director of the Professional Ethics Review Committee for the International Association of Coaches, Lawrence has been an adult educator and business coach for the past two decades. Check out her website at www.abundantliving.ca or call (902) 895-6987.
Transportation & Tourism • Dredging delegation gets hearing but no federal money: A delegation of Cape Breton politicians seeking funding from Ottawa for the dredging of Sydney harbour came away from a meeting with federal ministers with a promise to stay in touch but no commitments of money. The group, led by Nova Scotia Deputy Premier Frank Corbett, which included local MLAs from all three parties and Mayor John Morgan, of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, spent about an hour at a June 17 meeting with Keith Ashfield, minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Peter MacKay, minister responsible for Nova Scotia. Corbett says they made their case to the ministers about the importance of dredging the harbour’s access channel — to help establish the area as a world-class shipping depot — calling it an economic game-changer which has united support from all sectors of the community. “That seemed to resonate,” he says. “They’re going to start looking at things and we proposed that we should stay in touch, basically through a tripartite, federal, provincial, municipal group, which has not been really rounded off yet.” The Sydney Marine Group is requesting $19 million from Ottawa for the project. In all, it’s expected to cost $38 million. The province recently agreed to provide $15.2 million toward the dredging if the federal government also commits to the project. — By Nancy King, The Cape Breton Post, Transcontinental Media • Acadian Lines loses bid to drop Valley run: Acadian Lines won’t be ditching its Kentville to Digby run — and that’s a big relief to Annapolis County Warden Peter Newton who fought the bus company’s plans to halt service west of the King’s County town. “I am very pleased with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board’s decision,” Newton says.
“Although not everyone relies on public transportation, Acadian’s own information proved the service between Kentville and Digby is needed, with sufficient ridership to generate a profit.” It’s more than a relief, adds Mike Gushue, managing director of the Annapolis Digby Economic Development Agency (ADEDA). “It’s great news.” He says transportation is the foundation of economic development and that losing the KentvilleDigby run would have severely hurt ADEDA’s efforts. In its decision released June 18, the Utility and Review Board denied the request by Acadian Intercity Coaches to abandon the run between the two South West Nova Scotia communities, and also quashed a bid by Intercity to halt two Friday runs between Kentville and Halifax. — By Lawrence Powell, The Annapolis County Spectator, Transcontinental Media • Golf gets the “green” for marketing: In a move to increase the profile and awareness of the golf industry in Atlantic Canada, the federal government is providing funding for a new group focused on a cooperative approach to marketing golf in the region. The federal government has announced it will invest more than $145,000 through the Business Development Program of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to help Atlantic Golf Organization (AGO) build an effective marketing and promotional presence for Atlantic Canada’s golf product, especially in the United States. AGO includes representatives from Golf Nova Scotia as well as Golf Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick Golf, and Golf Newfoundland and Labrador. The organization is currently focusing its work in several areas including the development of media familiarization tours and online programs. — By The Daily Business Buzz, Transcontinental Media
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Winning over investors Lana Larder Need help getting your business off the ground and want to pursue angel or venture capital investment? Getting the wallet out of an investor's pocket is not an easy task. Being “investor-ready” is key. This means identifying and presenting the main aspects that investors want to know about your business opportunity so they can decide whether or not they are interested in making an investment. The marketability of your product or service increases when you can show how it relates to a true pain. For example, my computer keeps freezing on me or I’m having trouble balancing my budget. These are all pains that people may pay good money to make go away. Pain in investment readiness is the same as market opportunity. The greater the pain, the more widespread the pain, and the better your product or service is at stopping or helping the pain, the greater your market potential. When seeking potential investment, place the solution firmly in the context of the problem being solved. Lay out the facts — the problem, your solution, market size, how it will be sold, and how you will stay ahead of competitors. Define your plan: who will buy it,
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NSBJ REGULAR COLUMNIST
Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
why, and how you will get it to them. Here it is important to explain if you have customers already interested, or obtained pre-orders, or even better actual sales, then describe how you will do this through a cost-effective, goto market strategy. You usually only get one bite at the apple, so never say: “We have no competitors.” No matter what, you have competitors — maybe not a direct competitor but at least a substitute. Competitors consist of everyone pursuing the same customer dollars. To say you have no competitors may make investors think you have no understanding of your market. This is your opportunity to showcase your strengths against direct competitors, indirect competitors and substitutes. Lastly, keep it simple. Don't use too much scientific jargon or technical details. Investors are interested only if your product or service solves a big problem that people will pay for, if it is better than competitors, and can be protected through patents or other ways, and implemented at a reasonable cost. These are just a few suggestions to help you prepare or decide if you are ready for investment. Remember, it’s a tough business climate, but good ideas backed by good teams and good plans can win over investors. Lana Larder is the owner of Halifax Finance, a company dedicated to helping Atlantic Canada’s businesses grow through access to angel and venture capital. She can be reached at (902) 4950419 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Elmsdale Lumber receives $3-million loan for expansion: On June 11, Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris announced that the province is providing a $3-million repayable loan to Elmsdale Lumber Company through the Industrial Expansion Fund to help it purchase new technology and equipment. Over the past five years, production at the mill has increased by almost 50 per cent and it has had to expand capacity to meet demand. The modern, new equipment will help the mill remain competitive, assisting it to fill more orders by sorting and stacking lumber to 99 different specifications. The province says the mill, one of the largest in the province, is an integral part of the lumber industry in Nova Scotia. It employs more than 50 people and has an annual payroll, including benefits, of $2.2 million. The mill also purchases more than $8 million of goods and services from local suppliers each year. • IMP begins work on lucrative military contract: IMP Aerospace has begun installation work as part of a multi-million-dollar contract extending the life of 10
• • • • • • •
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Canadian CP-140 Aurora Aircraft. The aircraft will have their outer wings, lower centre wing and horizontal stabilizers replaced with new structural components supplied by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company for the Canadian Department of National Defence. This lifeextension program, known as the Aurora Service Life Extension Project (ASLEP), will extend the CP-140 Aurora structural life well beyond 2025. The lucrative program will employ a team of approximately 100 personnel distributed between IMP Aerospace (Halifax Stanfield International Airport), IMP Aerospace Avionics (Hammonds Plains), and IMP Aerospace Components (Amherst). “This contract ensures critical aerospace jobs are developed and retained in Nova Scotia,” says David Gossen, president of IMP Aerospace. “IMP is developing a world-recognized centre of excellence for re-winging these long-range patrol aircraft.”
• Feds announce long-awaited shipbuilding strategy: On June 3, the Government of Canada announced the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a longterm plan designed to create jobs in high-tech industries across Canada and provide vital ships for the Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. The strategy encompasses three streams: large ship construction, small ship construction, and repair, refit and maintenance projects. The government will establish a long-term strategic relationship with two Canadian shipyards for the procurement of the large ships — one to build combat vessels, the other to build noncombat vessels. It says the selection of the two shipyards will be done in a competitive, open and transparent manner with a fairness monitor and independent third party experts participating in the process.
