Government releases budget 2021-22 – A fair and prosperous future: path to balance

The Rankin government’s first budget reflects the priorities of Nova Scotians, providing a path to balance in four years, and investments in key sectors such as long-term care, public health, mental health and the environment.

It lays a solid foundation for a strong economy in which business can grow.

Budget 2021-22, A Fair and Prosperous Future: Path to Balance, estimates a deficit of $584.9 million with revenue of $11.8 billion and expenses, after consolidation adjustments, of $12.4 billion.

Finance and Treasury Board Minister Labi Kousoulis tabled the budget today, March 25.

“Nova Scotians rose to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we embark upon our recovery, we have an opportunity to strengthen our economy and work toward creating a fair and prosperous future for Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Kousoulis. “Budget 2021-22 is government’s first step in this new direction, balancing much-needed supports for Nova Scotians, investments to help business grow and a commitment to sound financial management.”

The budget invests in an economy where business can grow. Highlights include:

  • investments in tourism and hospitality sectors hit hard by the pandemic, including $1.1 million to continue the digital content marketing program for tourism operators and $1.2 million to expand the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation discount for the hospitality industry to include canned and bottled beer, cider and ready-to-drink products
  • investments in sectors that support rural economies, including $1.3 million for the first year of a Nova Scotia Quality Wine Strategy and $1.5 million for the first year of an Aquaculture Expansion Strategy
  • reducing the regulatory burden on businesses by another $10 million
  • capital projects totalling $1.17 billion that will reach every region, creating jobs and improving roads, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure

The budget invests in mental health and health-system improvements. Highlights include:

  • the largest mental-health budget in the province’s history at $336.5 million, including a $12.3 million increase for new programming and $1.5 million to establish the Office of Mental Health and Addictions
  • COVID-19 related investments such as $64.2 million for personal protective equipment, $24.2 million to distribute vaccines, a $11.3 million increase to support nurses and cover additional cleaning, and a $5.7 million increase to strengthen the provincial public health system
  • investments to train more doctors ($12.2 million) and nurses ($914,000 increase)
  • $1.5 million to support new dialysis units and $1.9 million for more hip and knee surgeries

The budget invests more than ever before in long-term care and home care, at $1.02 billion, including:

  • $22.6 million more to act on findings of the long-term care expert panel
  • $8.6 million to begin a multi-year plan to replace or renovate seven nursing homes and add more than 230 beds across the province by 2025
  • COVID-19 related investments, including $12.3 million to extend regional care centres for long-term care patients with COVID-19, and $3.9 million to cover COVID-19 related lost revenues and expenses for the sector

The budget invests in the environment and climate action. Highlights include:

  • $26 million for new Green Fund programs to address climate change
  • $16.4 million for infrastructure projects to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while protecting people from higher fuel and electricity costs
  • $7.6 million for active transportation and public transit

The budget invests in a connected, affordable, inclusive Nova Scotia and support for people who need it most, including:

  • the largest single additional investment in income assistance in the province’s history at $35.2 million, increasing the standard household rate by $100 a month per adult
  • $29.1 million to provide more safe, suitable and affordable housing
  • $46.7 million more for programs that support adults and children with disabilities
  • a $15 million increase to support a more inclusive education system for all students
  • $8.8 million more to support youth with complex needs or who require safe placements, and $3.5 million more to continue to expand prevention and early intervention child welfare programming
  • a $2.4 million increase to the Land Titles Initiative to address the legacy of systemic racism relating to land ownership
  • $2 million to support the new Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives
  • a $2.3 million increase for therapy supports for survivors of sexual assault, representing a 460 per cent increase from last year
  • a $320,000 increase for the Accessibility Directorate, for a total of $2.2 million this year, to help achieve the goal of an accessible Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • the budget contains the final forecast for 2020-21, which updates the deficit to $705.5 million, down from $778.8 million projected in December
  • additional appropriations related to the 2020-21 forecast, totalling $95.8 million, account for unbudgeted spending by eight departments and offices and assistance to universities
  • there was $617.3 million spent on COVID-19 related expenses in 2020-21