Budget 2023-24 Advances Solutions for More Healthcare Faster

by ahnationtalk on March 23, 2023111 Views

March 23, 2023

Healthcare is the centre of Budget 2023-24, which makes historic investments to support healthcare workers, get Nova Scotians faster access to healthcare and build modern healthcare facilities.

Today, March 23, Finance and Treasury Board Minister Allan MacMaster tabled Budget 2023-24: More Healthcare, Faster.

“Budget 2023-24 is built with all Nova Scotians in mind – it reflects where we are today and where we are headed,” said Minister MacMaster. “It is focused on fixing healthcare and giving people more options for a healthcare system that Nova Scotia families need and provides solutions to build a healthy economy and healthier communities.”

With revenues of $14.2 billion and expenses of $14.4 billion, Budget 2023-24 estimates a deficit of $278.9 million after consolidation. Spending in healthcare is estimated at $6.5 billion, an increase of more than $1.2 billion from two years ago.

Highlights of Budget 2023-24 include:

Action for Healthcare

  • expanding the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program to include eligible nurses; those under age 30 will receive a refund of the provincial income tax paid on the first $50,000 of income starting in the 2023 tax year
  • $110 million for the second year of retention incentives for nurses who commit to staying in the publicly funded system and sign a two-year return of service agreement
  • $1.7 million to add 10 physician assistants in collaborative primary care sites across the province
  • $2.8 million to accelerate and enhance clinical placements for nurses, nurse practitioners and other healthcare workers
  • $22.2 million for new healthcare workforce strategy initiatives under Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve the healthcare system
  • $2.8 million, as part of a $22.7-million, four-year commitment, to increase nursing training seats to 200 at Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)
  • $2.1 million to continue supporting additional speciality medical residency positions, which now total 71 specialty residents and 10 family medicine residents
  • $900,000 more to continue supporting the 16 additional medical school seats at Dalhousie University for a total of 80
  • $66.3 million in ongoing funding for increased wages for continuing care assistants
  • $11.6 million to continue workforce initiatives within the continuing care sector, such as free tuition for continuing care assistant training
  • $46.6 million more to perform more surgeries and continue to address the backlog, including increasing hours for operating rooms
  • $34 million for patient movement initiatives to help improve access to care
  • $15 million for initiatives to improve emergency care
  • $22.6 million for Emergency Health Services initiatives such as adding more emergency transport units and a new fixed-wing service for the LifeFlight program
  • $7.3 million more for Emergency Health Services to help with growing volume
  • $11.3 million for a range of improvements to cancer care services
  • $1.7 million more to expand Dalhousie family medicine clinics, which support new family practice doctors who will offer care to more patients
  • $6.7 million more to help with the growing demand for radiology, pathology and internal medicine services
  • $3.7 million more for dialysis services at the Halifax Infirmary and expanding dialysis services in the Liverpool and Pictou areas
  • $1.9 million for initiatives to help improve equity in the healthcare system
  • $5 million more for the Seniors Pharmacare program and new cancer drugs
  • $1.7 million more to help meet the increased demand for gender assignment surgeries
  • $17.7 million for a range of mental health initiatives, working toward universal access to mental health
  • $2 million more to expand virtual mental health care
  • $25.9 million more for home care and direct funding programs to provide flexible supports for seniors, tailored to their individual needs
  • $10.7 million more to help long-term care homes move toward the 4.1 hours of care standard
  • $4.7 million more to provide high-dose flu vaccine for all seniors aged 65 and older for free
  • $25 million more in one-time capital funding for equipment, upgrades and repairs to help extend the life of long-term care homes
  • $13.5 million to open 240 spaces this year at Mahone Bay Nursing Home, Villa Acadienne in Meteghan and Kiknu in Eskasoni
  • $44 million to fund permanent and temporary long-term care spaces for people waiting to move from acute care to long-term care
  • $1.1 million more for dementia services programming to help meet the needs of more people with dementia and their caregivers
  • $29.1 million in continued funding for the Seniors Care Grant to provide support to older Nova Scotians in their home and communities
  • $275.1 million for the Halifax Infirmary expansion and Cape Breton Regional Municipality healthcare redevelopment projects
  • $91 million for construction and renewal of other hospitals and medical facilities, including projects in Bridgewater, Pugwash, Yarmouth, Amherst and at the IWK Health Centre
  • $57.7 million in capital costs for electronic health records (One Person One Record)
  • $33.2 million for Bayers Lake Community Outpatient Facility construction
  • $32 million to repair and replace medical equipment
  • $22 million to repair and replace medical facilities.

