Budget 2017-2018

Budget 2017–2018 focuses on providing opportunities for all Nova Scotians no matter where they live. Government is making strategic investments that fund creativity and fuel entrepreneurs to create a better economy, improve the health and well-being of our people, and reduce taxes for the middle class, small businesses, and those who need it most.

Our investments build on our strengths and traditions, encourage new ways of doing things, and help businesses play on the global stage. We can invest in these, and other strategic areas, because we stuck to our financial plan. We are now in a stronger position to invest in new opportunities for growth. A stronger economy will create even more opportunities for all Nova Scotians to benefit. We want all Nova Scotians to see themselves as part of the success of this great province.

Healthy people and communities

  • Reduce taxes for more than 500,000 people in the middle class and people who need it most by increasing the basic personal amount by up to $3,000 for taxable incomes up to $75,000, effective January 1, 2018. Because of this change more than 60,000 people will no longer pay any provincial tax at all, bringing the total to 283,000 people.

Health and wellness

  • $9.6 million to advance new collaborative care teams across the province, increasing access to family doctors, nurses, and other primary care providers for thousands more Nova Scotians
  • $6.4 million more to hire more specialists, perform additional orthopedic surgeries and offer pre-habilitation services, reducing surgical wait times and moving us closer to the national wait time benchmark
  • $2.4 million more to support recruitment and retention of doctors, including adding 10 new seats in the Dalhousie Family Medicine Residency Program a funding 10 spaces for a new practice-ready assessment program for doctors who were trained internationally and who want to practice in Nova Scotia
  • Work with the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine to develop a new clerkship program for third-year medical students for communities in Cape Breton. This will allow the school to be ready to accept and place four medical students in Cape Breton in September 2018.
  • $5.1 million more for home care, including increases for the self-managed care and the caregiver benefit programs
  • $800,000 to support families with children with autism through a new pilot program and regional centres
  • $846,000 to create a new take home therapies cancer program to help patients pay for high drug deductibles and co-payments, with an additional $2 million per year over the next three years
  • $1.4 million to act on the Opioid Use and Overdose Framework, including expanding addiction treatment options to eliminate the waitlist for help
  • $5 million to enhance mental health programs, including a new central intake system, enhancing crisis supports and $1.8 million to expand youth mental health services and outreach
  • $192,000 for more youth mental health supports in Cape Breton resulting from the report by Dr. Stan Kutcher, including hiring an additional two guidance counsellors and one social worker for the Cape Breton–Victoria Regional School Board
  • Advance plans for dialysis units in Bridgewater, Kentville, Digby, and Glace Bay, and expand services in Halifax and Dartmouth

Community support

  • $1.2 million increase to help foster parents meet the day-to-day needs of the children in their care
  • $440,000 more for the Maintenance Enforcement program to help more families get the money owed to them
  • $2 million to create and begin to implement a plan to address poverty in Nova Scotia
  • $3.9 million to support more people with disabilities to live independently in the community
  • $1.8 million to increase ACCESS-Ability grants for community buildings and open a new grant program for small businesses to become more accessible
  • $1.1 million to continue work to address sexual violence
  • Expand the domestic violence court to the Halifax region and make permanent the domestic violence court first piloted in Sydney
  • $3 million, in partnership with the federal government, for shelters and other transition housing that support victims of domestic violence
  • $238,000, for a total of $458,000, to support the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Government will also hire three community outreach specialists who have experience in dealing with trauma to provide cultural support to the families and community members involved
  • Increase income thresholds for the Heating Assistance Rebate Program to allow an additional 5,000 households across the province to be eligible to receive help with the cost of home heating bills

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Youth and jobs

  • $1.7 million increase to the Graduate to Opportunity program, to encourage more employers to hire new graduates
  • $1.7 million to fund a new program for employers to hire recent Masters and PhD graduates
  • $1.3 million to eliminate the tuition apprentices pay for technical training
  • $2 million to expand the Apprenticeship START Program, which supports small and medium-sized businesses in hiring apprentices from underrepresented groups or in rural areas
  • $379,000 to create 94 additional research internships through the Mitacs Accelerate program
  • $1.8 million to increase employment support services for youth at risk and youth in the care of the Minister
  • Expanded student assistance support with higher weekly loan allowances and extended loan forgiveness to students who complete programs in five years from four, which can eliminate a student’s entire provincial loan
  • Introduce a new First-time Homebuyer’s Assistance Program to encourage those with modest incomes purchase a home

