Economic recovery outlook from the Cape Breton Partnership and Halifax Partnership

May 20, 2020

During the May 20 weekly webinar, NSAR hosted Tyler Mattheis from the Cape Breton Partnership, as well as Ian Munro and Wendy Luther from the Halifax Partnership to talk about economic recovery in those regions.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, both regions were seeing unparalleled growth and interest from investors and new businesses. As with the rest of the world, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on many sectors.

Mattheis stated that, “In Cape Breton, I have seen organizations finding new ways of doing business. In rural parts of Nova Scotia, internet ordering and delivery is not a viable option and I have seen some businesses adapt through phone ordering.” In a recent survey of 200 Cape Breton businesses, Mattheis says that 35 percent of businesses are choosing to be open in some fashion.

Meanwhile in the Halifax area, Munro says, “This recession is different than others as it affects certain sectors and more woman are affected than men.” Luther says that despite the slowdown, conversations are still happening with businesses who are looking to relocate here and who are coming to the area. Luther also says, “The Halifax Partnership is working with the municipality to get businesses back up and running.  We will see a shift in this over the next couple of weeks. This will positively impact other sectors in turn.” Luther also says they are working to connect workers with industries that need them.

In Cape Breton, Mattheis says they are also working on an economic recovery plan and developments such as launching a virtual job board, housing an immigration officer in their office, and helping businesses with regulatory navigation. These are all important steps to get the economy going. The Partnership’s Business Planning Advisor is also very busy assisting business owners.

Mattheis says that big ticket capital projects such as Cape Smokey development, the hospital redevelopment, and NSCC moves to Sydney waterfront are all still in progress. He also says that this pandemic has also shown people the importance of home by having them spend time there, whether with a home office or with their families. That is a positive outcome.

The Partnerships both agree that safety regulations must be adhered to as we slowly open the economy back up as we don’t want a reoccurrence of COVID-19. The panelists also all agreed that the buy local message is critical at this time so that we can support our businesses and local economies.