A Healthy Economy

  • $20.9 million to deliver the first year of the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program, which provides workers in eligible skilled trades and film and video occupations under the age of 30 a refund on the provincial income tax paid on the first $50,000 of income for the 2022 tax year
  • $13.2 million to provide funding to small- and medium-sized employers to hire first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades
  • $943,000 more as part of a multi-year plan to modernize Nova Scotia’s apprenticeship system
  • $3.4 million for the second year of a four-year $13-million commitment with Mitacs to create up to 3,200 more paid internship opportunities for post-secondary students
  • $6.2 million more to expand life and job skills programs as part of efforts to reduce child poverty and prepare youth at risk for education and employment success
  • $1 million more to expand the team that supports immigration and population growth
  • $14 million more, for a total of $39 million in 2023–24, for the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund
  • $1.5 million to continue developing the new Nova Scotia Loyal program
  • $3.7 million more for silviculture and archeological work
  • $3 million for energy and resource development initiatives
  • $1.8 million to support high-growth business and entrepreneurship development
  • $1.1 million for the Nova Scotia Quality Wine Strategy.

Healthy Communities

  • $498.5 million for Nova Scotia’s roads, highways and bridges, including $60 million more for secondary highways and $15 million more for gravel roads
  • $14 million more for the Rural Impact Mitigation program for the maintenance and repair of rural roads, for a total of $36 million this year
  • $2 million more to help community centres buy and install generators
  • $5.1 million more in operating grants for arts and culture organizations and community-owned museums
  • $2.6 million more for provincial museums and the operation of the iconic Bluenose II
  • continuing work on the province’s first African Nova Scotian Justice Action Plan, following extensive community engagement last year and starting work to develop an Indigenous Justice Action Strategy
  • $6.2 million more to continue redesigning the foster care system, including recruiting and retaining diverse foster families, expanding foster care placement types and improving peer support and respite for foster families
  • $3.9 million more for new programs and supports for young people leaving care, in support of reducing child poverty
  • $7.8 million more for prevention and early intervention programs such as parenting education and family support, home-based visitation, youth programs and services and sexual violence prevention
  • $23.3 million more for the Disability Support Program, a range of services and programs that support people with intellectual disabilities, long-term mental illness and physical disabilities
  • $2.5 million more to continue to expand eligibility and increase funding for families involved in the Direct Family Support for Children program
  • $2.6 million more for flex in home support programming
  • $4.4 million more to support more people transitioning from adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres into community-based setting
  • $875,000 more for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women for the Creating Communities of Care initiative and actions under the Standing Together plan to prevent domestic violence
  • $21.6 million more to create 1,000 new rent supplements, for a total of 8,000 rent supplements
  • $15.3 million more for public housing repairs, for a total of $21 million
  • $13.1 million more to address the wait list for home repair and adaptation programs
  • $8.2 million more for homelessness and supportive housing initiatives
  • $8 million to increase the Nova Scotia Child Benefit for families with incomes below $34,000, in support of reducing child poverty
  • $1.3 million to make student loan repayments more manageable for people starting their careers by increasing eligibility and reducing the maximum affordable payment
  • $42.1 million increase in child-care funding to lower fees for families, create more spaces and enhance after-school care
  • $40 million to pay early childhood educators more, help stabilize and grow the workforce and help licensed centers offer more care
  • $47.1 million more for our public schools to address growing enrolment, hire more teachers and address inflationary pressures
  • $6 million more to refresh classroom technology, including Chromebooks for students
  • $2.7 million for the pre-primary program to increase classroom supports
  • updating the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools and implementing a provincial physical activity framework
  • $240.8 million to build and renovate schools across the province, including $24 million more for capital repairs and $40 million for new modular learning spaces
  • $3.8 million more in grants to universities to reflect the one per cent increase under the current memorandum of understanding
  • $97.2 million for NSCC’s Sydney waterfront campus and three student housing projects
  • $41.4 million to move forward on actions under Our Climate, Our Future: Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth
  • $2 million in ongoing funding to grow the electric vehicle charging network, offer rebates to install charging infrastructure and increase the adoption of electric vehicles
  • $15 million more as the provincial share in green, transit and rural projects under the Investment in Canada Infrastructure Program
  • $7.6 million for the fifth year of the nine-year, $50-million flood mitigation measures envelope to upgrade the dykeland system.

Quick Facts:

  • Budget 2023-24 contains more than $1.6 billion for capital projects, the largest single-year capital investment in the province’s history
  • the budget also contains the final forecast for 2022-23, which reports a deficit of $259.4 million
  • additional appropriations related to the forecast, totalling $577.8 million, are required by 11 departments and offices and for refundable tax credits since the December forecast

Additional Resources:

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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