MIL-OSI Canada: Budget 2024-25 is Building Nova Scotia, Faster

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Source: Government of Canada regional news

Income tax fairness, a universal lunch program for children in public schools, more resources for healthcare and more support for Nova Scotians to meet their needs are key aspects of this year’s provincial budget.

Today, February 29, Finance and Treasury Board Minister Allan MacMaster tabled Budget 2024–25: Building Nova Scotia, Faster. The budget invests more to help Nova Scotians with the cost of living, to transform healthcare and to build a skilled workforce for more housing development and a healthy economy.

“While Nova Scotians greatly value healthcare, they are also looking for help with the cost of living. They are going to get it in the form of indexed tax brackets and other supports in this budget,” said Minister MacMaster. “We are listening to Nova Scotians and making important investments in ways that will make a difference.”

Beginning January 1, 2025, the Province will index personal income tax brackets, the basic personal amount and certain non-refundable tax credits to Nova Scotia’s inflation rate. It will be the largest tax break in the province’s history and will save Nova Scotians about $160 million in taxes annually by 2028.

There is $18.8 million to launch a new universal lunch program for students in public schools. The program will roll out over four years.

The budget also includes a total of $7.3 billion across the healthcare system, providing the resources to continue making the kind of changes that will have a lasting positive impact system-wide. It includes new support for Nova Scotians with diabetes, more support for cancer care and investments to modernize the healthcare system so it can meet the demands of a growing population.

With revenues of $15.8 billion and expenses of $16.5 billion, Budget 2024–25 estimates a deficit of $467.4 million after consolidation and adjustments.

Supporting Nova Scotians and Building Communities

  • beginning January 1, 2025, personal income tax brackets, the basic personal amount and certain non-refundable tax credits will be indexed to Nova Scotia’s inflation rate
  • $7.8 million for additional actions to reduce child poverty
  • $2.4 million to create 500 new rent supplements; total investment is $69.2 million, which helps 8,500 households
  • $5 million more for the Home Repair and Adaptation Program to help more low-income homeowners; total funding is now $23.8 million
  • $18.8 million this year to launch a new universal lunch program for students in the public school system
  • $28 million more for public schools to address growing enrolment, hire more teachers and address inflationary pressures
  • $42.5 million more this year in child-care funding to lower fees for families, create more spaces and enhance after school care, fully recoverable from the Canada-Nova Scotia Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement
  • $5.1 million more to increase rates and provide additional supports to foster children and their families, bringing the total annual funding to $16.7 million following the redesign initiative
  • $84.6 million for initiatives under the supportive housing plan and other programs to address homelessness
  • $102.3 million to make significant changes in the Disability Support Program and help people with disabilities to better meet their the needs; the action results from a remedy in a human rights case and includes $53.3 million to deliver the new Income Assistance Disability Supplement – an additional $300 per month to about 15,000 people on income assistance who are not in the Disability Support Program
  • $850,000 to raise the earned income exemption for income assistance clients
  • $7.1 million more in permanent funding for transition houses and women’s centres in response to Mass Casualty Commission recommendations; total annual funding is now $16.9 million.

Action for Healthcare

  • $360.7 million more for Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health to deliver their programs and services to a growing population
  • $184.3 million more to continue progress on the Action for Health plan, including helping patients move through the healthcare system more quickly and improving access to surgeries by continuing to shorten the surgical and diagnostic wait lists
  • $36.2 million more for initiatives that move the province toward universal mental health and addictions care for all Nova Scotians; this includes establishing an insured services program to support the delivery of publicly funded mental health and addictions care – a Canadian first
  • $41.5 million to improve cancer care treatment including new digital imaging technology and equipment that results in improved outcomes and increased survival
  • $48 million more for workforce strategies under the Action for Health plan
  • $7.2 million to support Nova Scotians with diabetes, including coverage of glucose monitors and expanding the insulin pump program
  • $9.6 million toward the plan to build 5,700 new and replacement long-term care spaces by 2032
  • $35.5 million to fund about 350 temporary and permanent long-term care spaces for people waiting to move from acute care to long-term care
  • $75.6 million to continue building One Person One Record to enable a digitally supported patient-centered health system
  • $579 million to advance new healthcare redevelopment projects and other projects to improve the healthcare system.

Building a Skilled Workforce for More Housing and a Healthy Economy

  • $46.4 million this year to make progress on the Province’s $100-million plan to grow the skilled trades workforce over the next three years
  • $27.2 million for the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades (MOST) tax refund program for workers under the age of 30 in high-demand occupations, including skilled trades and film and video occupations; starting in the 2023 tax year, MOST is expanding to include eligible nurses
  • $80 million to $100 million estimated annually to rebate the 10 per cent provincial HST on the new construction of purpose-built, multi-unit apartments
  • $35.5 million to build new public housing units and for more repairs and maintenance to new public housing
  • $15 million this year, as part of a $47.3-million three-year commitment, to launch a new Cellular for Nova Scotia Program to expand access to cellular service across the province
  • $36.7 million this year for various actions to advance Nova Scotia’s climate change plan for clean growth
  • $1.5 million to advance the Green Hydrogen Action Plan through public engagement and increase awareness about renewable energy opportunities.

Quick Facts:

  • Budget 2024–25 includes $1.6 billion for capital projects, sustaining the level of investment for a growing population
  • healthcare spending has increased 36 per cent over the past three years
  • the final forecast for 2023-24 reports a surplus of $40.3 million
  • additional appropriations related to the 2023–24 forecast, totalling $320.2 million, are required by 10 departments since the December forecast

Additional Resources:

A full list of investments is included in the Budget 2024–25 highlights document, available at: https://beta.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/documents/7-805/highlights-budget-2024-2025-en.pdf

More budget information is available at: https://novascotia.ca/budget

Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/


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