Premier Darrell Dexter plans to share the feedback he’s gathered from Nova Scotians on issues like health care, skills training, and federal changes to employment insurance when he meets with his fellow Canadian premiers in Ontario later this week.
“Over the last year I’ve worked with the other Premiers on issues that are important to Nova Scotians, including health care, jobs and the economy,” said Premier Dexter. “Our work continues at this meeting, where I’ll be focusing on support for the public health system, and ensuring workers have opportunities to participate in our growing economy while employers have the skilled workforce they need to grow their business.”
In preparation for the Council of the Federation meetings in Niagara-on-the-Lake July 25 and 26, Premier Dexter held consultations with business and industry leaders, educators, students and grassroots organizations from across the province to hear their thoughts on issues surrounding jobs and the economy. There was a particular focus on maximizing skills development opportunities for Nova Scotians.
Skills training has become particularly critical with the upcoming renegotiation of federal/provincial skills and labour market agreements, as well as the recent announcement of the federal Canada Job Grant. To date provinces have not been consulted on the design of this program and there are concerns that small to medium-sized businesses, like many businesses in Nova Scotia, will not be able to afford to participate.
Premier Dexter and his Atlantic colleagues will update premiers on their examination of federal changes to employment insurance. As in many provinces, Atlantic premiers are hearing from workers and employers that changes are harming the livelihood that contribute to the seasonal economy.
Atlantic premiers will also share their work on strengthening apprenticeship training to make sure Atlantic Canada has skilled workers to meet the needs of the regional economy.
“Nova Scotia is on the verge of unprecedented economic opportunities,” said Premier Dexter. “Working with other provinces to improve skills and jobs programs is all part of making sure people are ready for the jobs coming from major projects, like energy transmission, shipbuilding, and offshore energy.”
As Council of the Federation chair, Premier Dexter led a trade mission to China with business and post-secondary leaders to promote Nova Scotia’s post-secondary education system, the Atlantic gateway and innovation to growing Chinese markets.
The focus on increasing trade, growing the economy and creating jobs continued when Nova Scotia hosted the Premiers’ International Economic Forum, where former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney provided an update on the global and Canadian economic outlook. The premiers also discussed factors to ensure continued job growth and economic prosperity.
During the year, premiers also announced a generic drug joint-purchasing initiative that will save up to $100 million for provincial drug programs, freeing up funding for other programs and services.
During the upcoming meeting, Premier Dexter will share information on Nova Scotia’s comprehensive approach to address cyberbullying. This includes a push for new federal legislation, efforts to support and empower youth, and an anti-bullying leadership conference that will bring hundreds of youth, families, educators, community organizations, and experts together to share ideas, experience, and knowledge.
“I’ve been proud to serve as chair of the Council of the Federation over the past year, and I’m very pleased with our achievements and progress,” said Premier Dexter. “I look forward to continued collaboration with my fellow premiers in the best interests of Nova Scotians and all Canadians.”