POLITICS

Nova Scotia streamlines processes in restaurant and accommodations sector

07/07/2015 11:23 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - Service Nova Scotia Minister Mark Furey says a new website for the restaurant and accommodations sectors that provides one-stop shopping for administrative paperwork will soon be rolled out in other industries.

Various government permit and license applications are now all in one place, such as those needed to reserve a business name or to obtain a food establishment permit.

"The bundle basically ignores departmental lines and instead focuses on what business people need," said Furey at a press conference in downtown Halifax on Tuesday.

Furey said talks are already underway to develop a similar website for convenience store operators. He said eventually, websites will be created for other sectors as well.

Previously, businesses in the restaurant and accommodations sectors were required to navigate several government departments for various information and applications.

Furey said the new site streamlines the process for businesses and creates less work for public employees.

"Within government, those processes have been manual as well, so we're creating efficiencies within government that will allow us to manage those responsibilities with a quicker turnaround," he said.

Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, said the site makes administrative work more efficient.

"For new operators, they'll be able to jump in and start the process and work their way through with help each step of the way," said Stewart.

"For existing operators, someone who has just worked 15 hours can sit down at the end of the day, pull up their renewal form, click enter and it's done. It's efficiency for our industry overall."

Businesses can create a profile on the site with a customizable list of tasks for their specific needs, said Furey. He said it shows operators what steps they need to complete and in what order.

Furey recognized that Nova Scotia is behind the times.

"We've been an analog government in a digital world and that puts us at a disadvantage from a business perspective," said Furey.

"The need... to transition into a truly digital government is absolutely necessary for us to be competitive across the country and to be competitive on a global scale."