Nova Scotia government to hike user fees by three per cent to raise $7.7 million

HALIFAX – Most user fees in Nova Scotia are going up by at least three per cent, a pre-budget move the government says will mean $7.7 million for provincial coffers in 2015-16.

Diana Whalen said Thursday that about 1,400 user fees for a wide range of services, licences and permits will be hiked.

Fees for government service organizations, such as school boards and health authorities, will not be affected. Travel guide advertising, foreign schools and international student fees, and requests for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act are also exempt.

Whalen said the increase was adjusted to the cost of living for the past two years and the move is a sign of the fiscal challenges faced by the province.

“I’ve been very clear, we’re under a great deal of pressure to pay for the services and the many programs that are essential to Nova Scotians,” said Whalen.

She said most of the fees probably don’t come close to delivering the costs of the services offered by the government.

“It’s another part of what we need to do which is to analyze them even further.”

The province says a few fees will increase by more than three per cent, including provincial cable and island ferry rates, as well as food safety fees.