Poverty Reduction Strategy Released

Community Services/Labour and Workforce Development (To Jan. 7)

April 3, 2009 10:44 AM

NOTE TO EDITORS: A summary of investments follows this release.

A social media version of this release with audio, video and photographs will be available later today at www.gov.ns.ca/news/smr/20090403001COMS-LWD.asp .

Training low-skilled workers, increasing affordable housing and improving benefits for low-income families are the focus of Nova Scotia's $155 million Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Community Services Minister Chris d'Entremont and Labour and Workforce Development Minister Mark Parent introduced the strategy today, April 3, in Kentville. It responds to a series of recommendations from the Poverty Reduction Working Group, which was mandated through legislation supported by all three parties.

"The poverty reduction strategy is a framework for breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the standard of living for low-income Nova Scotians," said Mr. d'Entremont.

"This is a long-term plan for a Nova Scotia where resources are used wisely and government and community action is co-ordinated to effectively help those in need," said Mr. Parent.

The strategy was developed with the core goals of improving opportunities for rewarding work, improving support for people in need, putting a focus on children, and collaboration and co-ordination.

About $88 million will be invested in training workers with less than a Grade 12 education level. This will improve opportunities for people to get a job, or in some cases, get a better job. Much of this funding will come from the Canada-Nova Scotia Labour Market Development Agreement and the Labour Market Agreement. The funding will be used to provide skills training and upgrading, and to help with job search strategies.

Major initiatives to improve supports for those in need include the redesign of the Employment Support and Income Assistance program, and investing $59 million to increase access to quality, affordable housing and the development of a provincial housing strategy.

As part of the focus on children, Nova Scotia's Child Benefit and Low Income Pharmacare for Children program will be made available to more families. New investments will also make more child care subsidies available and all subsidies will be made portable.

Mr. d'Entremont and Mr. Parent extended their thanks to the members of the Poverty Reduction Working Group.

Accountability for the strategy will be jointly shared by the departments of Community Services, Economic and Rural Development, Education, Finance, Health, Health Promotion and Protection, Justice, Labour and Workforce Development, and the Treasury and Policy Board.

Benchmark measures are being identified for each of the core goals and progress will be reported to the public.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy can be found online at www.gov.ns.ca .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Training low-skilled workers, increasing affordable housing

and improving benefits for low-income families are the focus of

Nova Scotia's $155 million Poverty Reduction Strategy.

     The strategy was unveiled today (April 3rd) in Kentville by

Community Services Minister Chris d'Entremont and Labour and

Workforce Development Minister Mark Parent.

     The core goals of the strategy are improving opportunities

for rewarding work, improving supports for people in need,

putting a focus on children and collaboration and co-ordination.

     Mr. Parent says the strategy provides a co-ordinated, long-

term approach to reducing poverty and effectively helping those

in need.

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Media Contacts: Kevin Finch
                Labour and Workforce Development
                902-424-0847
                E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca

                Kristen Tynes
                Community Services
                902-424-4038
                Cell: 902-449-5765
                E-mail: tyneskja@gov.ns.ca

Summary of new investments:

Enable and Reward Work
-- $88 million for training
-- $400,000 to stop treating tax refunds as income for income assistance clients

Improve Supports for Those in Need
-- $59 million for affordable/public housing
-- $2 million to increase income assistance rate by CPI

Focus on Children
-- $3.5 million for subsidized day care
-- $2.5 million to expand Nova Scotia's Child Benefit and low-income pharmacare