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Canada

NSBI payroll rebate program created half the jobs it touted

A Nova Scotia Business Inc. subsidy program put aside funds to create up to 12,000 jobs, but records show the actual number of positions that resulted is about half that.
A Nova Scotia Business Inc. subsidy program put aside funds to create up to 12,000 jobs, but records show the actual number of positions that resulted is about half that. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

HALIFAX – A high-profile Nova Scotia business subsidy program put aside funds to create up to 12,000 jobs, but records show the actual number of positions that resulted is about half that.

The jobs were announced by Nova Scotia Business Inc. in news releases that often emphasized the possible maximum number of jobs from payroll rebates.

The Canadian Press used freedom of information legislation to request figures for job creation for projects started between 2002 and 2007 and which are nearly all complete.

Peter MacAskill, vice president of Nova Scotia Business Inc., says the agency’s total number of jobs created is “approximately 6,000 or about 50 per cent of the maximum,” as of May 22nd.

The records also indicate about a quarter of the companies listed never used the program at all – or the project didn’t proceed.

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No follow-up news releases were issued to tell the public about that.

Economic development expert Donald Savoie says NSBI should issue follow-up news releases and provide full disclosure of jobs created in its records.

Savoie says attracting Blackberry and financial services firms have been success stories for the program, but that overall he would have expected the job creation figures to have been higher.