10/28/2015 10:01 EDT | Updated 10/28/2016 01:12 EDT

Nova Scotia taxpayers to pay for axed business loans program until 2034:deputy

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia taxpayers will be paying for a defunct provincial business funding program for six years longer than originally expected.

The Nova Scotia Jobs Fund was eliminated by the Liberal government in 2014, at which time it was predicted that taxpayers would foot the bill for hundreds of millions in existing business deals until 2028.

That estimate has now been revised to 2034.

Business Nova Scotia deputy minister Catherine Woodman told the legislature's public accounts committee today that the cost of continuing deals is estimated at $32 million a year, with a cumulative five-year cost of $159 million and a total commitment of $892 million.

Woodman says the fund is a "tiger with a long tail" and its complexities need to be managed carefully.

The cabinet-controlled fund created by the former NDP government provided business loans to companies such as Irving Shipbuilding and Pacific West Commercial Corp., which operates the paper mill in Port Hawkesbury.




The Canadian Press