Government outlined a progressive plan for a stronger Nova Scotia today, Oct. 13, during the opening of the Third Session of the 62nd General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant opened the session with the Speech from the Throne, which highlighted government progress, and outlined several new measures it will enact in the future.
“Our goal is to advance our progressive plan so we can work together with Nova Scotians to make our province stronger,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We are investing to help those who need it the most, working with businesses to create opportunities for youth, expanding programs that help seniors, and investing in education.”
Government increased its investment in child care by $6.6 million. This investment will be used for things such as increasing the parent subsidy.
“Investing in child care is a decision driven by the values of this government and the values of Nova Scotians,” said Premier McNeil. “It levels the playing field, supports Nova Scotian families, and it gives our children a fair start.”
The province increased supports for seniors so they can stay in their homes longer. An additional 450 seniors get access to the Seniors Citizens Assistance Program every year and government increased the amount it spends on home care by $59.1 million.
“Because of investments by government, more seniors can make needed repairs so they can stay in their family homes longer,” said Premier McNeil. “Our increased spending on home care and work with our partners helped us slash home-care wait lists across the province.”
The Youth Employment Strategy helped more than 2,000 young Nova Scotians last year and the Graduate to Opportunity program helps Nova Scotian small businesses hire recent graduates.
“Government is helping create thousands of opportunities for young Nova Scotians every year,” said Premier McNeil. “We are funding programs to help them get their first job. We are increasing the amount we invest in co-op education. And we are investing in skills and job training while modernizing our province’s apprenticeship system.”
Government plans to increase its education investment by $65 million.
“We are investing in education because that’s how we ensure our children have a stronger future,” said Premier McNeil. “Our approach to education means more teachers, smaller classes, and a greater focus on math and literacy skills.”
Premier McNeil said government is staying with its plan.
“We came to office and enacted our plan for a stronger Nova Scotia,” said Premier McNeil. “It provides improved supports to those who need them the most. It invests in creating opportunities for youth. It supports our seniors. And it invests in education.
“We are committed to that plan and every day we deliver on our commitments to Nova Scotians.”
New items in the Speech from the Throne include:
–- expanding the domestic violence court beyond the current pilot project in Sydney
–- additional investments to further reduce wait lists for affordable housing
–- expanding the Graduate to Opportunity program
–- launching a down payment assistance program for first-time home buyers
–- removing the General Education Diploma testing fee to help adult learners
–- enabling departments to purchase from small- and medium-sized businesses that need early stage customers
– creating Research Nova Scotia to better align research, and leverage funds from federal and private partners
–- increasing investments for specialists in classrooms such as speech language pathologists and school psychologists
–- expand school breakfast programs with community partners to ensure no children go to school hungry