• NEW Premium Soft-Touch Interior Materials • NEW Standard Laminated Acoustic Front Side Glass
• Clearwater boasts first Canadian lobster fishery to achieve MSC certification: Eastern Canadian Offshore Lobster are the newest addition to Clearwater Seafoods’ family of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified offerings, joining Canadian sea scallops, Argentine scallops and Canadian coldwater shrimp. This latest certification is scientific recognition these lobster meet the strict environmental standards set by the MSC and are being harvested and managed in a sustainable, well-managed fishery. The Eastern offshore fishery is the first north Atlantic lobster fishery to achieve this certification. Clearwater owns 100 per cent of the offshore licenses, thereby, giving it sole right to carry and market the MSC designation. The Bedfordbased company says that Canadian lobster has been undervalued in the marketplace and hopes the new certification will improve differentiation and customer demand. By The Daily Business Buzz, Transcontinental Media
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KEY AVAILABLE FEATURES • NEW CommandView® Dual-Pane Panoramix Sunroof
• NEW Heated Real Wood/Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel • NEW Heated and Ventilated Front Seats • NEW Heated Rear Seat • NEW Navigation System with Voice Recognition
ENHANCED RIDE & HANDLING • NEW Four Wheel Independent Suspension System • NEW Body Structure Provides 146% Increased Torsional Stiffness(2) • New Available 20-inch Aluminum Wheels
CAPABILITY • Legendary Jeep 4x4 Heritage • NEW Available Class-Exclusive(1) Quadra-Lift™ Air Suspension • NEW avaliable Class-Leading(1) SelecTerrain • Choice of three full-time 4x4 systems including Class-Leading Quadra-Drive II™ with the ability to transfer 100% torque to any one wheel • Max Trailer Tow Capacity of up to 3,266kg/7,200lbs(5)
1) Based on Ward’s 2010 Auto segmentation Middle Sport Utility Vehicle. 2) Compared to 2010 Grand Cherokee with 3.7L V6 3) Based on 2010 Energuide Hwy Rating of 8.9L/100km 4) Top Safety Pick is a rating issued by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 5) When properly equipped. See your dealer or visit www.jeep.ca for complete details. Printed as of June 2010.
Page 6 • A Special Feature of The Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
Union of NS Indians: 40th Anniversary
UNSI: The voice of the Mi’kmaw people By Matt Bubbers For 40 years the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, UNSI, has been giving an important political voice to Mi’kmaw people in the province. Since its founding in 1969, the Union has been instrumental in lobbying for Aboriginal rights and title, as well as improving the lives of the Mi’kmaq. UNSI was set up initially in response to the failure of the Maritime Indian Advisory Council, a group created by the federal government. “When Indian Affairs wanted to inform them or consult with them, they were called together and told what was going to happen in their communities,” says UNSI Executive Director Joe B. Marshall. As one of the founding members of the Union, Marshall has been a part of the long struggle towards the restoration of self-governance for the Mi’kmaq since the beginning. The first major test for the Union came in 1969 with the release of the infamous Indian Affairs White Paper which proposed the assimilation of First Nations people into the general Canadian population. UNSI helped spearhead opposition to the proposal in Nova Scotia by speaking with Mi’kmaw communities and — for the first time — providing them with a political force to lobby for their interests. In the following years, the Union focused on rights and title claims, undertaking a major research project to support their cause. In 1976,
together with the Mi’kmaw Grand Council, they presented the Nova Scotia Aboriginal Rights Position Paper to the federal government. Marshall remembered that when a response finally came back a year later, the government said simply that Aboriginal claims were superseded by law. So, the Union tried a new approach. From 1975 to 1999 the UNSI was involved in a series of legal battles over hunting and fishing violations in an effort to prove their rights and claims dating back to the 1700s were still valid. The Mi’kmaq won five of those landmark cases in Nova Scotia, changing the way the treaties were viewed. The fallout from those cases saw money being poured into fisheries. “There was a big improvement in the economy of our communities,” Marshall says. Finally in 2002, the government was ready to negotiate as a direct result of those legal battles. The federal and provincial governments signed the Umbrella Agreement with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia that recognized the existence of Aboriginal rights and title and committed to negotiations. In 2007, all parties agreed on the terms of negotiation by signing the Framework Agreement. Progress for UNSI has always come in incremental steps. But 40 years of incremental steps adds up to some large strides, says Marshall, and taken together the Union has moved a long way toward the restoration of self-governance.
The late Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. meets Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. - Photo Contributed
Best wishes and continued success to the Union of Nova Scotia Indians on your 40th anniversary from
UNSI: 40TH ANNIVERSARY
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 7
Court cases: A history of fighting for the rights of the Mi’kmaq 1975 - R. v. Isaac case in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal: Stephen Isaac of Chapel Island First Nation (Potlotek) had been charged with illegal hunting out of season on the reserve. The court of appeal ruled that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 gave Isaac the right to hunt on the reserve, even outside of the provincial season. The court restricted Mi’kmaq rights to reserve lands stating that Mi’kmaq rights had been superseded (replaced by legislation) everywhere except on reserves.
1990 - R. v. Denny in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal: David Denny and Lawrence Paul of Eskasoni First Nation and Tom Syliboy of the Paq'tnkek First Nation had an Aboriginal right to fish in Nova Scotia and were found not guilty of the charges that they fished illegally. The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have an Aboriginal right to fish for food protected under s.35 (1) of the constitution. 1990 - Moose Harvest Case: When the Denny, Paul and Syliboy case was handed down by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in 1990, 14 Mi’kmaw hunters, including the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall, had been charged and were being tried in provincial court for hunting out of season and without licenses in the Cape Breton Highlands. As a result of the R. v. Denny decision, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia discontinued their case and decided not to continue with the prosecutions. All of the Mi’kmaq moose hunters were acquitted. 1999 - R. v. Marshall in the Supreme Court of Canada: This decision recognized the Treaties of 1760 and 1761 and the right to hunt, fish and gather for a moderate livelihood under those treaties. This right is protected by s. 35 (1) of the constitution. In this case, the judges looked behind the treaty, not just at what was written on the face of it, but at the record of negotiations and the parties’ intentions. The court repeated the need for government and First Nations to negotiate acceptable solutions to detailed implementation of the constitutional rights.
Premier Darrell Dexter speaks at UNSI’s 40th anniversary celebrations. He is joined by: Chief Morley Googoo (Waycobah), Joe B. Marshall, Stu Killen, and Roger Lewis. - Photo Contributed
Leading the way toward self-governance By Matt Bubbers
Today, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians (UNSI) represents over 75 per cent of the Mi’kmaw population in the province, including seven of the 13 First Nations and two of the largest Mi’kmaw communities. “Part of the job is to keep the communities up to date on just what’s being discussed. Everything starts with communities, community discussion,” says Joe B. Marshall, the Union’s executive director and one of its founding members. “We have to gear our work plans to their concerns.” When the UNSI was formed in 1969 it was the only unified political voice speaking for the Mi’kmaw people. Thanks in large part to the groundbreaking work done by the Union, there are now many organizations working on self-governance, rights and title claims, as well as social and economic issues. With other organizations taking up the cause, the Union has been able to shift its focus in recent years to providing support for new organizations as well as long-term strategic planning. As Tripartite Liaison Officer for UNSI, Diana Campbell is well placed to see the new type of work
Congratulations to the Union of NS Indians on your 40th anniversary from
the Union is taking on. The Tripartite Forum works on resolving day-today living issues, while the Negotiation Office looks after land, resource, consultation and governance issues. Campbell is right in the middle of it all, making sure UNSI is supporting and complementing those organizations. “The Union in the early years was very instrumental in the formation of all this,” Campbell says. “So the natural evolution of the Union now — and we’re just finishing a strategic planning process — is to consider the long term and figure out how we
can start to align our work as a Tribal Council with the work that’s going to be needed for the Mi’kmaq as they move towards self-governance.” Progress comes slowly, but the Union of Nova Scotia Indians remains focused on this goal of selfgovernance for the Mi’kmaw people. “It’s nice to see there really was a vision that has played out so well all these years later,” Campbell says. “That’s what I find is so astounding — they really knew where they wanted to go. It has taken a long time, but as Joe B. says, that’s a drop in the bucket.”