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Education for a stronger Nova Scotia

  • $4.5 million to roll-out at least 52 pre-primary classes at 45 new sites with early learning programming for 4-year-olds
  • $2.1 million for coding and computer skills and to continue to expand Reading Recovery to 73 more schools
  • $1.8 million to increase community and mental health supports for students, through the SchoolsPlus program
  • $1.4 million for additional school psychologists and speech language pathologists
  • $10 million to respond to the recommendations of the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, including expanding provincewide class caps to grade 12
  • $5.1 million, in partnership with the federal government, to continue to support the wages and training of early childhood educators

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New ideas for a better economy

  • Reduce taxes for 1,800 small and medium-sized businesses by increasing the small business tax threshold to $500,000 from $350,000
  • Work to further reducing red tape for Nova Scotia businesses by a value of $25 million and develop a plan with business owners
  • $14.5 million for rural high-speed Internet
  • $1.3 million to increase opportunities for more export and trade, including a new export accelerator program
  • $4 million to support innovation initiatives, including a new rebate program and more support for business start-ups
  • $2.5 million in the first year, for a total investment of $38 million over seven years, in the Atlantic Fisheries Fund—the federal government and four Atlantic provinces will invest more than $400 million in innovation, infrastructure, and science in the fish and seafood sector
  • $500,000 of continued investment to support export market development for Nova Scotia’s world-class seafood in key markets
  • $500,000 more to double the Small Business Development program
  • $4 million to support innovation initiatives, including a new rebate program and more support for business start-ups through incubators and accelerators
  • $10.7 million for capital and operational funding for the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), which will house ocean business start-ups and small and medium enterprises, and encourage ocean technology innovation and commercialization
  • $175,000 to establish Research Nova Scotia and enable it to tap into the recently created $25 million Research Nova Scotia Trust
  • Continued investment in the third year of the five-year $13 million Vineyard and Wineries Investment program
  • $2.8 million to continue initiatives under the five-year Aquaculture Growth Strategy, with a total added investment of $12.2 million by 2019–2020
  • $250,000 to encourage innovation in our forestry industry, bringing the total forestry innovation budget to $1.2 million
  • $200,000 in new funding for the Mi’kmaq Forestry Initiative to enable the Mi’kmaq to better participate in the forestry sector
  • $2 million to revitalize the province’s key tourism sites and $500,000 to advance Nova Scotia’s tourism marketing in China
  • $12.8 million added to the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, for a total of $22.8 million this year
  • $600,000 to support additional settlement programming, employer liaison supports, and the new Atlantic Immigration Pilot, all designed to meet the needs of a growing immigration population in our communities and workplaces

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Infrastructure

  • Undertake planning, design and construction of three new twinned highways over the next seven years, plus construction of four new interchanges
  • Provide new and upgraded healthcare facilities in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Hants County to support the QEII redevelopment project
  • Repair and rebuild gravel roads — $10 million each year of new multi-year program
  • Build new schools in Spryfield, Tatamagouche, Bridgetown, Bible Hill, Sheet Harbour, Eastern Passage, Dartmouth, Halifax, and Yarmouth
  • $40 million for municipal clean water and waste-water projects
  • $38 million for affordable housing, including creating new affordable housing units and improving affordable housing options, in partnership with the federal government

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Support for an aging population

  • $395,000 to establish a social innovation lab focused on aging
  • $50,000 for a community Internet/digital literacy training project
  • $30,000 to promote entrepreneurship for older adults
  • $3.2 million to increase food budgets and enhance recreational programming for residents in long-term care facilities
  • $250,000 more for the Seniors Safety and Age-Friendly Community grant programs
  • $7.9 million to meet the needs of Nova Scotians age 65 and older enrolled in the Seniors Pharmacare Program
  • Increase access to affordable housing for older adults, and invest in home repair programs for low-income home owners

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