PC Party NL Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador

News

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity

April 24, 2012

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future

Links: [Budget 2012 site] [Speech] [Highlights] [Estimates] [Economy] [News Releases] [Past Budgets]

The Dunderdale Government today unveiled a strong economic and social plan that balances responsible fiscal management with priority investments. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future includes measures to strengthen health care, sustain economic activity, improve child care, support apprentices, foster a thriving and skilled labour force, and further strengthen public infrastructure.

The province has recorded cumulative surpluses of approximately $5.5 billion in six of the last seven years, with a corresponding reduction in net debt of $4.1 billion to March 31, 2012. The projected surplus for 2011-12 is $776.4 million. Consistent with the Blue Book commitment, the equivalent of a third of the surplus will be invested to fund public service pension plans.

“Budget 2012 provides priority investments to benefit our people and our province, supported by our vision of a Newfoundland and Labrador where the prosperity we have achieved, and will continue to achieve, is accessible for all,” said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Our government has proven to be responsible and strategic stewards of the public treasury. This budget reflects that responsibility with a reduced rate of spending growth, while providing important programs and services to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

This year’s budget reflects the end of offset payments under the Atlantic Accord, amounting to a reduction in revenue of $536.1 million in 2012-13. In addition, both the Terra Nova and White Rose projects are scheduled for maintenance shutdowns during the year, further constraining provincial revenue. As a result, the province is expecting a deficit of $258.4 million for 2012-13. A return to surplus is anticipated by 2014-15.

Over the past few months, departments were asked to review expenditures and bring forward proposed reductions that would not impact vital frontline services. As a result of that process, the province has incorporated anticipated savings of $38.8 million in the 2012-13 Estimates.

The savings come primarily from reducing administrative costs related to operating the various departments. Some of the areas affected include budgets for travel, professional services and purchased services. Also, approximately 45 temporary positions within the public sector will be eliminated.

The Provincial Government will continue to invest strategically in areas that matter most to residents, communities and businesses, balanced with the objective of fiscal sustainability.

These Budget 2012 strategic investments include:

  • An overall investment of approximately $3 billion to enhance access to health care in areas such as long-term care and community support, breast cancer screening, and shorter wait times;
  • Almost $900 million for infrastructure improvements such as major roads projects, replacement of aging ferries, continuation of construction of new schools and hospitals and repair, maintenance or redevelopment of existing buildings;
  • Almost $200 million is available for businesses to facilitate growth and development in all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • $150.8 million in the Poverty Reduction Strategy, an increase of approximately $11.3 million from last year;
  • An investment of $130 million over two years for new municipal infrastructure projects;
  • In addition to the $17.8 million provided to communities on an annual basis through the Municipal Operating Grants (MOG), the Provincial Government has maintained the additional funding level of $4.6 million that was provided last year. The province will continue to consult with municipalities on the development of a new formula that is equitable and sustainable;
  • $9 million in new funding to increase apprenticeship training, support post-secondary institutions and students, and enhance workforce development;
  • An additional $8.8 million for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services bringing the total new investment to almost $41.8 million in just three years;
  • $3.7 million to provide a 35 per cent reduction to seniors aged 65 and older on driver’s licence and vehicle registration fees, and other licences and fees for such things as hunting, fishing, cutting wood, and camping; and,
  • Continuing tax initiatives such as the Residential Energy Rebate, the supplementary Child Care Tax Credit, Personal Income Tax reductions and the Low Income Seniors’ Benefit that see residents save in excess of $500 million annually as compared to 2006.

“Our economy has never been stronger and investment is at record levels,” said the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board. “More people are working in Newfoundland and Labrador than at any other point in our history and net debt is at the lowest level since 1999. Having said that, we must remain vigilant and ensure our level of spending growth is affordable and sustainable to attain the goal of lowering net debt per capita to the all-province average within 10 years.”

While real GDP growth in 2012 is expected to be constrained by lower oil production, many other economic indicators are expected to remain robust reflecting the higher levels of investment on major projects and overall strength in the economy:

  • Employment growth of 1.8 per cent;
  • Unemployment rate decrease of 0.4 percentage points;
  • Personal income and disposable income growth each at 5.4 per cent;
  • Retails sales growth of 4.0 per cent;
  • Population increase of 0.5 per cent due mainly to positive net in-migration;
  • Capital investment increase of 30.1 per cent to $9.6 billion;
  • Mineral shipments to increase by 24 per cent to $ 5.7 billion; and,
  • An increase in total overnight tourist visits by about 1.0 per cent.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will work within a fiscal policy framework which focuses on long-term financial stability and supports sustainable investments in programs and services. The Provincial Government will also begin a structured core mandate review of its operations to identify opportunities to do things better and ensure the efficient and effective delivery of programs and services.

Coinciding with this review, departments have also been asked to hold the growth of the public service where possible through attrition.

“We will continue to be responsible fiscal stewards of the public purse,” said Premier Dunderdale. “Decisions we make today will contribute towards providing a stable and secure future for generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Striking a balance between fiscal prudence and strategic investments will continue to be a focus for this government.”

Link to the original news release

* * *

Budget 2012 Workforce Investments Support Growth and Prosperity

In a time of unprecedented development, when quality post-secondary education has never been more affordable and accessible, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is meeting a growing demand for labour with Budget 2012 investments.

Through partnerships with business and labour, and innovations in programs and services, Budget 2012 provides over $108 million in new and continuing funding to increase apprenticeship training, support post-secondary institutions and students, and enhance workforce development.

“Newfoundland and Labrador leads the country in affordable education and growing employment opportunities,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills. “With a labour demand forecast of up to 70,000 job openings within the next 10 years, Budget 2012 investments continue our ongoing efforts to ensure today’s opportunities are used to secure a future of growth and prosperity for our people, our communities and our province.”

These investments will help position the province to take full advantage of opportunities by maximizing employment for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and providing access to the skilled, innovative workforce employers need to compete in the global economy.

Supporting Apprentices and Women in Trades

Through Budget 2012, $4.1 million in new funding will support initiatives to advance apprenticeship opportunities and support women and other under-represented groups in skilled trades in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The initiatives are:

  • Introduction of a Journeyperson Mentorship Program to help increase the number of certified journeypersons available to provide required workplace training for apprentices;
  • Expansion of the Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy Program that helps provide work experience to apprentices, with a focus on first and second-year apprentices including those from under-represented groups such as women and persons with disabilities; and,
  • Registration of pre-apprentices in the Apprentice Tracking System to assist students completing entry-level skilled trades programs to secure employment and progress to journeyperson status.

Budget 2012 will also provide an investment of $200,000 to establish the Workforce Development Secretariat, which will focus on ensuring that labour market polices and programs are strategically aligned to develop and deploy a highly trained and skilled workforce that can meet evolving labour market demands.

