REDUCING WAIT TIMES An additional 70 police officers will be hired across the province, representing an investment of $8.2 million. This will add to the additional 80 officers hired in 2007-08. $1.2 million will improve enforcement and intervention and step up crime prevention efforts. $1.5 million will go to the Department of Justice to help manage the increase in inmate population. The Department of Justice and the Department of Community Services will receive $830,000 and $1.2 million respectively for youth-related initiatives, stemming from the Nunn Commission report. A $10.7-million investment in broadband Internet supports the province’s commitment to provide all Nova Scotians with access to high-speed Internet by the end of 2009. $335 million will help build and maintain highways; this is funded by provincial revenue from motive fuels and net fees from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. $95 million will go toward paving 425 kilometres of roads, supporting the third year of the province’s commitment to pave 2,000 kilometres in four years. Partnerships BC, a national leader in strategic infrastructure partnerships, will evaluate 10 of the province’s most critical infrastructure projects. This initiative will help the province move forward in the most cost-effective manner. $19 million this year, and $160 million over eight years, will go toward quality, affordable child care. This includes an investment of $6 million to develop about 250 more child-care spaces. $31.7 million toward the Family Pharmacare Program will make prescription drugs affordable for as many as 180,000 Nova Scotians who have had no drug coverage in the past. A new investment of $2 million will go toward revitalizing rinks and arenas around the province. An additional $2 million will go toward the Building Facilities and Infrastructure Together (B-FIT) program. Funding for the B-FIT program will now increase to $7 million annually. The province remains committed to doubling the budget for arts and culture over the next three years, investing an additional $1.2 million this year. BETTER ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE $21.3 million of the three-year $42.5-million federal ecoTrust Fund will go toward clean-air and climate-change projects throughout Nova Scotia to support the province’s commitment to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. $4.4 million will be invested in the Forestry Transition Program to help maintain a strong and viable industry sector for the future. As part of the ecoTrust Fund, a $5-million investment in an in-stream tidal energy project in the Bay of Fundy supports the province’s goal to have 18.5 per cent of its total energy come from renewable sources by 2013. $400,000 will support the province’s Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act. A $3-million investment will encourage the development of public transit in unserved and underserved rural communities. NOVA SCOTIA: OPEN FOR BUSINESS– Over six years, the Industrial Expansion Fund has meant $146 million in funding for 40 private businesses, Crown corporations, and economic development agencies.– $1 million in Economic Development funding will stimulate research, development and innovation within small and medium-sized business.– $400,000 will continue assistance to new and existing small businesses with training and recruitment, market research and business-plan development, advertising and promotional plans, visual merchandising techniques, and fiscal management tools.– $350,000 will be invested in the Select Nova Scotia campaign to promote the benefits of local products and to increase opportunities for agriculture growth and development.– Last year, modifications were made to the payroll rebate to encourage Nova Scotia businesses to undertake productivity enhancements and thereby improve competitiveness. In 2008-09, Nova Scotia Business Inc. will continue this work and partner with agencies to promote this tool. -30- NOTE: for further 2008-09 budget information, see the Department of Finance website at www.gov.ns.ca/finance . $180 million will freeze university tuition over the next three years. An additional $66 million will be invested in a Nova Scotia University Student Bursary Trust to provide a maximum per-student benefit of $761 in 2008-09, $1,022 in 2009-10, and $1,283 in 2010-11 for Nova Scotians. Out-of-province students will benefit from the tuition freeze and a $261 bursary in 2010-11. College and university students will now borrow loans directly from the province with a decreased interest rate of two percentage points. The first 20 per cent of this loan will be a non-repayable grant averaging $775, or as high as $1,560 per year. Students with dependent children will also be able to receive $1,040 in non-repayable assistance. $4.6 million will align the age of entry for Grade Primary with the majority of Canadian provinces. An additional $2.2 million will expand the highly successful Options and Opportunities program, helping students to be better prepared for the workforce. The province of Nova Scotia is tabling its seventh consecutive balanced budget in 2008-09, estimating a surplus of $189.7 million. Total revenues are estimated to increase by $448.2 million to$8.466 billion. Expenses are estimated to increase by $392.8 million to $8.333 billion. Government has revamped the Your Energy Rebate program to focuson home-heating costs, and has introduced the Heating AssistanceRebate Program for low-income Nova Scotians. SAFER, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Safer Communities Healthy Communities EDUCATING TO COMPETE PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT Over the next 10 years, $262 million will help address the health needs of seniors. Construction has begun on 1,000 new long-term care beds, all of which will be open and serving families by 2010. Government will invest another $10 million over the next two years (for a total of $28 million) to complete the first phase of the province’s electronic health records system. To co-ordinate all of the activity associated with wait-times initiatives, the Department of Health has established a new position, Chief Executive, Wait Time Improvements. $3.96 million will establish a selfcare/telecare service, a 24/7 call line staffed by trained nurses who will take calls from patients and families seeking immediate health advice or information. $2.8 million will be invested in mental health and addictions services across the province, with particular focus on services for children and youth. $1 million will support an orthopedic demonstration project between Capital Health and Scotia Surgery in Dartmouth. Through this project, Capital Health will be able to serve 500 more patients this year.