HALIFAX – Atlantic Institute for Market Studies’ director of research Don McIver is calling for an end to Regional Development Authorities in Nova Scotia.

His view is outlined in a new AIMS paper entitled Nova Scotians Without Borders.

Regional development strategies in Canada have failed to improve the economies of their target regions, said McIver.

“A benefit to being a nation is the absence of barriers to the mobility of money and labour,” he added in a news release. “But current industrial policies attempt to get businesses to relocate to areas of surplus labour—instead of helping people get jobs where their skills are in demand.”

In Nova Scotia, the government has provided financial incentives to companies to operate in regions with high unemployment. These initiatives have failed, often after the government has given them repeated additional assistance.

“In fact,” said McIver, “the regions that have received the most development initiatives for the longest periods still have the highest unemployment and the greatest population out-migration.”

McIver said that government industrial and economic development strategies need to focus on people, not subsidies to business. Regional industrial or investment strategies are not a legitimate role of government and when they attempt them, governments waste resources that could be better used to serve citizens.

“The most people-oriented government policy would be to help create an inclusive labour force with the flexibility to move people to where their personal economic and social wellbeing is maximized,” said McIver. “If that is outside the province, it may be a loss to Nova Scotia—but to those individual Nova Scotians it would be a gain.”

Click here to read Nova Scotians Without Borders.