These investments support ongoing efforts to assist apprentices. In addition, a further $10.8 million in federal funding is administered by the Provincial Government through the Labour Market Development Agreement and Labour Market Agreement to support training and programs such as the Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy, the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, and the Government Apprenticeship Hiring Program.

“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to advancing women in skilled trades and helping them access employment opportunities in the growing sectors of our economy,” said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. “This government is making investments to reduce barriers for women in the labour market by ensuring that they are trained and prepared to avail of all employment opportunities.”

The Provincial Government has invested significantly to address challenges associated with the skilled trades sector. Since the release of the Skills Task Force Report in 2007, approximately $95 million has been allocated in the areas of apprenticeship, science and technology, programming, training and infrastructure.

Supporting Post-Secondary Education

The Provincial Government is once again leading the way to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible. Budget 2012 provides approximately $66 million to reduce student debt through:

  • $44 million to Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic to continue the freeze on tuition for the 2012-13 academic year. Since 2005, $183 million has been invested to support the freeze on tuition rates;
  • $19 million for the continuation of up-front needs-based grants and interest-free student loans; and,
  • $3 million for continued debt reduction grants.

An investment of approximately $862,000 will assist students by increasing the study period exemption from $50 per week to $100 per week under the Student Financial Assistance Program. This will allow students to earn up to $100 per week from employment earnings during their period of study without impacting their student loan and grant entitlement.

To further support post-secondary education, Budget 2012 includes the following investments:

  • Over $2 million to increase base funding at the Marine Institute for new and expanded educational programming, research and student services for continued growth in the oceans sector; and,
  • $1.7 million for expansion of the Faculty of Engineering at Memorial for increased enrolment capacity, international recruitment and enhanced co-op placement services.

Investing in Infrastructure

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes the critical role of modern infrastructure at Memorial University to propel its economic strategy, especially related to ocean science and technology. The Provincial Government will work closely with Memorial to identify priorities and begin the planning process for future projects.

Through Budget 2012, the Provincial Government continues to make strategic investments to support post-secondary infrastructure, including:

  • $40.8 million for the construction of new residences at Memorial University’s St. John’s and Grenfell campuses for a total commitment of $88.3 million. This investment will create 500 residence beds in St. John’s and at least 200 residence beds at Grenfell Campus to provide additional, affordable on-campus student housing and help alleviate rental housing pressures in these cities; and,
  • An allocation of $11.2 million for renovations to existing residences for a total investment of $45.5 million. The renovations will help to modernize the residences, ensuring the continuation of quality and accessible on-campus student housing.

Other investments to support post-secondary infrastructure are:

  • $4.7 million for science laboratory improvements to maintain the quality of science laboratories at Memorial University for a total investment of $16.5 million, including new equipment, since 2009;
  • $10 million for general improvements and maintenance to Memorial University campuses. This is in addition to $19.4 million that has been invested since 2009; and,
  • $2.5 million to accelerate shop modernization at College of the North Atlantic campuses in addition to $9.5 million that has been invested since 2005.

Link to the original news release

* * *

A Prosperous Economy and Renewable Energy Future Fueled by Budget 2012

An innovative, growth-oriented private sector and economically-diversified communities are the objectives of the Provincial Government’s business and economic development agenda. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future allocates almost $200 million in investments that ensure a solid foundation and positive business environment are in place to facilitate growth and development in all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Balancing Newfoundland and Labrador’s social and economic development requirements, Budget 2012 includes strategic investments and tax incentives that support innovation and development of traditional and emerging industries such as aquaculture, ocean technology, and tourism, as well as film and television.

“This government is an invested partner in community and business development,” said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development. “Budget 2012 balances Newfoundland and Labrador’s fiscal requirements with the need to advance programs that further create conditions where an innovative and ambitious business community can lead to greater social and economic development.”

Newfoundland and Labrador’s wealth of natural resources has established the province as a global energy and resource-based powerhouse. It also enables the Provincial Government to invest in programs and services that lead to the sustained development of small and medium-sized businesses and contribute to the expansion of key community and regional infrastructure.

“Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural resources have led to unprecedented economic and business growth,” said Minister Hutchings. “As major industrial projects and development of our vast riches continue to unfold, they will support the Provincial Government’s ability to advance economic infrastructure and support business expansion that helps diversify the provincial economy.”

Investments Target Growth of Resource Industries

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Energy Plan supports a clean energy future based on the protection of the environment and responsible resource development in the best long-term interests of the people of the province.

To support energy developments, Nalcor Energy will continue to strategically invest to further develop the province’s oil and gas industry. The returns from this non-renewable sector are being used to build a renewable energy future in the hydroelectric sector.

Equity investments in revenue-generating offshore developments White Rose and Hibernia South contribute to a strong, sustainable economic base for Newfoundland and Labrador. Hebron, which is expected to begin construction this year, is anticipated to be an additional revenue source for the province. Investments will also include preliminary work and site preparation for the proposed development of Muskrat Falls, which will respond to growing provincial energy needs, and provide a reliable, low-cost source of electricity for the people of our province.

“Newfoundland and Labrador’s diverse natural resources are significant contributors to the economy, and their development holds tremendous potential and valuable opportunities for our province,” said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. “Investments to support our resource-based industries will encourage additional opportunities for expansion and diversification, while contributing to a strong and sustainable future for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

Budget 2012 targets sustained growth of key resource-based industries through strategic investments. This includes:

  • $3 million for geoscience mapping to help maintain strong investments in exploration potentially leading to new developments;
  • $2.5 million for the Growing Forward Program to support farmers and producers strengthen Newfoundland and Labrador’s agriculture and agrifoods industry; and,
  • $1.5 million to support Energy Plan initiatives including an Energy Innovation Roadmap to help identify key opportunities to stimulate and influence future energy innovation and strategic investment in the province.

Innovation

Innovation in traditional industries, as well as knowledge-based industries such as information and communications technology and ocean technology, is paramount in a competitive global marketplace.

Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity

To support private and public sector organizations increase their ability to innovate and strengthen local industries, the Provincial Government continues to execute the provincial innovation strategy – Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity.

Budget 2012 investments are:

  • $2 million for the Rural Broadband Initiative, which builds on the $27 million invested to date in improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s telecommunications environment. These investments have increased the availability of broadband access to more than 470 communities representing a 312 per cent increase from 2003; and,
  • $1.8 million for the continued implementation of the Innovation Enhancement, Innovate and Demonstrate, and Technology Utilization Programs.

Ocean Technology

Led by a new Assistant Deputy Minister and guided by Oceans of Opportunity, a five-year ocean technology strategy, the Provincial Government is accelerating the sector’s growth and leveraging Newfoundland and Labrador’s position as a centre of excellence for cold ocean and Arctic research.

Budget 2012 allocates $2.6 million for the implementation of the OceanTech Intelligence Program. This program provides assistance to not-for-profit organizations, industry associations and public sector educational institutions for projects that support the growth of Newfoundland and Labrador’s ocean technology sector.

