POLITICS

Provincial government looking at privatizing Service Nova Scotia registries

03/12/2015 03:24 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - The government is discussing privatizing some of the work done by Service Nova Scotia, but the minister responsible for the service centres says no decisions have been made and nothing will happen this year.

The provincial government has met with officials from other provinces that have taken the step, Mark Furey said Thursday after cabinet, adding that he has also met with a number of private-sector companies interested in taking on the work.

Service Nova Scotia has offices across the province that offer everything from driver's licence renewals to debt counselling, but Furey only mentioned the land, motor vehicle and joint stock registries as possible areas for privatization.

"These are areas where other provinces have explored alternative service delivery and have been very effective," he said.

Furey said privatization could save money and allow the government to focus on core departments, such as health care and education.

"The focus is for government to restructure and get back to our core business," said Furey.

"Where there's an opportunity to separate ourselves from those areas of work that aren't core, we have to look at those as options and opportunities for governments to provide a more efficient service."

The rights and benefits of public employees would not be compromised, and some other provinces were able to retain all employees after privatizing services, Furey said.

"The employees are paramount and I personally would not advance any model of alternative service delivery where we compromise the rights and benefits of employees," he said.