The province introduced legislation today, May 8, to formalize the planned merger of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Dalhousie University. “The legislation will enable Dalhousie University to continue NSAC’s mission as a regional, national and international leader in agriculture research, education and innovation,” said John MacDonell, Minister of Agriculture. “Government and Dalhousie will be developing and promoting Nova Scotia’s agriculture and agri-food industries from the Bible Hill campus for many years to come.” The legislation gives authority for a formal merger agreement to be signed later in the spring, consistent with the terms of an agreement in principle announced on March 23. The target date for the merger has been extended from July 1 to Sept. 1 to allow sufficient time to finalize details of the formal agreement and engage the campus in transition preparations. NSAC faculty and staff will officially become employees of Dalhousie on Sept. 1. “The legislation is an important step in NSAC’s formal transition to Dalhousie” said Tom Traves, president of Dalhousie University. “As planned, on Sept. 1 students will enter the merged institution as Dalhousie students with continued access to the programs delivered by NSAC’s current faculty and staff.” The legislation makes NSAC faculty and staff employees of Dalhousie under the terms of their existing collective agreements. They will remain eligible for the province’s pension plan. Dalhousie will be given legal access to NSAC information, contracts and assets needed to ensure university operations continue uninterrupted. The formal agreement, enabled through the legislation, addresses details of the merger such as the transfer of land, buildings and equipment that support the ongoing delivery of academic programs and research. The agreement will be made public before the effective date of the merger. Nova Scotia Agricultural College has an operating budget of $33.5 million. Dalhousie will receive the government funding provided to NSAC in the past, primarily through the Department of Agriculture, which was $17.1 million last year. It will also receive $6.8 million in funding for its educational programs through the university memorandum of understanding with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, as well as revenues from other sources, such as tuition and fees. The Department of Agriculture will provide a one-time allocation of $7.5 million over three years for transition costs such as IT conversion and urgent facility renewal projects. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College, founded in 1905, will become Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture under the proposed name of the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, or Dal-AC. The institution employs about 300 faculty and staff and has enrolment of about 1,000 students.