Budget 2016-17 Aims to Build on Continued Progress
March 10, 2016
The Nunatsiavut Government’s 2016-17 balanced budget builds on the accomplishments of the past, while focusing on ways to ensure a brighter future for Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
“A decade ago Labrador Inuit set course on a new journey – one filled with enthusiasm, dreams and hope,” said Acting Finance, Human
Resources and Information Technology Minister Darryl Shiwak in delivering the government’s financial plan Wednesday in Hopedale. “Ten years of Continued Progress is something to be extremely proud of. With this budget, we are continuing to build on our successes, as we lay a solid foundation for the future.”
Of the $83,481,000 budgeted for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins April 1, a total of $58,344,000 is being set aside under the Fiscal Financing Agreement (FFA), which is negotiated between the Nunatsiavut Government and the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador. The FFA ensures funding is provided to the Nunatsiavut Government for the provision of programs and services to Inuit and other persons living in Inuit communities, at levels reasonably comparable to those generally prevailing in communities of similar size and circumstances in Labrador. Other sources of revenue include personal income taxes and Goods and Services Tax (GST), received as part of tax agreements with the Government of Canada, and income earned on investments.
Addressing housing needs remains a major priority for the Nunatsiavut Government. This year’s budget will enable an inter-departmental working group to continue with the development of a long-term housing strategy. Funds have been committed to research housing designs for sub-arctic environments, as well as to carry out geo-technical surveys in Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet- assisting in community planning for future development. As well, the committee will research and prepare a report on housing delivery models based on a review of programs across the country – a significant first step in the discussion and debate of where we go with respect to housing in Nunatsiavut, notes Minister Shiwak.
This year’s budget also sets aside a total of $2.6 million for Torngat Regional Housing Association – an increase of about four per cent over last year’s allocation.
The Nunatsiavut Secretariat will continue to explore alternative sources of energy for Nunatsiavut in 2016-17. A consultant was engaged last year to assess current and future energy needs, as well as energy security and to assist with the development of a long-term energy strategy. That plan, notes Minister Shiwak, will look at innovative ways to achieve energy security, including green energy. The work is in the final stages of completion, and the strategy is anticipated to be completed this year.
Funds have been allocated to the Department of Health and Social Development to begin the process of acquiring new office and program space in Hopedale, as current facilities are inadequate.
Phase II of the Illusuak Cultural Centre in Nain is nearing completion. The Nunatsiavut Government was able to secure external funding during the 2015-2016 fiscal year to carry out much of the work. As such, the funds budgeted in last year’s financial plan were not expended and have been carried over to this year.
- Through this year’s budget, the Nunatsiavut Government will continue to invest in the Inuit Bachelor of Education Program.
- The Department of Health and Social Development’s Youth Division will be restructured to allow for the hiring of a Regional Youth Services/Program Coordinator, focused on the delivery of youth programs and services. This position will oversee the development of a youth strategy and action plan.
- The development of heritage and cultural-related projects and programming for Nunatsiavut will become the responsibility of the new curator-type position, budgeted under the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. This position will be integral in the development of the exhibit requirements of Illusuak as well as our archaeological collections grow.
- An Arts and Crafts Development Officer will be hired by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to advance economic development opportunities in the arts and crafts sector. The position will be essential in creating visibility and new markets for current artists, and provide opportunities for professional development for existing and emerging artists and craftspeople.
- Funding has also been set aside to support other ongoing programs, including the Lake Melville Baseline Environmental Study, the Sustainable Communities Initiative, Going Off, Growing Strong, Inuktitut programming, Hebron ambassador program and restoration work, and on-going archaeological work.
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