Congratulations and Best Wishes to the Union of Nova Scotia Indians on Your 40th Anniversary
Congratulations to the Union of NS Indians on your anniversary from:
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1985 - R. v. Simon case in the Supreme Court of Canada: James Simon had been charged with illegal possession of a deer carcass, illegal possession of a rifle, and hunting out of season outside the boundaries of Indian reserve lands. The Supreme Court decision stated that Simon did have a treaty right to hunt anywhere in the province of Nova Scotia and at any time. The Supreme Court held that the Treaty of 1752 was an existing treaty, and because of Section 88 of the Indian Act, it overruled the Nova Scotia Lands and Forests Act, under which Simon had been charged. This reversed the limitations in the earlier Isaac case, which restricted Mi’kmaq rights to reserve lands. Language in the Simon decision still was unclear about the continuing validity of the 1752 Treaty. In their ruling the judges also stated that when a judge had found the late Grand Chief Gabriel Syliboy guilty of illegally hunting muskrat and had been charged with possession of muskrat pelts out of season, the judge had made an error. Syliboy had claimed a right to hunt under the Treaty of 1752 and, therefore, should not have been found guilty.
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Page 8 • A Special Feature of The Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
Mobius Environmental Awards
Silver Donald Cameron was the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Mobius Environmental Awards gala recently held at Pier 21. — Photo courtesy of RRFB
Recognizing leaders in waste reduction Every year, RRFB Nova Scotia honours innovative organizations and individuals who are taking a leadership role in reducing waste at its Mobius Environmental Awards gala. The keynote speaker at the 12th annual event in Halifax on June 2 was Silver Donald Cameron, a celebrated author as well as the host and executive producer of the recently launched environmental website TheGreenInterview.com. He shared his thoughts on the importance of thinking globally and acting locally to protect and enhance the environment. Silver Donald Cameron tipped his hat to the following Mobius Environmental Award winners for their contributions:
Business of the Year • (Large) Walmart Store 1003, Bridgewater • (Small) Sissiboo Investments Ltd.
Institution of the Year • Rethink Committee, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Innovation in Waste Reduction • Poly Cello, Amherst • Windbag Company of Nova Scotia, Lunenburg Waste Management Education • Green Committee, Xerox Canada, Halifax Individual Excellence in Waste Reduction • Myrna Matheson, Brookfield Municipality, Region or Authority of the Year • Valley Waste Resource Management ENVIRO-DEPOT™ of the Year • Bluenose Recycling, Dartmouth School of the Year • Ecole Beau Port, Arichat, Cape Breton Best Community-Based Project • Habitat for Humanity HRM ReStore • Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Canso
Best wishes to Sissiboo on your Mobius Small Business of the Year award from the Municipality of Digby
“This year’s Mobius Environmental Award recipients once again highlight why Nova Scotia is a recognized leader in waste reduction,” says Rick Ramsay, chair of RRFB Nova Scotia. “Their commitment, as well as the collective efforts of all Nova Scotians, will be the key to meeting the province’s waste disposal goal of 300 kilograms per person per year by 2015.” Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau was in attendance to congratulate each award recipient and offer words of encouragement to the audience. “The Mobius Awards nominees and recipients have provided great examples of the work Nova Scotians are doing to reduce waste and further protect our environment,” said Belliveau. “We all play a role in helping our province be greener, cleaner, and more economically sustainable.”
About RRFB Nova Scotia Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc. (RRFB Nova Scotia) is a non-profit corporation working in partnership with Nova Scotians to improve the province’s environment, economy and quality of life by reducing, re-using, recycling and recovering resources. Recognized globally as an innovator in waste diversion solutions, RRFB Nova Scotia manages a network of 83 independently owned Enviro-Depots throughout the province. The organization also delivers education and awareness programs, partners with industry to develop and implement stewardship agreements, and promotes innovation through the development of value-added manufacturing. For more information visit www.rrfb.com or call 1-877-313-RRFB (7732)
All the best to Sissiboo on your Mobius Small Business of the Year award from
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MOBIUS ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 9
Valley Waste: Top honours for innovation, education By Clare O’Connor
The Valley Region Solid Waste-Resource Management Authority has reason to celebrate. RRFB Nova Scotia recently recognized the authority’s waste reduction success in the category of Municipality, Region or Authority of the Year at the Mobius Environmental Awards. “Valley Waste is at the forefront of solid waste management in Nova Scotia,” says RRFB Nova Scotia CEO Bill Ring. “They have incorporated innovative solutions into their operations and are making a real difference.” Established in 1999, the authority serves eight distinct areas (the municipalities of Annapolis County and Kings County and the towns of Berwick, Bridgetown, Hantsport, Kentville, Middleton, and Wolfville). “We are the solid waste management department for the region,” says spokesperson Andrew Garrett. “Our activities include the coordination of education and enforcement but we also manage the contracts for the pick up and recycling of material as well as for the composting and landfill needs of the area.” With a residential disposal rate of 417 kilograms per capita in 2007/2008, the towns and municipalities served by the authority can boast a considerable reduction for 2008/2009. “We dropped to 386 kilograms per capita during a one-year period,” says Garrett. “The provincial target is 300 kilograms by 2013. We plan to meet that goal.” However, according to RRFB Nova Scotia, an improved diversion rate is only one of the reasons behind the authority’s award. “They continue to go the extra mile with their education initiatives,” says Ring. “They’ve done
The team at Valley Region Solid Waste-Resource Management Authority accepts its “Municipality, Region or Authority of the Year” Mobius Environmental Award. — Photo courtesy of RRFB education outreach to more than 500 businesses and schools this year alone and worked with their collection contractor to display ads about the importance of waste reduction on curbside collection vehicles. The ads are a great example of their ingenuity.” Garrett credits support from the authority’s
Best wishes to Valley Waste on your Region of the Year Mobius award from all of us at EFR Disposal Ltd. PO Box 206, Berwick, NS BOP 1EO
Best wishes to Valley Waste on your Mobius Region of the Year Award from the Municipality and Kaizer Meadow Landfill
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board of directors (which consists of one councillor per town or municipality), its staff of almost 30, and area residents for the achievements over the past year. With plans to meet provincial residential targets on track, Garrett says the authority has identified yet another way to reduce the amount
of waste going to the landfill. “Our next step includes working with the three private landfill facilities in the Valley which are dedicated to receiving waste from the construction and demolition industry, and developing a diversion strategy specifically for this sector.”
