Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia overhauls online business registry

Service Nova Scotia has updated its business registry website to make it more convenient. All types of businesses and societies can now be registered online, activities which used to be done by mail or in-person visits to government offices.

Province estimates change could save businesses $7M a year

Activities related to registering a business that used to be done by mail or an in-person visit to an office can now be done online, according to Service Nova Scotia. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Service Nova Scotia has updated its business registry website to make it more convenient.

All types of businesses and societies can now be registered online through the Registry of Joint Stock Companies, activities which used to be done by mail or in-person visits to government offices.

"There was very limited capacity to file your initial information documents online, in the past," said Haley Clarke, Nova Scotia's executive director of registries.

The province estimates the changes will save businesses around $7 million per year. Clarke said the estimate comes from the time people would have spent visiting access centres, as well as costs like postage.

Fees for the new services are now visible on the website.

"We've had no changes to fees.... You can see them more readily because you're able to access the services there," Clarke said. 

There are also changes for searching the registration details of Nova Scotia companies.

New platform replaces 25-year-old system

Company details such as the name, officers and contact information used to appear on a single page. Now, users have to click through multiple tabs to see the same information.

"The tools that we're using are off-the-shelf-product, so that's part of the features of the tool," Clarke said. 

Nova Scotia's former registry was over 25 years old.

The $7.1-million contract to modernize the system is held by Enterprise Registry Solutions Ltd. of Dublin. The contract expires in 2026.

Clarke said the registry data is held on private servers in Dartmouth, N.S., but the contents remain the property of the Nova Scotia government.

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Jack Julian

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Jack Julian joined CBC Nova Scotia as an arts reporter in 1997. His news career began on the morning of Sept. 3, 1998 following the crash of Swissair 111. He is now a data journalist in Halifax, and you can reach him at (902) 456-9180, by email at jack.julian@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter @jackjulian

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