WIPSI Revisited: New Totals, New Names

Remember WIPSI?

I know it sounds like a toy from the ’70s — a plastic lemon you’d tether to your ankle and skip over, maybe — but it’s actually Nova Scotia’s Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive program.

I wrote about it way back in June after stumbling upon a completed FOIPOP request about it. It’s basically a program through which government subsidizes worker training. Smaller companies are expected to contribute 50% toward any training costs over $10,000 while larger businesses are expected to provide 50% of all training costs.

The program has existed since 2010 and since 2014 has been “an initiative of the Canada-Nova Scotia Job Grant.”


Home schooled?

My interesting discovery in June was that some companies were both taking government subsidies for training and providing that training themselves.

In the case of Port Hawkesbury businessman Joe Shannon’s Shannex Inc, this was because the pre-2014 program covered “internal” training.

In the case of Carl Potter’s Municipal Enterprises Ltd (Dexter Construction), some of the training has been provided by his own Dexter Institute, which the government considers a qualified training provider.

The numbers I had in June were from 2014-2016, so I FOIPOPed the numbers from 2010-2014 and was told that I could have the names of the companies and the amount they’d received but to find out when they’d received it or what body provided the training would cost me $3,000.

I plan to appeal that fee (the moment I receive an official accounting of it) but in the meantime, I asked for the information I could have gratis and added it to my tables.

The new data included both “approvals” and “payments” of WIPSI funding. I asked for clarification on the difference between the two, and Scott Burbridge, the department of labor’s information and privacy access administrator, explained it this way:

The difference between “Approvals” and “Payments” is a reflection of the fact that an applicant/recipient of funds would have received ‘payments’ over two fiscal years.

So, while they might have been ‘approved’ for xxxx amount of funding, they would have received it incrementally over two or more fiscal years.

Breaking this down in more detail requires a search of an individual file, which is part of what we spoke of in terms of the increased resource requirements resulting in the fee estimate relative to your first application.

I’ve included the “approved” amounts in the tables. If and when I can actually break it down into the detail necessary to determine how much was actually paid, I will. Until then, here are the new totals for Shannex and Municipal Enterprises Ltd:


Shannex WIPSI Funding 2010-2016

CompanyApp #Training ProviderAmount ($)
5Shannex Inc.22419.5
6Dalhousie University46886
7Dalhousie University41696.23


That’s $588,700.11, in case you were unsure.


Municipal Enterprises Ltd WIPSI Funding 2010-2016

CompanyApp #Training ProviderAmount ($)
Municipal Enterprises Ltd1,2,4 & 5N/A227520
10Dexter Institute, Global Knowledge45597
11McGill Executive Institute6741
12Alogonquin College, SMU, Athabasca, Green Ed Service, MDC Int'l, Dexter Institute33954
13Dexter Institute, Dale Carnegie, HEDSA24187
14Dalhousie University6847.50
16NSRB, Asphalt Institute, TTCC, Dexter Institute, Global Knowledge7317.19
17Global Knowledge12589.38
18Dexter Institute24000.00
19Simplicity Designs12500.00


Again, that’s $439,915.57


This just in…

There were some other interesting recipients in the new information — John Risley’s Clearwater Seafood Limited Partnership, for instance. I have no idea if the funding was used for internal training (which would have been permitted, all the funding Clearwater received was pre-2014) or if Risley runs his own Clam Academy or School of Rock (Lobster). To find out, I will have to raise $3,000 or get a positive ruling from the Privacy Commissioner on my appeal, whichever comes first:


Clearwater Seafood Limited Partnership WIPSI Funding 2010-2014

CompanyApp #Amount ($)
Clearwater Seafoods Ltd Partnership132876.2


More elegantly formatted: $606,695.16

Cross reference

For this last table, I cross-referenced recipients of WIPSI funding (2010-2016) with Tim Bousquet’s list of Nova Scotia Business Inc’s write-offs for 2016 and I got five hits:

CompanyNSBI Write-OffWIPSI App #Training ProviderAmount
Tech Link10088824.001N/A16982
3SSI Consultants Mike Farrel & Steve Carruthers9450
River's Bend Wood Products136448.001N/A25700
Scotian Halibut980613.001N/A15780.9


That total is $78,562.90.

I’m sure there are other interesting tales hidden in the spreadsheet I received from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, which is why I’m going to share it with you, dear readers.

You’re welcome.


Note: This story has been updated to explain the difference between “approvals” and “payments” of WIPSI funding.