Halifax, NS / St John’s, NL – As governments around the world face harsh budgetary and demographic challenges, a study released today by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) says Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are on the right track when considering registry reforms as a viable economic option.
Commissioned by AIMS and written by Meredith McDonald, a researcher and writer specializing in politics and public policy, The Road Ahead: Options for Reforming Registry Service Delivery praises Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador for their “willingness to explore alternative methods of service delivery” that can increase efficiency and sustainability.
“Both provinces have a myriad of reforming examples leveraged by other provinces since the 1990s,” says McDonald. “The road ahead shows Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians could expect better quality registry services for comparable prices, while the provinces’ governments would spend less on their registries.”
McDonald’s work clearly illustrates there is no privatization panacea that will solve all provincial financial woes; however, AIMS president and CEO, Marco Navarro-Genie, says the paper more than demonstrates the need to let market-driven creativity “fill the gap.”
“When the private sector is allowed to enter markets and unleash its creative energy under government-enforced regulation, good things happen,” says Navarro-Genie. “The great thing about this study is it does not outline bureaucratic prescriptions – instead, it paints the picture of reforming success throughout the country. It is a great example to follow.”
The paper may have its share of opponents in the public sector, clinging to the fallacy that “government can do it cheaper.” McDonald rebuts that claim by proving reforms in provinces contracting out services such as land title registries, personal property registries, motor vehicle and licensing registries, and marriage licenses, have helped government decrease expenditures, improve efficiency, and keep costs below the national average.
MacDonald and Navarro-Genie say narrow political interests should not get in the way of doing the right thing for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Four provincial administrations with governments ranging in stripe from blue to red to orange have formed various partnerships with the private sector to cut costs, improve service and augment availability. In each case, practicality, not ideology, has been the driving force.”
Regardless of the routes these provinces chose, three things are certain: first, Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians would be in line for better quality registry services; they would have greater availability and variety of options; and third, the provinces would spend less on registries than they do now, thus freeing up scarce resources for more pressing priorities such as health care and education.
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About the Author
Meredith McDonald is a Research Fellow at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. McDonald specialises in politics and public policy. She previously worked for the federal government, including roles with the minister of state of foreign affairs, the environment minister, and the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is a Canadian non-profit, non-partisan research institute that provides a distinctive Atlantic Canadian perspective on economic, political, and social issues. The Institute seeks to stimulate public debate with well-considered argument and evidence-based data. AIMS sets the benchmark on public policy by drawing together the most innovative thinking available from some of the world’s foremost experts and applying that thinking to the challenges facing Canadians.