Premier Stephen McNeil will continue to focus on red tape reduction and reducing trade barriers at next week’s annual summer meeting of the Council of the Federation with provincial and territorial colleagues. Nova Scotia continues to be a national leader in eliminating internal trade barriers and reducing red tape. Government’s goal of helping businesses save $25 million annually through reduced regulatory burden was exceeded, reaching $34 million by the end of 2018. A new target has now been set – to reduce overall regulatory burden on businesses by nearly $45 million annually between 2017 and 2020. “Eliminating trade barriers by aligning regulatory differences among provinces provides businesses with better access to more markets across Canada and customers with more choice,” said Premier McNeil. “It ultimately makes us more competitive on a global basis and that results in more jobs for Nova Scotians across the province.” At last year’s premiers’ and territorial leaders’ meeting in New Brunswick, premiers called for immediate and real action to speed up the pace of reducing barriers to internal trade in Canada. Nova Scotia eliminated extra provincial business registration fees for businesses formed in another province or territory. This allows businesses registered in Nova Scotia to operate in another province without paying again. The province also removed the personal exemption limits for alcohol products transported into the province for personal use and continues to allow direct to consumer shipments of wine. By the end of this year, 10 reconciliation agreements will be finalized to resolve regulatory differences nationally in the areas of occupational health and safety, transportation, technical safety, construction codes and standards, business registration, aquaculture, agriculture and corporate registries. Work is also underway to align federal, provincial and territorial building, fire, energy efficiency and plumbing codes, as well as energy efficiency standards for household appliances. The Council of the Federation meeting takes place July 9-11 in Saskatoon.