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HRM/HIAA Taxation Agreement

March 17, 2023

March 17, 2023
Halifax Regional Municipality Council
Via Email: [email protected]

Re: March 3, 2023 Budget Committee Meeting
Item 6.1 – HRM/HIAA Taxation Agreement

Dear Councillors,

On behalf of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS), we wish to express our concern regarding the decision by Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) to approve a motion recommending that Council consider terminating and renegotiating the existing 2019 Taxation Agreement with the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA).

HIAA is a critical part of the tourism infrastructure in HRM and the gateway to our region. The visitor economy is in the very early stages of rebuilding from the devastation of COVID and HIAA is integral to a fulsome economic recovery, thus ensuring the stability of competitive air service for tourism, trade, and investment in the region.

Consideration by the HRM Council to revisit a 20-year agreement just four years in, will result in significant financial challenges for HIAA as they work to restore routes and services that are vital to a healthy tourism industry and regional economic growth. HIAA generated $3.8 billion in annual economic benefit to the province prior to the pandemic and supported over 16,000 direct jobs. The agreement in place is an investment with a significant return for HRM and should not be viewed simply as a cost.

While we appreciate the challenges of HRM Council, we would suggest you are not unlike the thousands of Nova Scotia businesses that are trying to reduce costs and continue to operate. We would suggest focusing on reducing internal expenses would be a more appropriate and prudent approach than increasing taxes on organization like HIAA that are generating significant economic return and social benefits. Now is the time for innovation and real change within government’s oversight of public dollars.

While 2022 saw positive signs of recovery in the airline industry, forecasts indicate that it will be 2025 before HIAA will return to pre-pandemic levels of passenger activity. As we emerge from the global pandemic, financial and policy support for our airport will be key to ensuring the competitiveness of Nova Scotia as a tourism destination. Now more than ever, HIAA needs to be defended and championed; not penalized with additional taxes for being an economic driver.

TIANS urges HRM Council to maintain the current Agreement and reject the motion to terminate and renegotiate. In doing so, HRM will be sending a strong message of leadership and understanding of the economic value of the role of HIAA and the Nova Scotia Tourism Industry.


Wes Surrett

Darlene Grant Fiander
TIANS President

cc Halifax International Airport Authority