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
MOBIUS ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS
Sissiboo Investments wins recognition for Easy Sorter By Clare O’Connor At the recent RRFB Mobius Environmental Awards gala, Sissiboo Investments took home the award for Small Business of the Year for its waste reduction efforts. “Sissiboo has truly demonstrated their out-ofthe-box thinking and their commitment to the environment,” says RRFB Nova Scotia CEO Bill Ring. “They are very deserving of this award.” A family-owned business operating since the early 1980s, Sissiboo Investments Limited has close to 40 employees and three divisions: home hardware, farm supplies, and Easy Sorter. Launched a year and a half ago, the Easy Sorter is the inspiration for the company’s first RRFB Nova Scotia award. The Easy Sorter was originally developed from scrap metal and promotes the diversion of waste from the landfill. Although similar to current containers on the market that provide options for the disposal of unwanted materials, there are differences, says Randall Amero, Sissiboo’s general manager for Farm Supplies and Easy Sorter Division. “Our product clearly identifies where the materials should go by using transparent bags,” he says. “People are less likely to throw recyclable material in the garbage slot when they can see what belongs where. The Easy Sorter also collapses and can be folded making it simple to transport and use at outdoor events.” When asked where the idea for the Easy Sorter came from, Amero is quick to point out that it wasn’t developed in a boardroom or by anyone on the Sissiboo management team. “We had a lot of scrap metal lying around and asked our employees for some ideas about how
Sissiboo’s Sidney McCullough came up with the concept of the Easy Sorter — a concept which garnered the company the“Small Business of the Year”Mobius Environmental Award. — Photo courtesy of Sissiboo Investments we could use it rather than sending it all to the landfill. A member of our staff named Sidney McCullough came up with the concept. It’s become so successful that we created an entire division dedicated to its development.” Although the farm supplies division of Sissiboo Investments is its largest revenue gen-
erator, the company plans to make the Easy Sorter a central focus for future development. “We want to increase the sales and manufacturing of the Easy Sorter to the level of our farm supplies division. It’s important to diversify to always keep busy.” The Weymouth-based company has its sights
set on increasing the production of the Easy Sorter during the winter months — a move which Amero hopes will also reduce seasonal layoffs. “Our goal is to have a positive impact on the community while growing our company at the same time,” he says.
Environmental Excellence Awards
A Special Feature of The Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 11
Honouring dedication to environmental principles The Eco-Efficiency Centre held its 11th annual Environmental Excellence in Business Awards Breakfast on June 1 at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax. More than 200 representatives from business, government and the academic community attended this event which was sponsored by: Bell Aliant, Clearwater Seafoods, Halifax Regional Water Commission, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, Acadian Seaplants Limited, Farnell Packaging Limited, Nova Scotia Power Inc., and RRFB Nova Scotia. During the awards breakfast, six Nova Scotian companies were recognized for their success in incorporating environmental principles into their business practices. Wolf Collision Ltd., based in Halifax, was one of the leaders of the pack. By choosing paints and sanding products wisely, the company has been successful in reducing its environmental impact and firmly establishing its corporate social responsibility. Other companies honoured by the Eco-Efficiency Centre for their dedication and success included: CHAIRS Limited, Colchester Regional Development Agency, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Oxford Frozen Foods, and Polycello. “Ultimately it is the business community that will need to drive the sustainability agenda,” says Michelle Adams, director of the Eco-Efficiency Centre. “Business is the force of change and is best positioned to be innovative, adaptive and progressive. “Each year we have the opportunity recognize those businesses that employ these traits to find a more sustainable path. This year’s award recipients have once again demonstrated that economic viability and environmental performance can go hand in hand.”
not simply adopted by top management in principle; all employees contribute to the cause. As a result of its successful waste management initiatives and progressive environmental policies to date, CHAIRS Limited is demonstrating its strong commitment to continuous improvement of its manufacturing and transportation practices. The ultimate goal — to improve the health and well-being of Nova Scotia and its employees one chair at a time.
About the winners… Wolf Collision Ltd., Halifax Since 1954, Wolf Collision Ltd. of Halifax has specialized in all aspects of collision repair and automobile restoration. The company is commited to the highest standard of quality which includes a lifetime guarantee on all work. The professionalism exhibited by Wolf Collision has been recognized by its I-Car Solid Gold Class Professional Status, achieved for an impressive 14 consecutive years. Three years ago, Wolf Collision achieved another milestone by becoming Atlantic Canada’s first collision centre to switch from solvent-borne to waterborne paints. The company uses only environmentally friendly Glasurit brand water-bourne paint, which is recognized as a global leader in quality paint finishes. In fact, 90-Line (10 per cent solvent, 90 per cent water) meets the most stringent VOC regulations in the world. The decrease in VOC emissions, resulting from the substitution in this product, has led to improved air quality. The 90-Line also provides a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Wolf Collision has also realized that its environ-
Colchester Regional Development Agency, Truro
At the 11th annual Environmental Excellence in Business Awards Breakfast,six Nova Scotian companies were honoured. In the photo are representatives from Wolf Collision, CHAIRS Limited, Colchester Regional Development Agency, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Oxford Frozen Foods, and Polycello. — Photo courtesy of the Eco-Efficiency Centre mental responsibility can extend to other areas of the business, such as paint removal. The sanding process has been improved by the installation of a Norton Multi-Air process which combines dust extraction with premium abrasive discs to increase productivity and eliminate dust. Wolf Collision has aimed to be a leader not a follower in the collision industry with its innovative, environmentally approach to collision repair and its high standards for customer satisfaction.
CHAIRS Limited, Dartmouth CHAIRS Limited was established in 1989 in Dartmouth with the vision that high-quality ergonomic chairs could be produced locally. Specializing in custom manufacturing, the company’s chairs are personalized for each individual’s body type. The chairs are designed to combat many workplace-related maladies as well as increase range of motion, ensure proper body alignment, improve posture, aid in proper circulation, and enhance comfort. After mastering chair design, as part of healthy work environment, CHAIRS Limited is now contributing to a healthy natural environment. Historically, furniture manufacturing has produced large amounts of scrap waste. CHAIRS Limited recognized the need to change this accepted practice. The company is effectively reducing, reusing and recycling materials across its entire fabrication process. Over the past year, 907 kilograms of wood scraps, 1,361 kilograms of steel, six cube vans of foam and 3,161 kilograms of plastic have been sent to partnering companies to be
Dalhousie University’s Eco-Efficiency Centre is please to congratulate:
2010 Winners at our 11th Annual Environmental Excellence in Business Breakfast, which took place on June 1, 2010 at the Westin Nova Scotian. Our most well-attended award event to date was made possible through the generous support of our sponsors: GOLD SPONSORS
To view award success stories and event photos, please visit www.dal.ca/eco-efficiency
reused or recycled. Additionally, CHAIRS Limited diverts waste from landfills by offering chair refurbishing so that old chairs can have a second lease on life. Furthermore, the company works with local children’s groups, such as Scouts and Brownies, giving them fabric and leather scraps for arts and craft projects. CHAIRS Limited’s environmental commitments are
The Colchester Regional Development Agency (CoRDA), located in Truro, was founded in 1992 to help attract new enterprise, support existing businesses and create a dynamic, welcoming community for visitors to the region. CoRDA has become more recently focused on sustainable development. In 2003, the agency assumed the role of owner and marketer of the former Canadian Forces Station, which became the Debert Air Industrial Park. CoRDA has been redeveloping this abandoned land as an ecoindustrial park (EIP). Debert Air Industrial Park will be home to a diverse group of businesses collaborating with each other by exchanging materials, ideas and knowledge to create an environmentally progressive industrial setting. The agency has partnered with the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) of Devens, Massachusetts, an organization undergoing a similar redevelopment project. These two organizations have signed a twinning agreement to share and exchange knowledge and expertise. CoRDA plans to minimize the environmental impacts of the EIP by implementing strict zoning policies, introducing alternative infrastructure, and creating bylaws to promote best management practices. Continued on page 12
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Honouring dedication to environmental principles Continued from page 11
Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Joggins
The agency has also implemented an impressive “Greening Your Business” outreach program. This program supports businesses to develop environmentally friendly initiatives. As part of this new program, a material exchange event was held in December 2009, which identified potential opportunities to divert 20 tonnes of waste and save 1,500 litres of water. CoRDA continues to pursue ways to ensure a green future through its commitment to sustainability as well as working closely with the EcoEfficiency Centre, the Municipality of the County of Colchester, the DEC, Colchester region community members, and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq to develop plans, initiatives and strategies to promote environmental prosperity.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs, located on the Bay of Fundy, have recently been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Cliffs at Joggins contain an unrivaled fossil record, preserved in its environmental context, representing the finest examples in the world of Carboniferous terrestrial tropical ecosystems. The Joggins Fossil Centre, erected adjacent to the site, was inaugurated in 2008. The centre is host to a collection of the fossils found in the area. The Joggins Fossil Institute, the conservation and educational body which administers activities in the area, has shown its commitment to preserving the historic natural surroundings by integrating sustainable building design into the centre’s construction. Joggins Fossil Centre has received numerous national and international accolades for its architectural excellence and innovation. Sustainable development was integral even at the
beginning stages of construction. The centre was constructed using eco-friendly materials, including recycled steel. It also operates an on-site wind turbine and photovoltaic panels which together produce approximately two-thirds of the facility’s power requirements. The architectural design maximizes space, while minimizing heating and cooling costs. A building “hibernation mode” was developed for the winter months, when the centre is partially closed, to further reduce energy costs. Also incorporated into the facility are efficient lighting systems which capitalize on natural light, use motion sensors for indoor lights and automatic shut off settings for the exterior lights. To ensure that employees are aware of Joggins’ policies, all employees are trained on the green attributes and practices at the centre. Employees also participate in various community speaking engagements representing their ongoing commitment to sustainability and to the conservation of this heritage site.