Research and Development

Through Budget 2012, the Research & Development Corporation (RDC), a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s research and development performance, has $19 million available for investment. With $50 million committed to date, the RDC will continue to support activities that drive innovation, create wealth opportunities, and contribute to the growth of the provincial economy.

Business Development Programs

The Provincial Government has a comprehensive set of business development programs and services available for small and medium-sized businesses.

Budget 2012 includes the following investments:

  • Approximately $91 million will be invested in continuing tax credits and incentives for businesses. These include initiatives such as the Small Business Tax Credit, Manufacturing and Processing Profits Tax Credit, Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit, Film and Video Tax Credit, Economic Diversification and Growth Enterprise Program, Direct Equity Tax Credit, and the Resort Property Investment Tax Credit;
  • $15.5 million is allocated for the Business Attraction Fund, which enhances the province’s ability to compete for and attract new national and international business investment;
  • $15.1 million is available for investment through the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Fund. The SME Fund provides financial resources for start-up, modernization, or growth of a business venture in key industry sectors;
  • $4.8 million is allocated to the Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund. This is a key program in advancing regional and economic infrastructure that contributes to the diversification of local economies;
  • $2.1 million is available for investment under the Workplace Skills Enhancement Program, which is a program that helps address labour market conditions and provide support tools for local businesses as they explore avenues to maximize productivity, improve workforce training options, and attract new employees. It is funded through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Agreement and the Strategic Training and Transition Fund;
  • $1.5 million is available through the Aerospace and Defence Fund to help advance the aerospace and defence sector;
  • $1 million is allocated to the Business and Market Development Program, which provides matching contributions to small businesses, enabling them to acquire new skills, meet industry standards, and expand their marketing reach to other jurisdictions;
  • $1 million is allocated to administer the Air Access Strategy – Taking Flight: An Air Access Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador, a five-year approach aimed at enhancing air access to, from and within Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • $590,000 is allocated to support small and medium-sized businesses, industry organizations, and not-for-profit organizations travel to national and international markets for export development initiatives; and,
  • Through the Fisheries Loan Guarantee Program, the Provincial Government will continue to support fish harvesters ability to secure the necessary financing to purchase, construct or upgrade vessels, and acquire new equipment.

The Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development will also continue to partner with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs to implement the Business Connections Program. The two-year, $320,000 program is designed to assist women business owners expand their operations, as well as provide greater access to growth industries in Newfoundland and Labrador and supplier diversity opportunities in national and international markets.

Supporting the Fishing and Aquaculture Industries of the Future

Budget 2012 includes new and ongoing investments totalling over $30 million in support of the fishing and aquaculture industries.

“Total production in the fishing and aquaculture industries throughout Newfoundland and Labrador was valued at over $1 billion in 2011, representing growth of 7.3 per cent from the previous year,” said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Recognizing the significance of these industries to rural and coastal communities throughout the province, investing in infrastructure, science, research and innovation is increasingly important. These types of investments develop a foundation that will support the fishing and aquaculture industries of the future.”

Initiatives outlined in Budget 2012 include:

  • $6.5 million for the Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program. Approximately $24 million has been invested since the program’s introduction in 2006, leveraging approximately $400 million in total from the private sector;
  • $6.2 million for the construction of aquaculture wharves in the Coast of Bays region;
  • $4.2 million for the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures Program. As previously announced, under the program, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, together with the Government of Canada, will contribute over $9 million each towards a sustainability and conservation plan on behalf of lobster harvesters throughout the south and west coasts of the province;
  • $3.6 million, as previously announced, for the formation of a new partnership supporting this year’s seal hunt through inventory financing while markets rebound;
  • $2.3 million in support of worker adjustment measures;
  • $340,000 to continue the development of a bay management approach to enhancing biosecurity in the province’s aquaculture industry. The three-year investment will total $714,600;
  • $300,000 for the Coastal and Oceans Management Program towards the implementation of the Coastal and Ocean Management Strategy and Policy Framework for Newfoundland and Labrador; and,
  • $100,000 for sealing industry advocacy and development.

The Provincial Government is also making strategic investments aimed at enhancing science, research and innovation. These investments include:

  • $3.8 million for the next installment of a five-year commitment to fisheries science at the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research and the Fisheries and Marine Institute;
  • $2.2 million for the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program for fishing industry research and development, as part of a three-year, $6.6 million total investment;
  • $1 million to extend support for the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation; and,
  • A further $300,000 over the next two years to the Fisheries Innovation and Development and Sustainable Fisheries Resources and Oceans Policy, bringing the total annual investment in this program to $600,000.

Investment in the Film and Television Industry

Newfoundland and Labrador’s film and television industry is experiencing exciting growth and making a valuable contribution to the provincial economy – for every $1 the Provincial Government invests, the total Gross Domestic Product return is $2.86. With the production of season four of the Republic of Doyle, approximately 110 full time jobs will be created in the province with an estimated $10 million in salaries and wages.

As part of Budget 2012:

  • $3 million will be invested in season four of Republic of Doyle, the largest original television or film project produced in Newfoundland and Labrador. This investment will be allocated over two fiscal years. This equity investment will bring the Provincial Government’s total commitment to $10.5 million.

Other strategic investments in Budget 2012 that support economic development include:

  • $500,000 for infrastructure development at Marble Mountain ski resort, a premiere winter tourism attraction. The investment will ensure that Marble Mountain Development Corporation sustains employment and economic activity in the region and furthers its goals of becoming a multi-season operation; and,
  • Demand for the development of Crown lands, either for commercial, residential or industrial purposes, has increased. The Provincial Government will allocate $844,000 to ensure maximum economic benefit in rural areas from the development of Crown land and cottage lot development. This investment has the potential to generate close to $1.4 million in revenue.

Link to the original news release

* * *

Education Investments Focus on Early Learning, Infrastructure

Recognizing that the foundations for personal achievement and success are established in childhood, Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future advances the quality of the province’s early childhood learning and K-12 education systems with an investment of $866.9 million, an increase of $18.2 million over last year.

“This year’s budget focuses on continued implementation of our early childhood learning initiative, as well as new and ongoing investments in K-12 infrastructure and programming,” said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Education. “There has been phenomenal growth in educational investment over the past several years and, as a government, we are committed to managing our resources in a manner that ensures continued support for key initiatives.”

Early Childhood Learning

Budget 2012 includes almost $1.7 million for the second year of implementation of the province’s early childhood learning strategy, Learning from the Start, which is designed to enhance early learning opportunities for young children and their families. It is part of a three-year $4.8 million investment, announced last year, with an initial focus on the years from birth to age three.

“There is more brain development occurring between birth and age three than at any other time in our lives,” said Minister Jackman. “So when we talk about investment in early childhood learning, we must start at the beginning – at birth. The second year of investment in Learning From the Start includes additional funding for parent resources and more early literacy programming to ensure we are giving our children the best possible start in life, and preparing them for success when they enter school.”

