Understanding Nova Scotia’s Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce



Nova Scotia, with its vibrant communities and diverse economic landscape, is home to several Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce. These organizations play pivotal roles in promoting local businesses, fostering economic growth, and advocating for the interests of their respective regions. In this overview, we will explore the key differences between a Board of Trade and a Chamber of Commerce.

Boards of Trade vs. Chambers of Commerce: A Distinctive Contrast

While Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce may appear quite similar in their missions and functions, they have distinct origins and purposes:

Boards of Trade: These organizations typically trace their roots to the 18th and 19th centuries when they were established primarily to represent the interests of local businesses and promote trade within a specific geographic area. Boards of Trade often have a strong focus on economic development, trade advocacy, and networking opportunities for businesses. They tend to be more regionally oriented.

Chambers of Commerce: Chambers of Commerce, on the other hand, have a broader scope and a more international origin. They emerged in Europe in the late 16th century and have since evolved into global networks of businesses and trade organizations. Chambers of Commerce are often involved in international trade promotion, business education, and lobbying efforts.

Digby Board of Trade: Local Advocacy and Support

The Digby Board of Trade, also known as the Digby & Area Board of Trade, is a long time player in the Digby region of Nova Scotia. Their actual registered name is The Digby Board of Trade.  Founded in January 1901 it is 122 years old. This organization has a rich history and was a driving force in the early 20th century.

Interestingly the Boards of Trade Act was created in 1901 and the Digby Board of Trade was one of the fist Boards of Trade to register.

Their registered area with the Boards of Trade act is the Town of Digby.,

The Digby Board of Trade’s stated intent is to serve as a platform for local businesses to connect, collaborate, and grow. Its stated functions include:

Advocacy: To actively advocate for policies and initiatives that support local businesses and drive economic growth within the Digby region. This includes engaging with government bodies on issues affecting businesses.

Networking: To provide ample networking opportunities for its members, allowing businesses to establish valuable connections and partnerships.

Business Support: To offer resources, advice, and support to help businesses navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

Community Engagement: To be involved in the community economic interests

Tourism Promotion: To promote Tourism to the town of Digby.

Restructuring: They are currently looking to elect a complete new Board of Directors. We wish them well and hope to corroborate with them going forward as our objectives are compatible with the West Nova Chamber of Commerce.

West Nova Chamber of Commerce: Regional Collaboration and Advocacy

The West Nova Chamber of Commerce is a significant player in the broader region of West Nova Scotia. As a Chamber of Commerce, its focus extends beyond local boundaries to address the collective interests of businesses in the region.

The West Nova Chamber of Commerce is new as of July 1, 2023. It is a Federal Corporation under the Not for Profits Act.

The West Nova Chamber of Commerce offers a range of services and initiatives, including:

Advocacy: It advocates for policies and initiatives that benefit businesses across the West Nova region, creating a unified voice for the business community.

Networking: The chamber provides opportunities for businesses to connect and collaborate not only within their local communities but also across the broader region. They provide monthly networking events.

Business Development: It offers resources, training, and support to help businesses thrive and expand their operations.

Economic Growth: The chamber actively contributes to the economic growth and prosperity of the West Nova region, recognizing the interconnectedness of businesses and communities.

Collaboration and Synergy

In Nova Scotia, Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce often collaborate closely, recognizing that their combined efforts can create a more robust and supportive business environment. Together, they work towards the common goal of enhancing the economic well-being of their respective regions and the province as a whole.

As Nova Scotia continues to evolve, these organizations remain essential pillars of support for businesses and communities, providing a platform for growth, advocacy, and collaboration. Whether you’re a local entrepreneur or a global business looking to establish a presence in Nova Scotia, the Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce are valuable allies in your journey towards success.

About Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia, like those in other parts of Canada, have a long history that dates back to the 18th century. These organizations played a vital role in the economic and social development of Nova Scotia.

Here’s a brief overview of the history of Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia:

Early Formation: The concept of Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia can be traced back to the late 18th century when merchants and businesspeople in cities like Halifax began to come together to address common economic concerns. These early associations were primarily focused on trade and commerce.

Halifax Board of Trade: One of the earliest and most prominent Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia was the Halifax Board of Trade, founded in 1750. It aimed to promote economic development in the region and address issues such as trade regulations and infrastructure development.

Expansion: As Nova Scotia’s economy grew and diversified, more towns and cities formed their own Boards of Trade. These organizations often served as a platform for local businesses to network, promote their interests, and discuss matters related to trade and commerce.

Advocacy: Over the years, Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia played an increasingly important role in advocating for infrastructure development, transportation improvements, and other initiatives that would benefit the local business community and the province as a whole.

The Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce: In 1893, the various local Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia came together to form the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce, which served as an umbrella organization for the entire province. This organization played a key role in representing the collective interests of Nova Scotia’s business community.

Evolution: In the 20th and 21st centuries, the focus of Boards of Trade in Nova Scotia has evolved to address a wide range of economic and business-related issues, including regional economic development, education, and advocacy on behalf of local businesses.

Modern Era: Today, there are several local Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce in Nova Scotia, representing businesses of all sizes and industries across the province. They continue to advocate for economic growth, investment, and the well-being of the business community in Nova Scotia.

These organizations have played a significant role in the economic development of Nova Scotia and continue to be important stakeholders in the province’s business landscape, advocating for the needs of local businesses and contributing to the region’s economic growth.