With exemplary building design and staff committed to improved environmental performance, Joggins Fossil Institute is quickly moving from the past into a green future.
Oxford Frozen Foods, Oxford Oxford Frozen Foods is a family-run business founded in 1968 in Oxford. Since its inception, the company has set out to make wild blueberries the “fruit of choice” for consumers around the world. Today, Oxford Frozen Foods is an industry leader with eight manufacturing facilities and two large farming operations within Atlantic Canada and the United States. As one of the world’s largest providers of wild blueberries and other frozen food products, the company has earned a reputation as a quick and dependable supplier of quality products to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Oxford Frozen Foods is focused on sustainable growth and production from the field to the factory. This was demonstrated through the company’s participation in the Eco-Efficiency Program for Manufacturers. One energy saving strategy Oxford Frozen Foods has successfully implemented is the reclamation of heat from its refrigeration system used to pre-heat boiler feed water. The cost to implement the system was approximately $200,000 and will result in an estimated annual savings of $99,000, 282,948 litres of fuel and 653 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. To help manage the new refrigeration heat reclaim system, as well as optimize the refrigeration system’s efficiency, the DCS control system was also updated at a cost of approximately $30,000 and will result in estimated savings of $52,000 annually, 788,400 kilowatt-hours and 399 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Adding to its green rapport, Oxford Frozen Foods has various water conservation projects currently underway. Process modifications have reduced water use intensity by 10 to 15 per cent. Further upgrades to improve controls and increase condenser concentrations should result in another five per cent savings. Oxford Frozen Foods has committed to continuous implementation of green initiatives. This will help the company remain a sustainable member of the Nova Scotia business community for years to come.
PolyCello, Amherst PolyCello has been a prominent flexographic printing company in Amherst for over 50 years, helping build brands into some of the most successful in the North American marketplace. PolyCello's philosophy of “operating with the highest level of integrity” extends to its commitment to the environment, striving to maintain a responsible balance between economic, environmental and social needs. Each year, at least one new environmental goal is established by the company. Since 2007, PolyCello has been able to reduce electricity consumption by nine per cent and has intensified those energy conservation measures within the past 24 months. The company has reduced its residual waste by 83 per cent per unit produced since 2000. Plastic production scrap is all recycled: 91 percent is reprocessed internally and the remaining nine per cent is recycled by other companies. In addition, PolyCello has developed three different types of environmentally preferred packaging: biodegradable, compostable and The SmartPack. The SmartPack allows for a package that would have required lamination (with #7 plastic) to undergo a special process which bypasses this step, allowing the packaging to be recycled in more regions within Nova Scotia. PolyCello is also employing new technologies to help reduce its chemical usage. Since 2000, when chemical reduction initiatives were first undertaken, ink consumption has been reduced by 28 per cent and solvent consumption by 27 per cent. The company also upgraded their water system to a closed loop cooling system resulting in a water usage decrease of 13,000,000 litres annually. PolyCello has launched a volatile organic compound (VOC) emission control program as well. Since the program began, PolyCello has reduced VOC emissions by 47 per cent per production unit. A team effort underlies all environmental priorities set by the company. PolyCello is truly making a mark on recyclable packaging.
A Special Feature of The Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 13
Industry taking the lead in safety The construction industry is setting the example for safety performance improvement in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association recognized some of the leaders of 2009 at its AGM on May 27. The meeting provided an opportunity to celebrate the fact that lost time accidents have decreased from 1,224 in 1993 (the year before the NSCSA began operating) to 675 in 2010, despite an increase in assessable payroll from $439 to $886 million. “Our goal is zero accidents,” said A. Bruce Collins, general manager of the NSCSA. “Through a positive culture shift starting with our youth, we believe someday it will be a reality.” This year’s awards highlighted those organizations and individuals who believe in an accidentfree workplace as well as those who have supported the NSCSA youth safety initiatives.
Contractors or constructors, like any other employer, are responsible for the health and safety of their employees as well as people at or near the workplace. It’s their job to provide workers with the training, equipment and support to do their job safely. — File Photo
Playing it safe on the job Shot in the hand from a nail gun. Twisted back while carrying drywall. Cut on the head from a piece of metal. These are just a few of the real life injuries experienced by construction workers in Nova Scotia. “What makes workplace injuries or deaths truly tragic is the fact that they are all avoidable,” says Stuart MacLean, VP of Service Delivery at the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB). “Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the key to preventing injuries is ensuring that both employers and workers understand their roles.” Contractors or constructors, like any other employer, are responsible for the health and safety of their employees as well as people at or near the workplace. It’s their job to provide workers with the training, equipment and support to do their job safely. This includes ensuring equipment, materials and the work environment are safe, establishing safe work policies and procedures for hazardous work and collaborating with employees on workplace health and safety issues. Employers are also required by law to establish a health and safety committee (if they have 20 or more employees) or a safety representative (if they have five or more employees). Construction workers play an equally important role in preventing injuries. “All workers should approach their job with their own safety, and the safety of their colleagues, top of mind,” says MacLean. “This means complying with safety rules and procedures, wearing protective equipment, using machinery and equipment only as authorized and reporting all injuries and incidents, even the close calls.” Despite everyone’s best intentions, a workplace injury may occur. That’s why it’s so important that all workers know what steps to take if they get hurt. “First, take care of yourself as soon as possible,” says MacLean. “Report your injury to your employer and get medical care. If possible, help your employer investigate the incident so that measures can be taken to prevent a similar incident from happening again.” Injured workers who need to miss time from
work should follow the advice of their doctor and health professionals, and get back to work as soon as they’re able. “Returning to work is an important part of the recovery process. The longer an injured worker stays off the job, the less likely they are to recover and return to work at all,” says MacLean. “Workers should stay focused on what they can do, not what they can’t. They shouldn’t let an injury take over their whole life.” One of the most important steps an employer can take is to register for workers’ compensation insurance. In the construction industry, workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory; however, it may be optional for small companies (less than three people involved) that don’t hire subcontractors. For these employers, voluntary coverage is available, and it comes with significant benefits. Employers with coverage cannot be sued by workers for injuries that occur at or during the course of their employment. Covered employers are also not responsible for the full cost of their workplace injuries. Like all insurance coverage, the costs for injuries are shared among all covered employers. “Most employers make it their policy to only hire subcontractors that have coverage. This protects them against being sued by their workers and ensures that any claim will not increase their premiums,” says MacLean. “They can do this by simply asking for a current copy of the subcontractor’s WCB clearance letter.” Workers’ compensation insurance also benefits employees. Working for an employer with coverage means they won’t have to worry about losing their wages if they’re injured on the job. Employers with workers’ compensation insurance also have access to WCB resources and programs that can help them create a safe work environment for their workers. With the WCB’s support, employers can prevent injuries from happening and help those who are injured safely return to their jobs. For more information about workplace safety, visit worksafeforlife.ca.
