(CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY, NS) – The Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) has introduced a commercial tax incentive to promote downtown revitalization and business park development.  

In September 2018, a CBRM tax incentive bylaw was adopted by Council to enable commercial in prescribed areas time to become viable in a low-tax environment. Following development or renovations , properties with an incremental tax assessment growth over $100,000 are now eligible for up to ten years of tax reductions, while incremental tax assessment growth of less than $100,000 are now eligible for up to five years of tax reductions. Total tax reductions of up to 50 per cent over the phase-in period are possible.

“The CBRM is doing more to encourage more development in our downtowns and business parks,” says Mayor Cecil Clarke, Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  “This commercial tax incentive is meant to attract new investment, support business growth and ultimately grow our economy.”

The tax incentive is a targeted initiative applying to prescribed areas in each of CBRM’s historic downtowns; Sydney, Glace Bay, North Sydney, New Waterford, Dominion, Sydney Mines, Whitney Pier, Louisbourg and three business parks; Sydport, Habourside and Northside.

“The Cape Breton Partnership is working with the Municipality to promote this incentive and explain how it works,” says Carla Arsenault, Cape Breton Partnership President & CEO. “Together we will be hosting roundtable discussions with real estate and development professionals in the coming months to provide the support they need to explore investing in our downtowns and business parks.”

Until recently, Nova Scotia municipalities were prohibited by legislation from providing tax incentives of any kind for commercial development. In 2016, the Nova Scotia government amended legislation to allow municipalities to phase in tax increases for new development in urban areas serviced by municipal water and sewer.  The CBRM took immediate action, recognizing this legislative change as an important tool to incent economic development downtown cores and business parks.  Following numerous public consultations in the drafting of the proposed by-law and associated zones, the Commercial Development District Improvement By-Law was approved by Council, receiving ministerial approval in December 2018. 

To learn more about the tax incentive or future business roundtable discussions, visit

Media contact:

Megan Tonet
Cape Breton Partnership

Jillian Moore
Cape Breton Regional Municipality