HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Finance Minister Labi Kousoulis tabled the 2021-22 Nova Scotia budget Thursday. Here are some highlights.
- A deficit of $584.9 million is projected on a spending program of $12.5 billion, with total debt hitting $17.97 billion and a goal of returning to balance in four years.
- The health budget is growing overall by $510 million to reach $5.3 billion, almost an 11 per cent increase over last year's estimate, with over half of that from added COVID-19 related expenses.
- The mental health budget will be the largest in the province's history at $336.5 million, including a $12.3-million increase for new programming.
- There is almost $350 million for COVID-19 expenses, ranging from added personal protective equipment to costs of setting up vaccination clinics.
- The budget for long-term care and home care has increased to over $1 billion, with $22.6 million added to increase the number of care assistants, expand access to outside health professionals and provide primary care in nursing homes.
- There is $8.6 million to replace and renovate seven nursing homes and to add 230 beds by 2025, and $6 million to support the sector with COVID-19 expenses and almost $4 million to make up for lost revenues during the pandemic.
- The document notes the province's gross domestic product shrank by four per cent last year in nominal GDP, and revenues were $252.6 million lower than originally planned, while expenses soared by close to $550 million.
- The budget includes the capital plan, which invests $1.17 billion in roads, schools, health-care facilities and other public infrastructure.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021.
The Canadian Press