Business opportunities are growing across different sectors

PEI Economy and Business Opportunities

Prince Edward Island boasts a vibrant and sustainable economy that combines new and traditional sectors. New sectors that offer opportunities for business growth include advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, bioscience, information technology, and aerospace. Traditional industries in PEI are tourism, fishing, and agriculture.

Traditional Sectors

Agriculture is a major sector and, in fact, the largest industry on Prince Edward Island, with more than 1,350 farms of up to 3,000 acres. The main crops are oilseeds and grains, fruits, and vegetables. Commercially grown vegetables include potatoes, onions, rutabaga, carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage. Farms are also engaged in growing blueberries, grapes, apples, strawberries, and cranberries. Thousands of professionals find employment in this sector, including agricultural engineers, veterinary technicians, agronomists, and agriculture technicians. The fisheries sector is also well-developed and growing, with some 60 processing plants currently in operation. The main catch includes ground fish such as halibut, winter flounder, and cod and estuarial and pelagic fish such as herring, mackerel, and Bluefin tuna. Major aquatic species also include crustaceans and mollusks. Tourism is also a traditional sector and visitors flock to Prince Edward Island for its beaches, family fun and adventure experiences, and sports and outdoor activities. There is a host of activities for tourists to explore and enjoy, from paddling, cycling, and hiking to kayaking, deep sea fishing, seal watching, and snorkeling.

Construction is also a major sector and a driving force for PEI’s economy. Companies offer services for pre-engineered metal, residential, commercial, and industrial construction projects. Skilled employees are in high demand, including safety professionals, concrete specialists, heavy equipment operators, and electrical power line workers. Construction companies are also looking to hire renovation managers, environmental technologists, architects, and site and project managers. Experienced carpenters are also in demand, and the average wage is at $20 - $24 per hour. The average hourly wage of apprentice carpenters is $15 - $20.

New Sectors

Bioscience is a growing sector on Prince Edward Island, with companies mainly specializing in advanced treatments, human and animal health products, cosmetics, nutrition, and personal care products. Bioscience companies have combined annual revenues of more than $150 million. Information technology is also a new sector that attracts international businesses because of the province’s skilled workforce. Companies work across different sectors such as mobile and wireless applications, defense, aerospace, finance, healthcare. Aerospace is a sector that experienced steady growth in 2017 due to the ease of access to cities such New York, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. Situated in Summerside, Slemon Park offers overhaul, repair, and maintenance services to military, charter, corporate, and individual customers. This is the only aerospace park that has a training facility for organizations and government bodies such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada Border Services Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The aerospace and defense sectors offer employment opportunities for skilled professionals such as quality technicians, laboratory technicians, metal fabricators, and welders. The sector also employs overhaul and repair technicians and software, electrical, and marine systems engineers. Major companies that are members of the Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association include Tronosjet Maintenance Inc., 3 Points Aviation, Action Aero.

Business Opportunities

High-growth small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) operate in sectors such as warehousing and transportation, manufacturing, technical and professional services, and construction. There are more SMEs in Prince Edward Island and Alberta than in other provinces. The main types of financing that start-ups use are equity, government funding, leasing, trade credit, and debt financing. Leasing has the highest approval rate, followed by government assistance and trade credit.

Business opportunities are growing across different sectors, and one of the main reasons is that start-ups and existing companies are offered financial and planning assistance. Funding is available in the form of micro-loans and operating, intermediate, term, and long-term loans for new construction, expansion, purchase of business, debt consolidation - Funding is offered under different programs such as the Small Business Assistance Program, Information Technology Planning Assistance Program. The Ignition Fund offers funding to entrepreneurs that need start-up capital for development, market research, refinement, product development, and incorporation. Applicants are assessed based on criteria such as potential business growth, market value, service or product.

How it works

Exempt Items

Tax Credit

Prince Edward Island (PEI) Harmonized Sales Tax

HST or harmonized sales tax was adopted in 2013 in PEI to replace the goods and services and provincial sales tax that were previously collected. Five out of ten Canadian provinces have implemented HST, including Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick. It stands at 15 percent in all provinces except for Ontario where it is 13 percent. Goods and services tax at 5 percent applies in Alberta, British Columbia (plus PST), Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and other provinces and territories.

How It Works

In general, this is a move to implement value-added tax in place of the cascading tax system. HST is a combination of two components – 5 percent federal and 10 percent provincial tax. In 2016 HST increased from 14 to 15 percent, and transitional rules applied to items such as real property, intangible personal property, licenses and leases, services, and tangible personal property. The transitional rules were similar to the rules enforced in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick.

The structure and tax base of GST remain unchanged except for some changes that were made, including rebates for non-profit organizations, public institutions, and charities and rebates for housing. The remittance rate for supplies made in the province varies by provider and is 9.6 percent for hospital authorities, 8.2 or 9.9 percent for school authorities, public colleges, and universities, and 10.2 percent for municipalities. The rate is at 8 percent for designated charities, NPOs, and specified facility operators.

Exempt Items, Services, and Providers

Medical Services

Some services and supplies are zero tax-rated, for example, heart monitoring devices, blood-glucose monitors, hearing aids, dentures, and prescription eyeglasses. Medical services are also exempt, including midwife, psychological, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services. Other medical services that are HST exempt include audiology, osteopathic, podiatric, physiotherapy, and optometric services. Acupuncture services are usually taxed except when provided by a physiotherapist, chiropractor, dentist, registered nurse, etc. Services offered by healthcare providers are exempt, including treatment and diagnostic and consultative services. This does not apply to reconstructive surgeries and other cosmetic treatments. The same goes for diagnostic and consultative services offered by dentists – they are exempt except for cosmetic treatments.

Transit and Garbage Collection

Municipal transit services are also zero tax-rated, including city tour services that are offered by a transit authority. Garbage collection is also exempt, and this applies to special collections and recyclables when provided by a commission, board, municipality, or the government.

School Meals and Camps

Meals offered in cafeterias in secondary and elementary schools are not taxed. The only exception is items offered through vending machines such as snacks, potato chips, canned and bottled carbonated drinks, and candies. Private events that are organized in cafeterias and require catering are also excluded. Overnight camps are subject to HST when overnight supervision, athletic and recreational activities, and instruction are provided. This does not apply to camps for underprivileged and disabled persons.

Printed Books

Specified persons are offered a rebate on religious books in print, audio recordings, and printed books. The list of specified persons included entities such as public colleges, universities, school authorities, and municipalities. Other exempt entities include bodies that run public lending libraries, for example, non-for-profits, public institutions, and charitable organizations. The same applies to non-for-profit entities and charities that work to promote literacy. Other exemptions include certain personal care items, clothing, and fuel oil for heating.

Tax Credit

This is a quarterly payment that targets households and individuals with modest and low incomes. The goal is to set off a portion of the taxes which they pay.