K-12 Infrastructure Investments

The unprecedented investments the Provincial Government has made in K-12 infrastructure over the past eight years will continue, with Budget 2012 providing more than $115 million for new and ongoing infrastructure projects throughout the province.

“The recent population explosion, in regions just outside St. John’s for example, has created serious challenges in accommodating the growing number of students,” said Minister Jackman. “An influx of young families into these areas means there is more space required to accommodate students in many schools. While modular classrooms will address the short-term needs, we recognize that site selection and design work need to begin as soon as possible to address capacity issues in some areas.”

Budget 2012 provides $6.9 million in new funding for major infrastructure projects, including planning for potential new schools in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, Paradise, Conception Bay South and the Torbay-Flatrock-Pouch Cove-Bauline area. Funding will also be allocated to investigate the feasibility of a new school in Gander, while further support will be provided to allow for ongoing planning related to the reorganization of schools in Corner Brook.

Approximately $79 million has been allocated for ongoing major capital improvements, including:

  • $12.4 million to begin construction of the new St. Teresa’s School in St. John’s;
  • $12 million to begin building a new west end high school in St. John’s;
  • $10.5 million to continue construction of a new K-12 school in St. Anthony;
  • $9.6 million for the redevelopment of Roncalli Elementary in St. John’s;
  • $8.8 million to continue construction of the new Davis Elementary in Carbonear;
  • $8.5 million to begin redevelopment of the former Regina High in Corner Brook;
  • $6.1 million to continue redevelopment of Exploits Valley High in Grand Falls-Windsor;
  • $5.6 million to begin construction of an extension to Holy Spirit High in Conception Bay South; and,
  • $1 million to continue planning for a replacement for Virginia Park Elementary in St. John’s.

An additional $29.3 million has been earmarked for priority repairs and maintenance to school facilities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, including such projects as the replacement of windows, roofing and siding, and for ongoing electrical and plumbing upgrades.

Since 2004, over $567 million has been allocated for K-12 infrastructure in Newfoundland and Labrador, a level of investment unparalleled in the province’s history.

Support for Teachers

Budget 2012 provides $537.8 million, more than 62 per cent of the entire K-12 budget, for teachers’ salaries, substitute teachers, student assistants, professional development, and various services for teachers.

“Our commitment to teachers and to resourcing the education system is clear,” said Minister Jackman. “Relative to student population, there are more teachers in our education system than ever before in our history. Ongoing initiatives such as the K-9 class size cap, and the new, needs-based teacher allocation model, have resulted in Newfoundland and Labrador recording the best student-teacher ratio of any province in Canada.”

Budget 2012 allocates about $70 million to retain these enhanced services for the benefit of all students. Meanwhile, there is also $9 million earmarked for professional development for teachers in Budget 2012, up from $4.6 million in 2004 – a 96 per cent increase.

Ongoing Support for Families

Budget 2012 will see the continuation of the enhanced free textbook policy, which was extended to Grades 9-12 in 2007 in recognition of the financial burden it placed on families. Almost $19 million has been invested in this initiative since 2007. Similarly, the Provincial Government will continue to provide school boards with funding to ensure the continued elimination of standard school fees, an initiative which has seen more than $37 million invested since its inception in 2006.

“Providing a quality education that is accessible to everyone is, and always will be, a priority for this government,” said Minister Jackman. “These investments, and more, speak to our commitment to meeting the needs of students and their families now, and far into the future.”

Link to the original news release

* * *

Investing in the Safe and Healthy Development of Children and Youth for a Secure Future

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is making investments for a secure future with a focus on the best interests of the province’s children and youth. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future will invest a total of $200.5 million to enhance vital program areas, such as child care and protective intervention, throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Provincial Government remains committed to ensuring the overall safety and well-being of our children and youth,” said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services. “The protection and healthy development of the children and youth of our province are paramount to the services and programs we provide. Through the investments of Budget 2012, our government will make significant enhancements to both our child care system and to our in-care protection system, all of which will greatly benefit the children and youth of the province.”

Investing in Child Care

Beginning in 2012-13, the Provincial Government will increase funding to child care, doubling its investment by 2021-22 to approximately $56 million per year under a new 10-Year Child Care Strategy. This strategy will provide a planned, systematic approach for the growth and enhancement of child care services across the province.

“Recently, stakeholder consultations were held throughout the province to further refine ideas for improving accessibility, affordability and the quality of child care for families with young children in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Minister Johnson. “Through listening to the concerns and suggestions of parents, our government’s commitment holds strong as we move forward with the implementation of this 10-Year Child Care Strategy that will address the shortage of child care spaces and qualified early childhood educators, as well as the growing cost of child care to parents, licensees and the Provincial Government.”

Key highlights of the 10-Year Child Care Strategy will include:

  • increasing the number of regulated child care spaces throughout the province based on a local needs assessment;
  • providing operating grants to child care centre operators in areas requiring child care spaces on the condition that fees are maintained at a specific level; and,
  • implementing a number of initiatives to address the recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators into the child care system, such as enhancements to education supplements and improvements to the process for attainment of a Level 1 certificate through post-secondary education, workplace training and prior learning recognition.

Furthermore, the Provincial Government will continue to maintain components of the larger 10-year strategy, such as the supplementary Child Care Tax Credit and the Family Child Care Initiative, that were introduced last year.

Enhancing Foster Care

Through Budget 2012, the Provincial Government will also begin the implementation of a new long-term continuum of care strategy to enhance the care options for children and youth in need of out-of-home placement. To support this strategy, $4.1 million will be invested this year, increasing to $14.3 million next year.

“The primary focus of these enhancements is a new four-level care system, which is linked to the skill levels required and has accompanying monetary increases for foster parents that recognize their commitment,” said Minister Johnson. “The Provincial Government is also streamlining government processes to ensure children and youth in need of out-of-home placement receive the best options available and the highest quality of service from their social workers and foster parents.”

Core components of a continuum of care strategy will include:

  • increasing funding for kinship arrangements and foster homes;
  • enhancing supports and training for foster parents; and,
  • eliminating the need for the current alternative living arrangements by implementing a framework for staffed residential facilities for children and youth who need this level of support.

Additional key investments in Budget 2012 for child, youth and family services are:

Human Resources

  • Approximately $2.4 million will be provided to hire an additional 29 new frontline positions, including social worker supervisors, social workers, social work assistants and clerk typists. These positions are an integral part of transforming child, youth and family service delivery and will position the department to meet its commitment for reduced caseloads and provision of better services to clients.

Program Growth

  • Building on last year’s investment of an additional $2.2 million into delivery of departmental programs, this year a total of $3 million will be invested recognizing the importance of programs and services provided directly to children and their families.

Remuneration for Social Work Placements

  • To assist in the long-term recruitment of new social workers in the province, a total of $475,300 will be provided to compensate approximately 70 social work student placements each year.

