RBC bolsters business in Halifax

March 20, 2015

In an effort to kick-start business in Halifax and benefit industry in Nova Scotia as a whole, the province has offered the Royal Bank of Canada up to $22 million in payroll rebates as an incentive to open a financial services centre in the capital city.

In response, the province's private sector-led business development agency, Nova Scotia Business Inc., recently announced the projected creation of 150 new jobs related to cheque processing, fixed asset accounting and accounts payable operations. The $22 million in rebates will come from NSBI's Strategic Investment Funds.

As outlined in NSBI's fiscal year 2014-2015 business plan, the funding set aside for payroll rebates is "a discretionary, non-entitlement tool intended to promote targeted payroll generation and maintenance or creation of employment … [that] may be used when it can be shown that an applicant's project generates an economic benefit to the province, which may include export development, investment in the province or improved competitiveness of existing businesses, in one or more of the province's key economic sectors."

The fruits of a long labor

"This has been a long conversation over a number of years," Laurel Broten, chief executive of NSBI, told The Canadian Press, regarding the payroll rebate. "It is a competitive space. We are competing with a number of other locations."

"The initial 150 jobs could blossom into as many as 500."

According to NSBI, the initial 150 jobs could blossom into as many as 500 within a decade. If this comes to pass, RBC would add an estimated $240 million in salaries and benefits to the provincial economy, while the new workers would contribute personal income taxes of about $26 million. This type of growth would be a considerable boost to the municipal economy of Halifax, as well as the provincial and regional economies of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada, respectively.

Nova Scotia a solid backdrop for financial services expansion

RBC's Haligonian headquarters was formerly occupied by telecommunications company BlackBerry, The Canadian Press reported. Now, RBC is stepping into the picture.

"Nova Scotia offers what we are looking for to support our new centre," said Roger Howard, RBC's regional president of the Atlantic provinces, in a statement. "It provides a skilled workforce, supported by leading post-secondary institutions. It has the real estate, technology and infrastructure of a major Canadian urban centre that can support our future expansion."

Some of the leading post-secondary schools referred to by Howard include Dalhousie University, the University of King's College, Saint Mary's University, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Mount Saint Vincent University and the Atlantic School of Theology, all based in Halifax. Elsewhere in the province, there are institutions of note such as Cape Breton University, Acadia University, St. Francis Xavier University and Universite Sainte-Anne, Nova Scotia's only French-language university.

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economic development organization for Halifax.