The Rankin government’s first budget includes the single largest increase in income assistance in the province’s history and provides a solid foundation for a strong economy in which business can grow.
In addition, it makes investments in key sectors that will benefit Cape Breton, including the hospitality industry, long-term care, public health, mental health and the environment.
Finance and Treasury Board Minister Labi Kousoulis tabled the budget in the legislature Thursday, March 25.
“Our government strives to improve the lives of all Nova Scotians and defines progress through economic growth as well as well-being and quality of life,” said Mr. Kousoulis. “The province’s next chapter is being written right now — and it tells the story of a modern Nova Scotia on the path to balance.
Budget 2021-22, A Fair and Prosperous Future: Path to Balance, estimates a deficit of $584.9 million with revenue of $11.8 billion and expenses, after consolidation adjustments, of $12.4 billion.
Budget 2021-22 highlights that will benefit Cape Breton include:
- $35.2 million in additional funds to increase the standard household rate for adults who receive income assistance by $100 per month
- $24.2 million to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Nova Scotians, including at the Canada Games Complex in Sydney
- $1.5 million to support new dialysis units, including in Glace Bay
- a $914,000 increase to continue support for the 70 nursing seats added at Cape Breton University and Dalhousie University’s Yarmouth campus
- $12.3 million increase for new mental health programming, including single brief intervention sessions to provide rapid access to mental health supports, withdrawal management hubs to support Nova Scotians with substance-related harm and addictions, and e-mental health options to increase access
- a total of $1.02 billion for long-term care and home care this year
- $22.6 million increase to implement findings of the Expert Panel on Long Term Care
- $217.2 million for school capital construction projects, including Glace Bay Elementary, Northside Middle School, Breton Education Centre and Ferrisview Elementary; also, the purchase of P-3 schools — Harbourside Elementary and Sherwood Park Education Centre
- continued funding to build the NSCC Marconi Campus in Sydney
- a $723,000 increase for Unama’ki Pathways in Technology, Early College High School — an integrated partnership program for Mi’kmaq students with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math
- $26 million for new Green Fund climate change programs — a new climate change strategy for clean growth, a Nova Scotia regional climate representative at the Atlantic Data Hub and funding for climate change research and risk assessment
- $2 million to create six positions at the new Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives to address systemic racism, promote diversity and improve the economic, social, educational and health outcomes of all Nova Scotians
- $320,000 increase for the Accessibility Directorate, for a total of $2.2 million this year, to support the goal of an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030
- $252,000 to expand the Office of Immigration and Population Growth to attract and retain more newcomers, adding to our record high population
- reduce government regulatory burden on business by $10 million in 2021, in addition to the $50 million in savings achieved since 2017
- the budget contains the final forecast for 2020-21, which updates the deficit to $705.5 million, down from $778.8 million projected in December
- additional appropriations related to the 2020-21 forecast, totalling $95.8 million, account for unbudgeted spending by eight departments and offices and assistance to universities
- there was $617.3 million spent on COVID-19 related expenses in 2020-21
- For more budget highlights, visit: https://novascotia.ca/budget/
- To view the budget documents, visit: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/budget-documents-2021-2022