|Legislature||House of Assembly|
|Meeting place||Province House|
|Main body||Executive Council|
|Head of Government||Premier|
|Viceregal Representative||Lieutenant Governor|
The Government of Nova Scotia (French: Gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Écosse) refers to the provincial government of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s four Atlantic Provinces, and the second-smallest province in Canada. The capital of the province, Halifax, is Nova Scotia's largest city and its political capital. Halifax is where the Province House, Canada’s oldest legislative building, is located.
The Government of Nova Scotia consists of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Its powers and structure are set out in the Constitution Act, 1867. In modern Canadian use, the term "government" refers broadly to the cabinet of the day (formally the Executive Council of Nova Scotia), elected from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and the non-political staff within each provincial department or agency – that is, the civil service.
The Province of Nova Scotia is governed by a unicameral legislature, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, which operates in the Westminster system of government. In total 52 representatives are elected to serve the interests of the province. The political party that wins the largest number of seats in the legislature normally forms the government, and the party's leader becomes premier of the province (the head of the government). The current government of the province is led by the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, headed by Premier Stephen McNeil who was sworn into office in October of 2013.
The history of Canadian parliamentary institutions begins in Nova Scotia. In 1758, it was granted an elected assembly, becoming the first Canadian colony to enjoy a representative political institution. The representatives of Nova Scotia's House of Assembly were elected by a limited number of individuals who were required to own property and swear on certain oaths. This changed in 1836 when political reformer Joseph Howe started the movement for Responsible Government. Responsible Government is described as a government that is dependent on the support of an elected assembly instead of a monarch.Under the guidance of Joseph Howe, who lead the Reformers (Liberals), the first genuine political party appeared in the election of 1836.
The Premier, or First Minister, of Nova Scotia is the head of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia. Being the head of government in Nova Scotia, the premier exercises a substantial amount of power. Hon. James B. was the first Premier of Nova Scotia and led the government from 1848 to 1854.
The current Premier, Stephen McNeil, was sworn in as premier on October 22, 2013, Hon. Stephen McNeil became the 28th Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia since Confederation. Premier McNeil was elected Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party in 2007.
The functions of the Sovereign, Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, and known in Nova Scotia as the Queen in Right of Nova Scotia, are exercised by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General of Canada on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada, in consultation with the Premier of Nova Scotia. In the case of unconstitutional actions, the Lieutenant Governor has the power to dismiss a government by refusing a decision of the Executive Council. This power is rarely used as it would disrupt the affairs of the elected government.
The Executive branch is referred to as the government. The Executive Council, also called the Cabinet, makes the final decision for the Government of Nova Scotia. It is responsible for the operations and management of government as well as for making key policy decisions. The Executive Council is made up of Ministers, also called MLAs (Members in the Legislative Assembly). They are chosen by the Premier and appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.
The Nova Scotia government ended 2010-2011 with a surplus of $569 million and reduced its debt to $12.8 billion, down $217.8 million. The Nova Scotia government projects total revenues for 2018-2019 to be $10.810 billion. Expenses for fiscal year 2018-2019 are budgeted at $10.781 billion. The government budget for 2018–2019 projects a surplus of $29.4 million
In 2012 Nova Scotia signed a 10-year contract starting at $Cdn 8.4 million per year, with multinational information technology firm, IBM Canada to outsource the government's SAP information management system, which includes "payroll, procurement, human resources and other information from government departments, district health authorities, school boards, housing authorities and some municipal bodies. One hundred public sector jobs will be privatized in the first stage. Workers whose jobs were privatized would "earn 30 per cent less, with many fewer benefits" than in the public sector. The deal is worth approximately $100 million. There is a concern that IT outsourcing will spread throughout the government. Kevin Quigley, the director of Dalhousie University's School of Public Administration, argued that while outsourcing may cut costs but it also leads to a dependency on an external source and a loss of control over software, capacity-building and human resource development. IBM Canada will make Halifax a global delivery centre, with a potential for 500 employees by 2021.