Science Making Strides with Transparent Aluminum

Fans of the original Star Trek series know that transparent aluminum was developed by Lieutenant Montgomery “Scotty” Scott for Plexicorp on a time travel trip to 1986. However, science happens to be catching up with science fiction. Read more

Innovation in the Trades

Hear from three apprentices and their employers about how the skilled trades have changed over the years and how innovation plays a key role in their industry. See Video

Viability of Passive House Standard

The passive house standard has been with us for a while now, but there remains plenty of skepticism about whether it can be applied to large building, especially in northern climates. Read more

CMHC Preliminary Housing Starts July 2015

In Nova Scotia, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in all areas was 6,124 units in July 2015, down 20.4 per cent from June’s revised estimate of 7,695. up 0.9 per cent from the previous month’s revised level of 7,627 (which was the highest since October of 2012). July 2015’s estimate is an increase of 10.1 per cent over a year earlier. For the month, multi-unit urban starts decreased 29.3 per cent while single-detached urban starts increased 15.0 per cent. Read more

Apprenticeship Board Invites Applications for Members of a Construction Electrician Trade Advisory Committee

The Apprenticeship Board of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is inviting applications for members of a Construction Electrician Trade Advisory Committee. The Committee is tasked with reviewing and revising the trade regulation and advising the NSAA Board with a multi-year plan for the Construction Electrician trade.  It will also serve as the program advisory committee for the trade. The Board is seeking employers and employees who are knowledgeable about the Construction Electrician trade, understand the labour market, and who can commit to attending a number of meetings over a one to two year period.  Expenses will be re-imbursed and members will be compensated for meetings attended. If interested (or you know of other interested individuals), please forward resume and cover letter by Aug. 22, 2015, indicating your knowledge of the trade, related certification, if you are an employer or employee, and any other relevant information to:
Vanessa Margueratt, Manager, Industry Relations
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia   B3J 2S9

Letter from Minister Diane Finley in Response to How Federal Government Government Can Improve Procurement

Dear Supplier,
In October 2014, I emailed suppliers, including you, seeking ideas on how our government can improve federal procurement. After reviewing all of the comments and suggestions, it is clear that there is a lot of work needed in order to simplify how the federal government buys goods and services.

In response to your suggestions, I am pleased to inform you that I have instructed the Department to make several changes to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) processes and technology to improve federal procurement. Specifically, here are some of the changes that PWGSC has started to make or will be implementing in the coming months:

1.Many suppliers told us that bids should not be rejected for small administrative errors that are not relevant to the substance of the bid.
Action: Starting this fall, PWGSC plans to implement a new flexible bid compliance process so that bids will no longer be rejected for minor administrative errors or omissions.

2.Several respondents told us that contract solicitation documents are too varied and complex, particularly for low-value contracts.
Action: This fall, PWGSC will start testing a simplified and standardized bid solicitation format that will reduce the costs and administrative burden on suppliers.

3.A number of businesses provided suggestions on how we can improve the popular Build in Canada Innovation Program.
Action: This summer, we are implementing significant changes to the Program. Most importantly, we are taking steps to reduce the time it takes to match innovations with government departments and sign a contract. We are also moving the Program to a continuous intake process that will allow Canadian innovators to submit their bids as soon as their innovations are ready. Furthermore, we are making a change that will facilitate additional sales of innovations to Government after the initial Build in Canada Innovation Program test.

4.Many suppliers commented about the need to improve the Government’s tender website,, to make it a more effective tool for suppliers.
Action: We are taking several steps to make the website easier to find and to track procurement opportunities. This includes a new feature available as of July 1, 2015, that allows companies to add their names to a list of interested suppliers for tender notices. Also, the site now allows suppliers to subscribe to email notices for tender amendments and related updates.

5.Respondents told us that we need to modernize our procurement technology and that we should allow for electronic bidding.
Action: PWGSC has launched a competitive process to acquire and implement a modern e-procurement system that will allow for secure electronic bidding.

These are only some of the changes that PWGSC will be implementing in response to your suggestions. For example, based on your concerns, we are looking at changes to simplify and improve the effectiveness of standing offers and supply arrangements. As we move forward with these measures, we will continue to seek your advice on how we can ensure that our procurement system better serves suppliers. We will also inform you of these changes.

Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with me. Our Government’s commitment to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity means that we will continue to work with you and make it easier for businesses like yours to access federal procurement opportunities. Thank you again for your participation.

Diane Finley, PC, MP, Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Premiers Look at Boosting Innovation and Productivity

On an agenda focusing on improving the country’s economic position they addressed several major issues affecting the provinces including productivity and innovation, internal and international trade barriers and infrastructure. Read more

Transportation Needs Fuel Tax Boost: Report

After 23 years of sitting idle, it’s time for the province to raise fuel taxes in order to generate needed revenue for transportation improvements, a recently released report strongly recommends. Read more

Megaprojects: the Good, the Bad, and the Better

Building big infrastructure projects is always risky, but there are ways to improve the odds of a smooth landing. Read more

Cautious Optimism for Proposed LMI Council

“The more attention that provincial governments give to things like harmonization of apprenticeship and looking at easier qualification recognition can only help in terms of having a more streamlined approach,” says CCA President Michael Atkinson. Read more