Home Support Worker Salary Increase

  • $600,000 to provide a $0.25 per hour wage increase effective July 1, 2012 for workers within Child, Youth and Family Services who provide respite and behavioural aid. This funding is part of a broader initiative to provide increases to home support workers within the Department of Health and Community Services and is in recognition of the important functions these positions perform.

Regulated Family Child Care Initiative

  • As announced on April 18, Budget 2012 will include $2 million for the second year of the two-year pilot Family Child Care Initiative. This initiative will continue to provide much needed regulated child care spaces throughout the province with an emphasis on spaces for infants up to 24 months.

Link to the original news release

* * *

Responsible Social Investments in Budget 2012 Include $150 Million for Poverty Reduction

Moving forward to provide strong social programming, including initiatives to prevent, reduce and alleviate poverty, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is making significant investments through Budget 2012 to help this province’s most vulnerable – including $150.8 million under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, an increase of approximately $11.3 million from last year.

“Current and future generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need to be afforded every opportunity to be successful and contribute to the province’s prosperity – Budget 2012 is helping us achieve this,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills. “Through a long-term integrated approach and strategic investments under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, as well as initiatives that enhance social programming, we continue to lead the way in creating real change in the lives of vulnerable people throughout our province.”

Providing a Secure Social Safety Net

    Through the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Budget 2012 includes new investments to enhance benefits and services within the Income Support Program including:

  • Elimination of the requirement for Income Support recipients to apply for Canada Pension Plan benefits at age 60, which means an estimated $500,000 in income for seniors; and,
  • $195,000 to expand the Earned Income Supplement project, assisting working single parents on Income Support achieve increased financial independence.

The Provincial Government will also provide an additional $5.1 million to continue to index Income Support rates. This will help ensure increases in cost-of-living do not impact individuals and families who receive benefits.

Building Social Supports Through the Justice System

Protecting the most vulnerable in society is an essential part of the justice system in Newfoundland and Labrador. Key Budget 2012 investments, totalling $1.3 million, are:

  • $526,000 for the continuation of the Specialized Family Violence Court;
  • $282,200 for programs and services in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu based on the success of partnership projects with the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation; and,
  • $379,600 to support the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

In addition, the Provincial Government continues to invest in key areas of the justice system, including: $150,000 annually for the next four years to enhance the safety and security of adult probation offices throughout the province; $7 million since 2009 for the revitalization of the Newfoundland and Labrador corrections system; and, an additional $4.3 million since 2006 for Legal Aid for programming and positions.

Enhancing Housing and Community Supports

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC), under the Provincial Government’s long-term Social Housing Plan, Secure Foundations, will continue a sustained investment of $29.8 million to improve housing options, advance educational opportunities and create healthier communities for households with low income. NLHC’s initiatives supported through the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Budget 2012 are:

  • $1 million in additional funding to expand the Rent Supplement Program, bringing the total investment to $8 million in Budget 2012;
  • $1.8 million for the Rent-Geared-to-Income Adjustment Program, which helps to keep more disposable income in the hands of lower-income tenants;
  • $892,000 in eight NL Housing Community Centres and 11 neighbourhood centres;
  • $1 million investment in the Provincial Homelessness Fund; and,
  • $4 million investment for the Residential Energy Efficiency Program, which provides an average household energy saving of 35 per cent and cash saving of nearly $800 per year.

NLHC’s programming promotes housing stability for vulnerable people and is designed to help individuals stay in their homes or obtain affordable housing. Investments include:

  • $8 million to the Provincial Home Repair Program. This program provides approximately 2,500 low income homeowners with home upgrades; and,
  • $5.4 million investment in the Affordable Housing Initiative to enable approximately 245 additional affordable housing units to be constructed. The total three-year investment for this program is $16.2 million.

Preventing Violence

The Provincial Government understands the importance of providing strong social supports in communities throughout the province. Budget 2012 will allocate:

  • $2.1 million to violence prevention, including $820,000 this year to 10 Regional Co-ordinating Committees Against Violence;
  • A five per cent increase, through the Poverty Reduction Strategy, for eight Status of Women Centres in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will each receive $127,625 annually, up from $55,000 in 2004;
  • $100,000 annual funding to the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • $100,000 continued support to the Newfoundland and Labrador Aboriginal Women’s Network;
  • $105,000 annual funding to the Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • $110,000 annual funding to the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre;
  • $452,700 in continued support to the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women; and,
  • $125,000 through the Poverty Reduction Strategy for continued support of the Inuit Women Capacity Building Project.

Working Towards a Better Educated Population

The Provincial Government recognizes that in today’s global community, education is vital for success. However, there is a wide range of complex issues that can impede success in the school system. Budget 2012 investments support innovative ways to help students continue their education, and succeed in life. Initiatives include:

  • $532,600 to continue support of the Positive Actions for Student Success (PASS) program – a two-year program designed to help disengaged and at-risk youth remain in school. This initiative currently provides support for over 250 students across the province; and,
  • $675,000 for the Education Incentive Program delivered by NLHC. This program was introduced in 2007 to address low school attendance rates by providing a $50 monthly incentive for families with children in Grades 7-12.

Improving Access to Key Health Services

The Provincial Government remains committed to providing enhanced diagnostic and therapeutic dental services to individuals in vulnerable circumstances, including seniors and those in receipt of income support. Budget 2012 includes an investment of $6.7 million to support the Adult Dental Program, which was implemented in January 2012.

The Provincial Government also remains focused on investing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program, which supports the work of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. As noted under Health and Community Services, Budget 2012 allocates $155 million annually for the provision of the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program.

Ensuring Inclusion and Accessibility for All

On April 19, the Provincial Government launched the Strategy for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities – Access. Inclusion. Equality., another responsible social investment to support prosperity through improved inclusion and accessibility, helping ensure all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have equal opportunities and choices.

The strategy provides a blueprint for moving forward in removing and preventing barriers, engaging public, private and volunteer sectors and changing how society views disability. Various initiatives that complement the strategy are supported in Budget 2012 through an investment of $6.5 million.

“Budget 2012 investments will help to secure the social safety net throughout this province, with strategic investments that address poverty and an array of other social issues that impact society’s most vulnerable,” said Minister Burke. “This government will continue to provide supports to these areas so all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can have equal opportunity to participate in a time of unprecedented economic growth in this province.”

Link to the original news release

* * *

Building Prosperity: Infrastructure Investments Promote Sustainable Success

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future includes almost $900 million for infrastructure improvements that are central to the daily lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and key to continued prosperity.

This investment will complete major roads projects, replace aging ferries, restore and improve some of the most recognizable and historically significant structures in the province, and modernize equipment.

The investment will also generate 6,600 person years of employment to stimulate the economy and create new opportunities for people pursuing careers in skilled trades. Budget 2012 continues an ongoing series of multi-year infrastructure investments now valued at almost $5 billion that will enhance the economic and social development of the province for years to come.

