News Release Archive

The funding challenges in social services present the province
with an opportunity to begin restructuring welfare program and
services, Community Services Minister Jim Smith said today.

Speaking at the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities conference in
Yarmouth, Dr. Smith said budgets for social assistance are being
"stretched as much as possible to fit the various needs before
us. We are not asking you to do anything that we ourselves are
not doing."

The last federal budget dealt "a double blow for all of us
delivering social services in Canada," the minister said. The
federal government's freeze on Canada Assistance Plan
expenditures at 1994-95 levels ended its open-ended cost sharing
in social programs, leaving the provinces and municipalities to
pick up increased costs on their own.

As well, with the introduction of the Canada Health and Social
Transfer to replace CAP next year, the federal government is
changing significantly the way in which it participates in those

The shortfall in federal transfers to Nova Scotia under the CHST
is expected to be about $330 million over three years. For the
Department of Community Services that could translate to a $30
million reduction in its budget next year alone, Dr. Smith said.

Noting that some municipalities reported difficulties in meeting
their social services budgets this year, the minister that in
"all but a few cases", municipal and provincial officials had
been able to identify ways to meet the challenges without having
to make drastic cuts in social assistance payments.

Provincial and municipal staff will continue to meet regularly on
social assistance expenditures and work on regional government
initiatives in Cumberland, Queens, Cape Breton and Metro "as we
investigate ways in which we can better meet our clients' needs,"
he said. "For the first time in 30 years, we have an opportunity
to restructure our social assistance systems. We need to be
flexible and open to new approaches that will open doors to our
clients and help to reduce their dependence on social


Contact: Rusty McClelland

trp                        Oct. 13, 1995