Form Work Cullip Construction Limited - Truro Electrical/Plumbing/Insulation/Drywall Allan MacDonald Electrical Contractors Dartmouth Excavation and Grading Elliot Excavators Limited - Bedford
By Assessable Payroll
The winner’s circle:
Assessable Payroll less than $50,000 J B Eavestroughing - Bedford Assessable Payroll less than $100,000 Linear Roofing Limited - Halifax Assessable Payroll less than $250,000 Point Michaud Construction - Richmond County Assessable Payroll less than $500,000 Earth Craft Landscape Limited - Bedford Assessable Payroll less than $1,000,000 McLeod Safety Services Ltd. - Truro Assessable Payroll greater than $1,000,000 Conestoga Rovers Associates - CB County
By SIC Group
Other award winners included:
Ready-Mix Concrete industry Lafarge Canada - Halifax Homebuilding Industry Blunden Construction Management Services Limited - Halifax Asphalt Paving Will Kare Paving Contracting Limited - Truro Water/Sewer Works G Landry Vacuum Service Limited - Cape Breton County Other Site Work Cypress Landscaping Limited - Halifax Carpentry Castone Construction Limited - Halifax
Safety Champion Award Econo/Dexter Industry Leadership Award Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association Advisor Award Bob Power Trainer Award Ron Urquhart Founder’s Award: -Nova Scotia Power -Construction Association of Nova Scotia -Eastwing Products James Spidell Award: Melissa Upton
Congratulations to McLeod Safety Equipment on your NSCSA award from
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A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
Lafarge: Taking safety to a whole new level By Richard Woodbury The Nova Scotia division of Lafarge’s ready-mix concrete operation was recently honoured with an industry safety award from the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association at its annual general meeting. “It certainly made me feel extremely proud of the operations that we run,” says Alex Kennedy, Lafarge’s general manager for Atlantic Canada. “The people that we have working for us are very engaged in safety. I think it’s a tribute to them and their day-to-day activities.” Safety is a cornerstone of Lafarge’s operation and its number one priority. “We take safety to another level,” says Kennedy. “We’ve now gone four years in eastern Canada (east of Toronto) without a lost-time accident. This translates to almost nine million man hours.” Some of the operations in Atlantic Canada have even gone 16 years without a lost-time accident. This is an achievement not many businesses have attained. Kennedy says developing a safety culture requires safety to become a part of employees’ lives, both at work and outside of work. It must not just be something that is practiced on occasion. At the heart of Lafarge’s commitment to safety lies four simple principals: Don’t look the other way, don’t let it happen twice, PPE (personal protective equipment) is your uniform, and a clean work area is a safe work area. Kennedy says these principles have gained momentum over the years and have become a way of life at Lafarge where employees discuss and practice these principles in their daily work and are also held accountable to them. With such dedication, it comes as no surprise that the eastern Canadian unit has been inducted into Lafarge’s Health & Safety Excellence Club which has stringent admission requirements such as: at least one million man hours worked, no fatalities in two years, and a total incident frequency rate of less than 7.5 (and less than 5.13 this year to maintain the induction). Only 25 business units worldwide have been entered into this club. Lafarge in North America is part of the Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials active in 76 countries which employs 90,000 people.
All the best to Lafarge on your recent NSCSA award from:
Lafarge is known for its commitment to safety as well as its innovative products. - Photos courtesy of Lafarge Lafarge has three ready-mix concrete plants in Nova Scotia (Yarmouth, Truro and Springhill) and employs almost 30 people. The company services a number of different segments of the market for its ready-mix concrete division, including home builders, residential contractors, the civil sector (such as road and bridge builders), and small homeowners or individuals. One of the key reasons behind Lafarge’s success has been its ability to change the perception of ready-mix concrete as solely a commodity product. “We try and sell innovation along with our safety program and technical expertise,” says Kennedy. Lafarge has many proprietary products that can assist contractors and owners, and is always developing new ideas in its quest to remain on the leading edge.
P.O. Box 1229, Truro, Nova Scotia B2N 5N2 Phone: (902) 895-6381 Fax: (902) 893-7603 116 Thornhill Drive, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B3B 1S3 Phone: (902) 468-6354 Fax: (902) 468-2465
Congratulations to Lafarge on your NSCSA Award from all of us at:
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A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 15
McLeod Safety Services: Where safety is second nature By Clare O’Connor For McLeod Safety Services, a traffic services company based in Truro, safety means business — literally. “We provide temporary workplaces on streets and highways for clients in the construction and utility industries. Keeping people safe and operating an environment free of injury and accidents is our top priority,” says Janice Marshall, the company’s general manager. “We take a great deal of pride in the fact that our customers feel secure at our jobsites. It’s what our business is all about.” In May, the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association recognized the commitment to safety demonstrated by McLeod Safety Services during the association’s annual general meeting. “We won the Chair's Award of Excellence for the safest company with an assessable payroll less than $1,000,000,” says Marshall. “We were thrilled with this result. Our company philosophy is ‘making safety a habit for life’.” Established in 1988 as Colchester Security and Road Safety, the company changed ownership in 2001 and was renamed McLeod Safety Services. During the past nine years, the traffic control side of the company has tripled in size and operations, and has expanded to include safety training and retail sales of items such as construction and welding products. Despite these changes, Marshall says that the
emphasis on worksite safety has continued to play a central role in the company’s operations and in its overall approach to service delivery. “We have a number of protocols and procedures that reinforce the message and practice of safety. We are in constant communication with all employees and use daily checklists, perform regular jobsite assessments, maintain all equipment and vehicles and constantly remind employees of the importance of safety. Safety has truly become second nature.” When asked about the key ingredients to the success of McLeod Safety Services, Marshall is quick to reference the organization’s overall incremental growth strategy that has, at its root, three vital elements. “We have a solid and well-trained employee base. Some of our employees have been with us since the beginning and they are great mentors for new staff. We also place a major emphasis on customer service and satisfaction and, above all, we have an uncompromising dedication to the safety aspect of our industry.” Although the company’s long-term plan is to become the largest traffic control service provider in the region, Marshall maintains that the best way forward is through steady growth at a controlled pace. “We have all worked very hard to build a reliable, experienced, safety-oriented traffic control service. Growing and improving is best done one step at a time, but never at the expense of safety.”