“Approximately $1 billion has been invested in infrastructure by this government in each of the last several years to enhance transportation, health, education, culture, and virtually every other aspect of life in the province,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. “Our investment this year is focused on strategic work that builds on our successes to date to encourage economic growth and provide a strong foundation for future development.”

Infrastructure investments through Budget 2012 involve multiple Provincial Government departments and agencies as detailed in other budget announcements.

Transportation and Works

Budget 2012 provides a total of approximately $310 million for various infrastructure initiatives through the Department of Transportation and Works, which include:

Roads

Provincial road and bridge infrastructure will be enhanced through an investment of $165.1 million, which will leverage an additional $60 million in federal support for a total investment of $225.1 million through Budget 2012.

This investment includes:

  • $65.8 million to call the last two tenders to complete Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway, which will mark a major milestone in the development of one of the largest road projects in the province’s history;
  • $60.1 million in continued investment in the Provincial Roads Improvement Program;
  • $13.2 million for the first year of a three-year project to replace the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge in Placentia;
  • $19.7 million for continued construction work on the Team Gushue Highway extension;
  • $10.5 million for continued construction work on the Conception Bay South By-Pass Road;
  • $3.5 million to complete the Kenmount Road Overpass at Topsail Road; and,
  • Various road and bridge projects on the Trans Canada Highway.

Marine

Budget 2012 will bring significant investment to enhance marine services in the province, including:

  • $10.4 million to advance the Provincial Government’s vessel replacement schedule. This includes:
    • funding to complete the design of the six small ferries for the south coast of Newfoundland and the south coast of Labrador;
    • funding to complete the design of a replacement vessel for the MV Captain Earl Winsor, which currently services Fogo Island and Change Islands; and,
    • $5 million to begin the process of constructing the replacement for the MV Captain Earl Winsor;
  • An investment of $15.9 million for vessel refits; and,
  • An investment of $4 million for maintenance and upgrades to provincial ferry terminals and wharves.

Air Services

  • Provincial Government Air Services will be enhanced by a Budget 2012 investment of $3.5 million to begin the planning and development of improved aircraft storage options in Gander.

Buildings

A total of $40.2 million will be invested in public buildings in 2012. This investment includes funding to renovate the province’s iconic 50-year-old Confederation Building, enhance accessibility at public buildings, make alterations and improvements to existing Provincial Government facilities, and develop plans for future infrastructure projects.

Other investments include:

  • $8 million for the purchase of heavy vehicles;
  • $1.4 million for construction of new salt storage sheds; and,
  • $1.5 million for land acquisitions for various construction projects.

Municipal Affairs

The Provincial Government will continue its important and strategic investment into municipal infrastructure with an investment of $130 million over two years for new municipal infrastructure projects. In doing so, cost-share ratios established in 2008 will be maintained to benefit municipalities. For communities with populations below 3,000, the Provincial Government will continue to invest 90 per cent of the cost of new infrastructure with the municipality providing 10 per cent; 80 per cent of the cost will continue to be covered for populations between 3,000 and 7,000; and 70 per cent of the cost will continue to be covered for municipalities with populations over 7,000. When calculating its investment, the Provincial Government includes the provincial portion of the HST and pays its applicable share of that cost.

Health and Community Services

Health care infrastructure continues to be a priority in Budget 2012, which provides a total investment of $230.5 million in capital infrastructure, including $158.9 million for continuing construction and redevelopment, $45 million for new equipment, and $26.6 million for repairs and renovations.

Education

The unprecedented investments the Provincial Government has made in K-12 infrastructure will continue. Budget 2012 will provide over $115 million for new and ongoing infrastructure projects throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Since 2004, over $567 million has been allocated for K-12 infrastructure in this province.

Tourism, Culture and Recreation

The Provincial Government is continuing to invest in the restoration of the Colonial Building, with an allocation of $9.5 million in Budget 2012. This initiative is also being supported by the Government of Canada through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund of the Building Canada Plan.

Advanced Education and Skills

The Provincial Government has committed $40.8 million through Budget 2012 to support the construction of new residences for Memorial University. Budget 2012 also commits $11.2 million for renovations to existing residences. In addition, the Provincial Government has allocated $2.5 million to accelerate shop modernization at College of the North Atlantic campuses.

Justice

Budget 2012 allocates $4.1 million for the new contract for policing services by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This investment includes $3.9 million in each of the next five years representing the province’s 70 per cent share relative to the new accommodations program. This program will see significant renovations or replacement of detachments and living quarters throughout the province.

Environment and Conservation

As part of the revitalization effort for Salmonier Nature Park, funding of $2.8 million is allocated in Budget 2012 for a new visitor centre and associated infrastructure at the nature park. An additional $805,000 has also been allocated for energy efficiency initiatives at the park through the NL Green Fund.

Fisheries and Aquaculture

To further support biosecurity in the aquaculture industry, the Provincial Government has allocated over $6.2 million in Budget 2012 for the construction of aquaculture wharves in the Coast of Bays region. These new wharves will enhance biosecurity and fish health performance by providing clean inflow wharves for aquaculture use. Biosecurity is vital to maintaining health and to reducing the risk of acquiring disease at an aquaculture farm.

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation will contribute $2.7 million through Budget 2012 towards the federal-provincial Affordable Housing Initiative. This investment is part of the Provincial Government’s overall three-year, $8.1 million commitment, which will generate a total $16.2 million in federal-provincial funding and create 254 new affordable housing units province-wide.

Link to the original news release

* * *

Responsible Investments Enhance Health Care Services for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians

Enhancing access and providing quality health care services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a priority of the Provincial Government. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future, includes nearly $3 billion to improve health care for all residents.

“Health care is a priority for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “Our investments reflect that priority clearly, especially considering the fact that our government allocates more per capita on the provision of health care than any other jurisdiction in Canada. Our Budget 2012 investments demonstrate our continued commitment to health care throughout Newfoundland and Labrador while balancing our responsibility to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the health care system.”

Budget 2012 investments focus on priority areas of dialysis, addressing drug costs, enhancing breast cancer screening, increasing access and improving infrastructure.

Dialysis Enhancements

Through a total investment of $1.9 million in Budget 2012 improvements will be made to further enhance dialysis services throughout the province. Over the last nine years the Provincial Government has invested approximately $189 million to enhance dialysis services. Budget 2012 will expand dialysis services in Harbour Breton, St. Anthony, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Carbonear and Corner Brook.

Investments in dialysis are:

  • $1 million to further expand dialysis services in Harbour Breton;
  • $327,000 to enhance dialysis services at the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony and at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay;
  • $319,000 to enhance dialysis services at the Carbonear General Hospital; and,
  • $248,100 to expand dialysis services at the Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook.

“We have heard from our residents and we have identified dialysis enhancements as a priority for this government,” said Minister Sullivan. “In 2003, the province had a capacity for 340 patients on hemodialysis at seven sites and we can now accommodate 531 patients at 14 sites throughout the province. Our Budget 2012 investments demonstrate that our focus remains strong when it comes to providing quality health care.”

