Budget 2018-19

Budget 2018–19 focuses on strengthening important services and supports so all Nova Scotians have opportunities to grow and succeed.

Government will continue to invest in and make progress on plans to improve healthcare and education (including early years), to create safer, more connected communities, and to strengthen the economy and connect more people to it. Our investments build on our strengths, open more doors for those who have faced barriers, and drive innovation.

Healthy people and communities

Since 2013, more than $24 million has been added to the budget for hip and knee surgeries, bringing the total number of surgeries performed in the last four years to 14,000.

  • $19.6 million this year, as part of a $39.6 million multi-year plan to recruit and retain more doctors and increase access to primary healthcare
  • $8 million to enhance and expand new collaborative care teams across the province
  • $8.8 million to do 350 more hip and knee surgeries, create a central booking process, and hire more surgeons
  • $5 million for Emergency Health Services (EHS) to meet the demands for ground ambulance services
  • $2.9 million more for mental health care, including more support for youth mental health
  • $1 million more for youth health centres
  • $1.2 million increase in the Take Home Cancer Therapies program to help pay for medications
  • $5.5 million more to help seniors stay in their homes longer, including more home care support and expanding the Caregiver Benefit program
  • Upgraded healthcare facilities in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Hants County to support the QEII redevelopment project


Investing in Early Years and Education

Last year, SchoolsPlus was offered in 273 schools through 31 hub sites, serving about 73% or 87,000 students. SchoolsPlus will be available to all students by 2019–20.

  • $17.6 million to add about 130 new pre-primary classes, as part of a plan to have it available across the province
  • $15.5 million (federal funding) to add up to 1,000 new regulated child care spaces and to expand the subsidy to make child care more accessible, affordable, and inclusive
  • $10 million increase to implement new recommendations of the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, for a total of $20 million
  • $15 million to begin implementing recommendations of the Commission on Inclusive Education
  • $1.6 million more to expand SchoolsPlus into 54 more schools, for a total of $9.8 million
  • $3.3 million increase to expand Reading Recovery to cover 96% of schools this year, with every school having programming in 2019–20
  • Opening four skilled trades centres this year at Amherst High School, Sir John A. Macdonald High School (Upper Tantallon), Richmond Academy (Louisdale), and Central Kings Rural High School (Cambridge)
  • Continue work on school construction, including in Sheet Harbour, Eastern Passage, Halifax, Spryfield, and Yarmouth


Safe and Connected Communities

New investments this year will increase the number of small options homes to 230 across the province.

  • $16.2 million increase in Disability Support program to help more people move out of institutions, to improve respite care, and to fund more complex client cases
  • $2.1 million to help create eight small options homes and two community options homes
  • $3 million to double the poverty reduction credit to $500
  • $4 million for initiatives under the Blueprint to End Poverty, as part of a four-year, $20-million commitment
  • $3.4 million to fully exempt child support payments from income assistance calculations
  • $2 million to help prevent domestic violence, the first year of a four-year commitment
  • $12.4 million more to futher improve public housing buildings
  • $3 million to offer 400 more rent supplements to low income Nova Scotians
  • $60 million more, for a total of $285 million in capital spending, to improve and maintain the province’s roads, highways, and bridges
  • $5 million increase to the highway maintenance budget to improve safety
  • Work on three significant twinning projects on 100-series highways, as part of an ongoing multi-year plan


Inclusive Economic Growth

Since 2007, the number of apprentices grew by 33% and apprentices from diverse groups have quadrupled in the past 10 years.

  • $1.7 million to expand Graduate to Opportunity to connect new graduates to employers, with added incentives for hiring from under-represented groups
  • $356,000 to help an additional 89 student interns through the Mitacs Accelerate program, for a total of 250 placements
  • $1.5 million more to increase work incentives for people receiving income assistance
  • $460,000 increase to the Office of Immigration to help international marketing and recruitment efforts
  • $500,000 more for incubators and accelerators, which support startup companies
  • $485,000 to create a market-readiness program for startup companies
  • $2.5 million more for the Innovation Rebate program to encourage private sector investment in capital projects
  • $3 million for the Centre for Ocean Ventures Entrepreneurship (COVE) project to foster innovation in the ocean sector, cost- shared with the federal government
  • $3 million for the new Building Tomorrow Fund to support innovation in agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture sectors
  • $5.8 million added to the Atlantic Fisheries Fund