McLeod Safety Services takes pride in keeping people safe and operating an environment free of injury and accidents. In the photo are team members: Ron McLeod, owner; Don Marshall, sales manager; Howard MacKenzie, sales representative. Photo courtesy of McLeod Safety Services
Best wishes to McLeod Safety on your recent NSCSA Award from
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25 Years: Then and Now
Page 16 • A Special Feature of The Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
As time goes by How Nova Scotia’s economy has changed over the years
Nova Scotia’s economy has changed remarkably over the past two decades, growing beyond its ties to natural resources — fishing, farming, forestry and mining — to a diversified economy where tourism, information technologies, aerospace and defence, finance and biosciences also play a key economic role. This steady transition from a resource-based economy to a service-based or “knowledge” economy has meant significant changes for people who live and work in the province, says Elizabeth Beale, president and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC). “In 1985 there were still lots of jobs in the resource-based industries. The work was often seasonal and the major changes to employment insurance (or unemployment insurance, UI, as it was known before 1996) hadn’t come in yet,” Beale says. “Those changes had a huge effect on the labour market here.” Globalization, a fairly new concept 25 years ago, also had a profound effect on the provincial economy, hitting the resource sector particularly
hard and challenging manufacturers to compete with low-wage competitors. “Some companies couldn’t do it and couldn’t compete, but over the years others have found opportunities — through access to technology — to improve productivity,” she says, pointing to the information and communication technologies, biosciences and aerospace and defence sectors as examples of industries that have succeeded. Improving productivity in the still-new global economy is Atlantic Canada’s defining challenge, says Beale, adding that in order to raise the bar further, policies need to be strengthened in two crucial areas: investing in new technologies and in human capital. Out-migration, akin to a tradition in Nova Scotia where young people “going down the road” is a well-worn phrase, continues to be an issue as well. According to an APEC report released in 2008, Atlantic Canada lost 72,500 people in the previous decade, about 10 per cent of its population in the 15 to 34 age bracket. Those who stay in Nova Scotia continue to gravitate to the city and larger towns. There has been a shift from a predominantly rural-based population to a more urban, industrialized one. Beale says, over the past decade and a half, the population in Nova Scotia has been pulled into the centre of the province. “It’s the ends of the province, Cape Breton and the southwestern part of Nova Scotia, that have seen the biggest losses.” The continuing concentration of employment in services and the ensuing flow of jobs and pop-
The mining industry in Nova Scotia has changed dramatically in the last 25 years, reflecting global changes in supply, demand and technology. In the photo: The Lingan Coal Mine in Cape Breton in the 1980s. — Photo courtesy of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources ulation into urban areas are trends that are likely to dominate Atlantic Canada's evolution over the coming decade. Nova Scotia has faced many challenges over the past 25 years and will continue to face many more, but these challenges are not insurmount-
able, says Beale. “We really need to look at growth and productivity and ask ourselves, ‘What is it as a province that we really need to do?’. It's a willingness to be innovative that will put us at the top of our game.” –– By Joanie Veitch
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This year, the Nova Scotia Business Journal is marking a milestone — 25 years as a leading source for business news across the province. In this special feature, 25 Years: Then and Now, we are celebrating our anniversary and our continuing commitment to providing in-depth coverage of the province’s business landscape. Join us as we delve into how our economy and some of our key industries have evolved over the years…
25 YEARS: THEN AND NOW
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 17
NSBJ Anniversary Letter from the Publisher
25 years later, and advocating good business is still good business How do you encase more than two decades of reporting on Nova Scotia business within one letter? The answer is… you can’t. A quarter century represents several lifetimes in terms of businesses and business cycles and it would take the entire newspaper to do any justice to this idea. However, from a broad perspective, the Nova Scotia Business Journal has seen and reported on vibrant growth in many exciting new sectors that were in their infancy, or unimagined, 25 years ago. We’ve watched boutique industries like wineries and specialized eco-tourism gain new prominence. We’ve seen the benefits and effects of new offshore oil and natural gas development in our own backyard. And we’ve followed the story as the focus of the business climate in Nova Scotia has shifted to the small business sector. There have also been challenges that have faced the region. Many traditional local industries — once the backbone of our economy — have gone into sharp decline. Due to their own individual challenges, fisheries, agriculture and tourism have all had to adapt to changing paradigms in order to survive. We’ve reported on eight premiers in the past 25 years, representing each of the three major political parties. Each leader’s individual visions and actions have helped shaped and define the business culture of Nova Scotia. As Nova Scotians, Canadians and globally we’ve undergone a digital revolution that has touched all our lives and forever altered the way many businesses communicate, work and grow. The internet, wireless communications, social media, the personal computer, smart phones and many more game-changers have come about since we started bringing you the news. Over the last 25 years the world has seen advances in technology that have surpassed the combined technological advancements for nearly 2,000 years before it. All that new technology has made Nova Scotia a part of the global village. Events that happen a world away have a direct effect and in many cases, an immediate impact on us as Nova Scotians — whether it’s the reporting on the current situation with the oil leak in the
gulf causing our politicians to rethink policies or global events like the horror of September 11, 2001, the effects of which have rippled through our tourist trade since. As the old saying goes, though: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” When the Nova Scotia Business Journal started 25 years ago from a dining room table in an apartment, its mantra was promoting good business within Nova Scotia. Today, that ideal still holds true. Whether praising progress or questioning red tape, we remain committed to bringing to the forefront the stories that prove, and improve, the great Nova Scotia business community. There are a lot of media outlets who follow the paradigm “If it bleeds it leads”, and always seem to focus on the worst possible scenarios. We feel, in retrospect, that the Nova Scotia Business Journal has consistently proven that a focus on the positive is a virtue our readers and the business community at large appreciate and respond to. As publisher of the NSBJ for the past six years I am very proud of our growth and adaptation to the new realities of Nova Scotia business through these quickly changing times. We’ve expanded distribution to 60,000 copies across Nova Scotia, bringing insightful news to even more Nova Scotians. We’ve also expanded beyond the provincial borders. Recognizing that events in Atlantic Canada are often interconnected, our Daily Business Buzz (www.dailybusiness buzz.ca) offers a free, subscriber-based daily newsletter directly pertaining to local business. The one constant we at the NSBJ have been able to count on over the past 25 years is that change is here to stay. Our pledge to our readers going forward is to continue to embrace change. We will maintain the advocacy and promotion of success and business growth in Nova Scotia we’ve come to be known for over the last 25 years. Here’s to continuing success and a bright future for business in Nova Scotia, and for the Nova Scotia Business Journal!
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A “past and present” portrait of some of Nova Scotia’s key sectors Information, Communications, and Digital Technology Twenty five years ago, two tandem trucks pulled up to the Johnson Building in Halifax to deliver an upgrade to the Nova Scotia Government IBM mainframe computer with a multi-million dollar price tag. Today, comparable technology would be delivered in a courier pouch and cost about as much as an upscale weekend trip for two to Cape Breton. “Over the past 25 years technology has gotten a lot smaller but the industry sector has gotten a whole lot bigger,” says Jason Powell, president of Digital Nova Scotia. “The information, communications, and digital technology sector has grown from virtually nothing to over 10,000 employees.” The past two decades saw the rise of the internet, the development of enterprise applications such as SAP, the arrival of the chief information officer, the pervasive use of personal digital assistants with mobile communications like the Blackberry, the introduction of digital entertainment and gaming, as well as the explosion of social media applications like Facebook and Twitter. “In the end, technology is all about the people who conceive, design, build, and operate the stuff,” says Jules Fauteux, president of Talentlogix. “The digital sector has offered amazing careers over the past 25 years and continues to do so today.”
