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Historic Healthcare Spending in NS Budget
Staff Reporter
/ Categories: News

Historic Healthcare Spending in NS Budget

Healthcare continues to be the main focus for Tim Houston’s government. Budget 2023-24, tabled yesterday in the legislature, makes historic investments to support healthcare workers, get Nova Scotians faster access to healthcare, and build modern healthcare facilities.

In fact the subtitle of the budget is “More Healthcare, Faster.”

Finance Minister, Allan MacMaster says, "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.”

Highlights for our northern region include:

  • 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
  • $22.2 million for new healthcare workforce strategy initiatives under Action for Health, the government's plan to improve the healthcare system
  • $46.6 million more to perform more surgeries and continue to address the backlog, including increasing hours for operating rooms
  • $15 million for initiatives to improve emergency care
  • $5 million more for the Seniors Pharmacare program and new cancer drugs
  • $17.7 million for a range of mental health initiatives, working toward universal access to mental health
  • $25.9 million more for home care and direct funding programs to provide flexible supports for seniors, tailored to their individual needs
  • $4.7 million more to provide high-dose flu vaccine for all seniors aged 65 and older for free
  • $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
  • $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
  • $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
  • $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
  • $7.7 million for provincial museum sites, arts and culture organizations, and community-owned museums
  • $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)
  • a 30-seat practical nursing cohort at the NSCC Pictou campus customised for Mi'kmaw learners, beginning this academic year
  • a new recovery support centre in Truro
  • construction and renewal of hospitals and medical facilities including projects in Pugwash and Amherst 
  • school construction at Springhill Elementary School

The budget — totalling $14.2 billion — estimates a deficit of $278.9 million.

The increase in healthcare is $1.2 billion for total health spending of $6.5 billion.

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