Improvements to Breast Cancer Screening

Furthering its Blue Book commitment, the Provincial Government is expanding the Breast Cancer Screening Program in existing sites to include women aged 40-49 who are referred by their primary health care provider to the program. A total investment of $508,600 will support this expansion, including the addition of a new mammography unit for James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander.

“The Provincial Government recognizes that cancer continues to touch the lives of everyone in our province,” said Minister Sullivan. “Guided by the Cancer Control Policy Framework, the Provincial Government has committed to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer through improvements in screening, diagnosis and treatment. Currently women aged 40-49 must be referred to hospital-based mammography. With the expansion of the program, these women will now have an opportunity to be included in the provincial Breast Cancer Screening Program after discussion and referral from their physician. We have listened to the advice of the Cancer Control Advisory Committee, which consists of medical professionals, community leaders, and cancer survivors, and are moving forward with this important change in policy.”

Addressing the Cost of Prescription Drugs

The Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program will be enhanced through Budget 2012 initiatives with $4.4 million for the coverage of new drug therapies. The Provincial Government will invest $155 million in the provincial prescription drug program in 2012-13.

As a result of the recently reached agreement with the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government will invest approximately $37 million over the next four years to support pharmacies, including those operating in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, $29 million will be provided over four years for enhancements to the 65Plus Plan which will protect seniors from paying more for their drug costs. These investments will be realized through savings from the introduction of the Provincial Government’s new generic drug pricing model.

Recognizing and Supporting Our Seniors

The Provincial Government recognizes the lifelong contribution of seniors to their communities and the province. It is important that seniors are supported in their ability to remain independent and that efforts are made to improve their financial well-being and overall quality of life.

With that in mind, Budget 2012 allocates $3.7 million to provide seniors aged 65 and over, a 35 per cent reduction on driver’s licence and vehicle registration fees, and other licences and fees for such things as hunting, fishing, cutting wood and camping. This complements the goals of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework which aims to recognize older persons, celebrate diversity, support communities, encourage health and financial well-being, and support employment, education and research.

Fee reductions for seniors will include:

  • Vehicle registration fees reduced from $126 to $82 for online processing and $140 to $91 for in-person processing;
  • Driver’s licence fee reduced from $100 to $65;
  • Big Game licences (moose and caribou) reduced from $40 to $26;
  • Black Bear licences reduced from $27 to $17.55;
  • Salmon Angling licences reduced from $17 to $11.05; and,
  • Serviced Campsite Monthly Fees reduced from $565 to $367.25. There will also be a reduction in nightly and weekly camping fees, as well as in vehicle entry fees at provincial parks.

The Provincial Government, through the implementation of the Adult Protection Act, will continue to protect vulnerable adults, including seniors. Budget 2012 includes $285,500 to implement the act, which allows for the protection of adults who are incapable of caring properly for themselves; refuse or are unable to make decisions for care on their own behalf; and, who are not currently receiving proper care and attention.

Improved Access to Health Care Services

The Provincial Government continues to enhance access to health care services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador through Budget 2012 investments.

Budget 2012 provides $5 million to reduce wait times for joint replacement surgeries and in emergency departments. Two provincial wait time strategies were announced on February 22 which include $1.4 million for the first year of the joint replacement strategy and $3.6 million for year one of the emergency department strategy.

Additional enhancements include:

  • $275,000 to establish a new road ambulance base in Cartwright to provide road ambulance coverage on the Labrador south coast highway between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay; and,
  • $116,400 to fund a new pharmacist position at the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City.

Health Care Infrastructure Improvements

Budget 2012 provides a total investment of $230.5 million in infrastructure, including $158.9 million for continuing construction and redevelopment, $45 million for new equipment, and $26.6 million for repairs and renovations.

Infrastructure projects include:

  • $25.7 million for the continued construction of a new regional hospital in Labrador West;
  • $16 million for the continued construction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Genetics Centre/Faculty of Medicine expansion in St. John’s;
  • $15.5 million for the continued development of the youth treatment centres in Grand Falls-Windsor and Paradise and the adult treatment centre in Harbour Grace;
  • $8.5 million for the continued redevelopment of the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor;
  • $4.5 million for the continuation of the PET Scanner project at Eastern Health;
  • $2.2 million for the redevelopment of the emergency department at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s;
  • $1.3 million for the planning and construction of the Marystown North Clinic;
  • $1.3 million for the continued planning and construction of the Glovertown Health Clinic;
  • $1 million to continue planning for a new acute care facility in Corner Brook;
  • $1 million for the continued construction of the Flowers Cove Health Centre; and,
  • $750,000 for the redevelopment of the Forensic Unit at the Waterford Hospital in St. John’s.

Investments in long-term care infrastructure projects are outlined in the news release Budget 2012 Investments Focus on Long-Term Care and Community Support.

“We know that receiving quality health care efficiently is important to Newfoundlanders and Larbadorians,” said Minister Sullivan. “It is also our priority and we continue to invest significantly to enhance access to health care services throughout our province. Budget 2012 further demonstrates that commitment while sustaining our health care system.”

Link to the original news release

* * *

Budget 2012 Investments Focus on Long-Term Care and Community Support

Through Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future, approximately $101 million is being invested to strengthen the long-term care and community support system to further meet the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians now and into the future.

“Our government has committed to providing essential long-term care and community support services as close to an individual’s home as possible, especially in rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “We recognize that we have to make strategic investments to meet the challenges of an aging population to help deliver important and valuable services to those who require long-term care. The investments we are making in Budget 2012 will build on the ongoing development of the long-term care strategy which will be announced within the coming weeks.”

Home Support Program Enhancements

An investment of $18.3 million in Budget 2012 will respond to the significant growth in the Home Support Program over the past number of years and further build upon the ongoing improvements recently made to the program. Investments include:

  • $14 million increase for the Home Support Program to address anticipated program growth in 2012-13 as more seniors are accessing and applying to the program;
  • $3.8 million to increase the current home support hourly subsidy rate from $12.00 to $12.25, increasing the differential above minimum wage to $2.25, and increasing the financial ceilings for clients to ensure that the maximum hours of care are maintained. In the last five years this rate has increased approximately 50 per cent. This is in addition to funding provided to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services which includes the same increase, specifically for respite and behavioural aide service workers; and,
  • $508,900 for 12 additional positions in the regional health authorities to improve the quality of services delivered to home support and other community support services clients.

“The demand for home support continues to grow as our population ages and individuals wish to remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible,” said Minister Sullivan. “We are investing to meet the demand so there is greater opportunity to benefit from home support. These investments will help individuals avail of home support services, improve access and quality of care as well as provide a greater financial incentive to people to enter this valued and important area of work.”

Continued Investments in Long-Term Care

Determining the level of care that an individual requires and ensuring care providers have a deep understanding of an individual’s care needs and the support they require is important. Through Budget 2012, $1.9 million is provided to implement the assessment tools to help determine the best level of care for an individual as well as to provide access to personal care homes.