Mining The mining industry in Nova Scotia has changed dramatically in the last 25 years, reflecting global changes in supply, demand and tech-
nology. “Coal mining has changed far more than any other aspect of the mining industry,” says Diane Webber, liaison geologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. “King Coal dominated the industry for over 250 years, but the closing of the last underground coal mine (Prince Mine) in 2001 marked the end of that era. However, the future may see a renewal of underground coal mining in Nova Scotia.” After six years of work by the Donkin Coal Alliance, there is a strong potential for future underground production from the Donkin Coal Resource Block, she says. Pioneer Coal has also taken the lead on successful, community friendly, surface reclamation coal mining — a process that remediates previously mined land as new resources are extracted. The acquisition of the Aulds Cove quarry by Martin Marietta in 1995 also introduced a new economic force in Nova Scotia mining, with its aggregate production regularly ranking among Canada’s top ten. Salt and gypsum production has generally grown in the last 25 years as well, providing a stable base for the mining industry, and metal mining has taken place intermittently. “Things sure have changed,” says Webber, “but as Winston Churchill once said: ‘There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction’.”
Forestry The last 25 years have seen many changes that have formed Nova Scotia’s forest industry into the version we see today. Continued on page 18
25 YEARS: THEN AND NOW
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010
“Past and present” portrait of key sectors in Nova Scotia Continued from page 17 Back then, it was an active industry with a number of operations across the province, most with a primary sales market in the United States. “Since that time, we have seen world markets change, competition increase on a global scale, and a dramatic decrease in demand from that ‘historical’ United States market for local producers,” says Steve Talbot, executive director of the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia. “As a result, a number of industry businesses such as mills and harvesting contractors have closed their doors.” A real awakening over the last 25 years to environmental concerns in our society has also led to major changes to forest management in the industry, says Talbot. Most recently, the forest industry has been drawn into the political arena in Nova Scotia, with legislation like EGSPA (Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act) being put in place. “Our industry agrees with the overall goals of EGSPA — as the title suggests, ensuring a balance of environmental and sustainable prosperity goals,” he says. “But, we are very concerned that the provincial government must not make moves to destroy existing industries if there is to be a true balance of these two goals, and the bright future we know exists for our industry in our province.”
Manufacturing Flashback 25 years over the history of Nova Scotia’s manufacturing success and it’s easy to
identify visible changes: the Internet, computerassisted design, new methods of distribution, inventory management, etc. “The changed ‘things’ are obvious,” says Ann Janega, vice president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Nova Scotia Division. “Less obvious is the major change in the way people work together and how the workplace culture has changed.” Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters in Nova Scotia, the CME, has helped to be a change agent in such areas as the culture of safety in the workplace. In previous decades, safety was only a matter of regulation and viewed by insiders as an added cost of doing business. “Today, in modern manufacturing operations in Nova Scotia, labour, employees and management work together in a culture of safety,” says Janega. “The emphasis on personal and workplace safety is a starting point for most progressive firms. The added benefit is a new and strong team approach that helps our firms to be productive.” A second key change in this new century is an emphasis on continuous improvement. “These words have a particular meaning in a manufacturing environment and they spell ‘productivity’ in a big way,” she says. “Continuous improvement or ‘lean’ management techniques provide the secret ingredient that allows our industry to continue as a major contributor to Nova Scotia’s economy. A visit to a Nova Scotia ‘lean’ industry will also surprise one with a snapshot of team work, collaboration and problemsolving, shared by all members of the firm’s team.”
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Energy Much has changed in Nova Scotia’s electricity generation over the past 25 years. “In 1985, we were completing a transition to coal-based generation from oil in response to the OPEC crisis,” says Rob Bennett, president and chief executive officer of Nova Scotia Power. “In 1992, the legislature approved the privatization of our organization. Since then, we have embarked upon a clean energy transformation in response to the priorities of our customers and the government. Natural gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore is one of those options that have helped us reduce emissions.” The province is also known for its tremendous wind resource. NS Power installed its first turbine in 2003 and now, along with independent power producers, it has 275 megawatts of new wind power on-line or coming on-line by the end of this year. Exploration of the energy potential in the Bay of Fundy continues as well. “Twenty-five years ago, NS Power built the first tidal plant in North America and we are among several companies involved in an instream tidal test project that will help us make decisions about future tidal energy options,” says Bennett. Partnered with leaders in sustainable forestry, NS Power is also looking to use a Nova Scotia resource — biomass — and create 150 jobs in the process. “Investing in renewable energy will help us create a shield against the price volatility of rising foreign fossil fuels, and spend more of our
fuel dollars here at home in Nova Scotia,” he says. “Nova Scotians are doing their part too in this transformation by embracing conservation and efficiency to reduce their electricity usage. “Looking ahead, we see continued growth in renewable energy and the need for better regional cooperation and enhanced regional transmission interconnection, providing Atlantic Canadians with energy that is clean, secure and stable in price.”
Tourism The tourism industry in Nova Scotia generates over $1.8 billion in revenue annually, supporting approximately 40,000 jobs. Tourism-related businesses, primarily small enterprises, are spread throughout the province. Over the past 25 years, tourism has seen significant changes in the industry and the way people travel. “Technology has had a profound impact on travel decisions,” says Darlene Grant Fiander, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. “The way we plan and execute travel will continue to evolve, as will the way we attract visitors. Travelers will continue to seek out new destinations and experiences, using technology to research available product. They will take more trips to more, and different, destinations than ever before.” Nova Scotia’s current market share is small and the competition is strong. Affordable air travel and the Internet mean that the province is competing daily in a global marketplace. Continued on page 19
25 YEARS: THEN AND NOW
A Special Feature of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, July 2010 I Page 19
“Past and present” portrait of key sectors in Nova Scotia Continued from page 18 “This growing competition means we need to ensure visitors can reach us, by improving air, road and ferry access,” she says. “We need to ensure we are providing the right products for the right markets.” Vacation trends will continue to be shorter and more frequent, based on the new demographic reality. An ongoing decline in births and overall zero population growth offer a rich market intelligence as to who the industry’s customers are now and will be in the future. The expectation for quality continues to rise and Nova Scotia’s ability to succeed will require ongoing improvements to the tourism product and the highest standards for service delivery. “Tourism is well positioned to increase its contribution to the provincial economy if we adapt to the rapid changes taking place and keep our customers top of mind,” says Grant Fiander.
Agriculture People are fortunate to have retail shelves that are laden with a variety of food choices that could have only been dreamed of two decades ago. This is of course premised on a “fossil fuel enabled” global trading system which can move perishable food products from around the world to our shelves on a daily basis. This has in part
caused the consistent diminishment of market share of food consumed in Nova Scotia which is actually produced in Nova Scotia. “We now produce very little of the food we consume in Nova Scotia,” says Richard Melvin, president of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. “This is down dramatically from 25 years ago and has resulted in the tremendous and sometimes traumatic diminishment of our agricultural food processing capacity particularly over the past 10 years. Our ability to process beef, pork, chicken, vegetables and fruit has been reduced dramatically due to the closure of many of our agriculture processing facilities. Sadly thousands of good paying year-round jobs have been lost in Nova Scotia in this process. The compounding effect of globalization and retail consolidation have also been major drivers of this trend.” However, there are many recent indicators which offer hope for a reversal of these trends. “The ever-growing concerns around the environment, food safety and economic sustainability have resulted in an ever-expanding consumer interest in sourcing their food from as close to home as possible,” says Melvin. Over the past five years many small-scale artisan processing facilities have started to meet this demand. While still small scale by previous standards these operations are growing year by year based on consumer demand.
A real awakening over the last 25 years to environmental concerns in society has led to major changes to forest management in the industry. — Photo courtesy of the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia
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July 2010, Nova Scotia Business Journal
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