News Release Archive


Community Services Minister John MacEachern, today announced a
number of new directions that will enable the department to meet
increasing demands on its services while staying within its

"It's important to note that these initiatives do not represent a
budget reduction," said Mr. MacEachern. "It's equally important
to note that the department is still committed to the assurance
of basic necessities -- food, shelter, clothing -- to every Nova
Scotian, and to the protection of children and others who are at
risk or who are vulnerable."

"It is important to understand that, despite our attention to
balancing the government budget, we have never imposed any
general reduction in provincial assistance levels," said the

Program reviews are underway within the Department to identify
savings. Travel budgets have been reduced and $200,000 for
technology projects have been delayed.

More emphasis has been placed on better management of programs. A
Revenue Recovery Unit has been created with responsibility for
such programs as collection of overpayments. The department is
strengthening the eligibility reviews on new applicants and will
conduct more comprehensive reviews of existing clients. The
department is also cost-sharing 13 new positions with municipal
units to assist in managing the eligibility of new clients and
the early detection of either overpayment or fraud. Cooperation
with the Department of Justice will see an improvement in the
rate of maintenance enforcement.

Family Benefits recipients whose adult children receive
survivors' Canada Pension Plan benefits of $164 per month, will
have to count that as income in the calculation of their
provincial benefits. This will affect about 311 people.

The parent contribution for subsidized child care will be
increased by fifty cents per day. This will be increased in two
stages, 25 cents effective Nov. 1 and 25 cents on Jan. 1, 1997.
The number of subsidized spaces will be maintained.

The Department of Community Services provides approximately $35
million to almost 200 community agencies. For 1996-97, grants to
agencies and organizations from the department will be reduced by
three per cent from the amount included in the current estimates.
Transition houses for abused women will see an increase over last
year despite the three per cent reduction. By the end of 1996,
the department will conduct a review of these agencies to
determine the appropriate level of funding. The department has
also committed to work with the Children's Aid Society and other
agencies to find ways to increase the professional time available
to spend with clients.

"Over the next few months, we will be finalizing the social
assistance review with the intent of building a system that will
best meet the needs of the future," Mr. MacEachern said. "As
well, we need to work with the municipalities to develop a
structure that ensures our resources are focussed on assuring the
basic needs of life for Nova Scotian families."

-30 -

Contact: Donna McCready  902-424-4326

trp                    Oct. 04, 1996 - 10:25 a.m.