Budget 2023 Prioritizes the Health of Newfoundland and Labrador
March 23, 2023
Today, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, released Budget 2023: Your Health. Our Priority.
With a focus on improving the province’s health and financial well-being, Budget 2023 delivers:
- The largest health care investment in the province’s history of $3.9 billion.
- No new tax or fee increases.
- An historic incremental investment in provincial highways of close to $1.4 billion over the next five years.
- A focus on residents’ cost of living by:
- Continuing with the 8.05 cent per litre (includes HST) reduction on the price of gasoline and diesel – the second lowest rate among provinces;
- Eliminating the retail sales tax on home insurance;
- Maintaining the home heating supplement that provides up to $500 to residents who currently rely on furnace and stove oil to heat their homes;
- Doubling of the Physical Activity Tax Credit;
- Continuing the 50 per cent reduction off the cost of registering passenger vehicles, trucks and taxis for another year; and,
- Increasing payments for the Income Supplement and Seniors’ Benefit.
- The construction of more than 850 new affordable housing and rental units.
- Investments to create more affordable child care spaces to better meet the demand, including $64 million to increase wages for early childhood educators, and $3.5 million to expand the Pre-Kindergarten Pilot.
The projected deficit for 2023-24 is $160 million, with a balanced budget expected in 2024-25, two years ahead of schedule. Other highlights include:
- Projected revenues for 2023-24 are $9.7 billion.
- Projected expenses for 2023-24 are $9.8 billion.
- Increases in provincial spending total $108 million. This is lower than the rate of inflation.
- Of the $9.8 billion in expenses, $471 million is 100 per cent federally funded.
- Net debt is expected to be $16.2 billion in the 2023-24 fiscal year – a decrease of $0.9 billion from the Budget 2022-23 forecast of $17.1 billion.
- The projected borrowing requirement for 2023-24 is $1.5 billion.
- Current oil price projections are $US86 per barrel, while the Canada-United States exchange rate is forecast at 75.7 cents.
- The Debt to Gross Domestic Product Ratio is approximately 37 per cent. In 2020, it was over 50 per cent.
Managing the province’s finances responsibly
The Provincial Government’s strategic plan to return to balanced budgets, lower the cost of borrowing, and decrease debt includes:
- Fixing the financing of the Muskrat Falls Project through the $5.2 billion rate mitigation agreement with the Federal Government;
- Prudent fiscal governance, including transformation and modernization of government, strengthening the role of the Auditor General and Balanced Budget Legislation; and,
- Responsible debt management, including effective treasury management, optimizing investment performance and establishing a Future Fund. This year, we are projecting to contribute another $127 million to the Future Fund, which will help ensure greater prosperity for future generations.
Examples of Budget 2023 investments are outlined in the backgrounder below. More details, including a series of fact sheets, is available online at gov.nl.ca/Budget2023.
“In Budget 2023, we are focused on improving our health – physical, mental, financial and economic. This budget sets record investments for high-quality delivery and availability of health care. It is focused on our financial well-being with no new fees or taxes and with supports to help with the cost of living. All while ensuring strong fiscal management of the province. It supports economic growth and prosperity. All towards a stronger, smarter, self-sufficient, sustainable Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Siobhan Coady
Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance
Budget 2023: Your Health. Our Priority
Making the largest-ever investment in health care
A $3.9 billion investment in health care represents a $300 million dollar increase from 2022-23, as the Provincial Government reimagines health care and improves access throughout the province. This record investment builds on the meaningful action that has been taken to ensure timely access to care, and enhances efforts to support valued health care professionals and global recruitment efforts. Investments include:
- More than $23 million for recruitment and retention of health care professionals;
- More than $21 million for 10 new Family Care Teams, which will provide access to primary health care for 80,000 people, with more to come;
- $15 million for a new health information system;
- $9 million to begin to consolidate 60 separate road ambulance services into a single, integrated service with centralized dispatch;
- Increasing capacity in Memorial University’s Medicine Programs, which will have a year-over-year multiplier effect and ensure a steady stream of new recruits into the health system;
- $7.7 million this year, increasing to $9.3 million next year for health care professionals who support self-managed care in the home;
- $7.5 million annual increase for community care home professionals;
- $6.1 million annual increase for personal care home professionals;
- $5 million for a new virtual care program;
- $5 million to develop a new community mental health centre in St. John’s;
- $4.4 million for Flexible Assertive Community Treatment teams that will better assist individuals with mental health needs;
- $3.5 million annually to support the Dementia Care Action Plan;
- $3 million for a Cardiovascular and Stroke Institute;
- Approximately $1.8 million for travelling orthopaedic teams and same day hip and knee replacement;
- $1.3 million to cover cost of driver medicals for drivers 75 years of age and older; and,
- Addition of 12 new drugs to the provincial drug program.
Helping residents with their financial well-being
Budget 2023 is continuing to help residents with the cost of living, with more than a half billion dollars in targeted short- and long-term measures since March 2022. Measures include:
- Continuing with the 8.05 cent per litre (includes HST) reduction in provincial gas tax for fiscal 2023-24 – the second lowest rate among provinces;
- Eliminating retail sales tax on personal property insurance;
- Maintaining the home heating supplement that provides up to $500 to residents who currently rely on furnace or stove oil to heat their home;
- Preserving the 50 per cent reduction in the cost of registering passenger vehicles, light duty trucks and taxis for 2023-24;
- $77.5 million for the income supplement, which represents a five per cent increase; and,
- $67.1 million for the seniors’ benefit, which represents a five per cent increase.
Supporting economic growth and prosperity
Government continues to support business growth, invest in public infrastructure, improve connectivity and enhance government interaction and efficiency. Highlights include:
- No new tax or fee increases;
- Increase in the exemption threshold from $1.3 million to $2 million for businesses that pay the health and post-secondary education tax. This will benefit 1,250 businesses;
- Close to $1.4 billion to improve highway and road transportation infrastructure over the next five years. This is the largest provincial investment in highway and road infrastructure over a five-year period in the province’s history;
- $1.5 million to improve air access; and,
- Through a five-year, $50 million investment, renewing and modernizing government’s information technology assets to provide easier access to services. This complements the four-year, $25 million investment to improved connectivity in the province.