Investments include:

  • $1.3 million to continue the implementation of the interRAI assessment instrument, which is used to help determine care plans for individuals in long-term care and community support services programs. This funding will be used for nine new positions to provide technical support related to the assessment instrument, clinical coordinators, and software installation and integration; and,
  • $612,000 to add 100 new portable subsidies to the Personal Care Home Program to increase an individual’s ability to choose their preferred personal care home. Currently the Provincial Government provides 1,711 portable subsidies, an increase of 681 since 2007.

Long-Term Care Infrastructure

Improvements to new and existing long-term care facilities continue to be made throughout the province. As part of the overall health care infrastructure investment, Budget 2012 allocates $81.1 million for the ongoing development of five important long-term care infrastructure projects, which is part of the Provincial Government’s overall $230.5 million investment in health care infrastructure.

The projects are:

  • $45 million for the continued construction of the St. John’s Long-term Care Facility;
  • $23 million for the continued construction of the Carbonear Long-term Care Facility;
  • $8.5 million for continued redevelopment of the North Haven Manor in Lewisporte;
  • $3 million for the long-term care facility in Corner Brook; and,
  • $1.6 million for construction of a Dementia Care Bungalow in Bonavista.

“Our government has recognized the need to both upgrade and build new long-term care infrastructure that is modern, includes new technology and equipment and is suited to the needs of people and new technologies and equipment,” said Minister Sullivan. “Over the past several years we have opened new long-term care facilities in Clarenville, Corner Brook and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Our investments are being felt across our province and we are ensuring that these facilities will provide long-term care services to many generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

Link to the original news release

* * *

Labradorians Continue to Benefit from Northern Strategic Plan Investments

Budget 2012 is building upon the achievements of the Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador, with over $158 million being invested, strengthening the social and economic future for all Labradorians. The Provincial Government has remained focused on the needs of Labrador since 2004 and by the end of the current fiscal year, total spending through the plan and other Labrador-related initiatives will have exceeded $3.5 billion.

“The Northern Strategic Plan is considered a living document evolving with the changing needs of Labradorians,” said the Honourable Nick McGrath, Minister for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs. “Labrador is poised for massive economic growth and expanding infrastructure with an explosive mining sector and the development of the Lower Churchill, beginning with Muskrat Falls. We will continue to make strategic investments to support the region and the exciting opportunities ahead.”

Through the Labrador Affairs Office, Budget 2012 provides the following investments:

  • $350,000 for the Labrador Transportation Grooming Subsidy to provide a quality winter road system to Labrador communities that otherwise would not have any means of road transportation to other communities in the winter months;
  • $230,000 for the continuation of the Air Foodlift Subsidy to help provide consumers in remote Labrador communities with nutritious, perishable foods at a reasonable cost;
  • $180,000 to establish an office with a new Executive Director position in Labrador West. The Executive Director will help identify how demands for government programs and services are changing as a result of current and future mineral exploration and development in the region and recommend strategies to address these changing demands; and,
  • $100,000 operating grant for the Combined Councils of Labrador which enables Labrador’s isolated communities, through a unified voice, to address challenges in Labrador.

The Northern Strategic Plan is a dynamic, multi-faceted, cross-departmental strategy. The following investments, including those featured in other Budget 2012 announcements, support the Northern Strategic Plan through expanding infrastructure, improving the delivery of programs and services, and encouraging overall economic prosperity.

Transportation and Works

As announced on March 30, Budget 2012 will see a Provincial Government investment of $65.8 million to call the last two tenders to complete Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway from Labrador West to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Final tenders have been issued.

“More than $250 million has been spent on Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway alone by this government, as we work towards completing one of the largest and most significant infrastructure projects in the province’s history,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. “The investment this year through Budget 2012 will complete Phase I, and will advance us closer to our goal of providing a fully paved and widened Trans Labrador Highway to serve the social and economic needs of the region.”

Health and Community Services

The Provincial Government continues to invest in the health of residents and communities in Labrador. In Budget 2012, $26.4 million is allocated to enhance vital services and infrastructure. This includes $25.7 million to continue the construction of the Labrador West Health Centre, which upon completion will represent an overall total investment of approximately $90 million.

Budget 2012 also includes the following investments through the Department of Health and Community Services:

  • $276,600 to enhance dialysis services at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay;
  • $275,000 to establish a new road ambulance base in Cartwright to provide road ambulance coverage to the Labrador south coast highway between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay; and,
  • $116,400 to fund a pharmacist position at the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City.

Environment and Conservation

Funding of just over $2 million in Budget 2012 will allow for continued remediation efforts at the former US military site in Hopedale. This investment represents year two of a three-year, $6.3 million commitment. The Department of Environment and Conservation continues to work closely with Hopedale residents, the Inuit Community Government of Hopedale, and the Nunatsiavut Government throughout the process.

With a commitment of $522,000, the Provincial Government will continue its management efforts of Labrador caribou, as part of a three-year, $1.9 million initiative. This funding will allow for continued data collection and monitoring of the George River caribou herd, in an effort to understand and help mitigate the recent decline of the herd.

“Understanding the factors that affect any wildlife population is extremely important as we develop strategies to appropriately manage their numbers,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Environment and Conservation. “In the case of the George River caribou herd, we have implemented a number of conservation measures to help strengthen the population, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of these animals.”

Tourism, Culture and Recreation

The Provincial Government continues to invest $750,000 annually in the Labrador Travel Subsidy Program to enable approximately 1,500 athletes, teams, and individuals in Labrador to travel to the island portion of the province each year to participate in athletic competitions and training camps.

In addition, Budget 2012 allocates $500,000 to support the 2013 Labrador Winter Games.

“The Labrador Winter Games support the goals and strategic directions of the recreation and sport strategy, Active, Healthy Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. “The games help to promote sport, recreation and community development as well as encourage young people to participate in sport.”

Child, Youth and Family Services

Through the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will purchase staff housing for the Labrador region at a cost of $560,000 for the coastal communities of Hopedale and Nain. Providing staff housing will help further strengthen the recruitment and retention of staff in this region.

Justice

The Provincial Government understands the unique cultural needs of Aboriginal people living in Labrador. Building on the success of projects such as the Innu Healing Path, $282,200 is being invested for specialized services and programming in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu.

Advanced Education and Skills

Budget 2012 allocates $216,200 in continuing support for Memorial University’s Native Liaison Office, which provides Aboriginal students with information on services, course selection, registration, tutoring and accommodations. The office also serves as a centre for social and recreational activities for students in the St. John’s area.

Women’s Policy Office

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is continuing to support the Inuit Women Capacity Building Project by providing funding of $125,000. This project will help increase Inuit women’s capacity to achieve sustainable livelihoods and ensure that they have access to information on programs and services to enhance their quality of life.

Link to the original news release

Close
Close