May 15, 2013
These last four years we have offered you a better deal: jobs here at home, better health care and a better life for Nova Scotians. The NDP inherited a mess. While some want to take us backwards, we’re turning things around, investing in people and communities to build a prosperous future.
Here are some of our accomplishments from our first 4 years in government:
Providing better care sooner:
- We opened Canada’s first Collaborative Emergency Centres to provide 24/7 emergency care and same or next day appointments. Eight have opened or are in planning stages. ER closures have been reduced for four years in a row.
- We launched the first ever strategy to help Nova Scotians and their families who are living with mental health and addictions.
- Our Fair Drug Pricing plan caps the price of generic drugs, leading to lower prices for Nova Scotians enrolled in Pharmacare and a better deal for taxpayers.
- We are reversing the drastic cuts to children’s dental care made by previous governments. We are increasing the age for children to receive free basic dental care, from 10 to 13. This will make Nova Scotia’s Oral Health Program one of the most accessible dental coverage programs in Canada.
- We helped recruit more rural doctors and hired more nurse practitioners.
- The cost of ambulance services is waived for low-income Nova Scotians and for seniors with mobility issues.
- We hired more mental health clinicians in schools, and expanded 24/7 access to mental health crisis intervention province-wide, with the Mental Health Crisis Line.
- We expanded newborn screening tests to include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and eight additional conditions.
- We’re bringing the emergency room to people with the RESTORE program, so paramedics can administer clot-busting drugs to patients having a heart attack instead of waiting until arriving at the hospital.
- We expanded Lucentis treatment to Cape Breton to ensure all Nova Scotians suffering from a chronic retina disease will now get the treatment they need closer to home.
Creating good jobs and protecting workers’ rights:
- We partnered with labour, business, and community organizations to ensure that Ships Start Here.
- We increased the minimum wage four years in a row, despite opposition pressure to limit increases.
- We are the first government in more than 20 years that has not passed legislation to over-ride collective agreements, and that has instead used free collective bargaining through a fair and respectful approach.
- We established Arts Nova Scotia and improved the Film Tax Credit to help support the creative economy.
- We reduced the small business tax rate by 40%, the first time it has been reduced in almost 20 years.
Putting kids and learning first:
- We invested $8 million to ensure that every pre-school aged child with autism gets the help they need – help that was previously only available to half of them.
- We are putting Kids and Learning First by increasing reading assistance to primary and grade one students now, with an expansion to grades 2 and 3 and doubling the time grade 10 students focus on math.
- We introduced new class size limits. The P-3 class-size cap of 25 meant hiring over 70 teachers this year.
- We created 250 new community college seats targeted to high-demand trades and professions to support employers and provide opportunities for Nova Scotia workers.
- We are fixing Canada’s weakest student assistance program by capping tuition, investing in student bursaries, capping student debt and encouraging institutions to be more competitive and innovative.
A strong voice for seniors:
- We have opened nearly one thousand new long-term care beds since 2009.
- We ensured that 25,000 low-income seniors who receive Guaranteed Income Supplement receive a refund of provincial income tax paid up to $450.
- We expanded the Caregiver Benefit, restorative care and self-managed programs to allow seniors to manage their own care and stay in their homes and communities longer.
- We increased the Property Tax Rebate for seniors by $200 to a maximum of $800. Seniors receiving the GIS may qualify for a rebate on their municipal property taxes.
- We ended the injustice of having seniors pay security deposits for long term care.
Treating people with respect:
- We created a Domestic Violence Action Plan to keep our communities safer. Our new legislation allows renters experiencing domestic violence to break their lease without financial penalty.
- Our immigration strategy, Welcome Home to Nova Scotia, helped us nominate the highest number of immigrants to date.
- We worked with the Mi’kmaq to increase their involvement in economic development and training initiatives.
- We recognized transgender Nova Scotians’ rights to equality and fairness by adding gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds to the Human Rights Act.
- We invested $500,000 in Transition Houses and Women’s Centres to enable them to continue to improve the quality of service and programs to benefit women and children. This was the first increase of funding in over a decade.
Making Nova Scotia more sustainable:
- We increased our renewable energy goal for electricity to 40% by 2020 and are securing our energy future with stable energy prices with the Muskrat Falls hydro project.
- We extended the moratorium on gas and oil drilling on Georges Bank indefinitely.
- We are building the future of forestry with the creation of community forests and enhancing parks as we move toward our goal of protecting 13% of our province’s land, exceeding the United Nations goal of 12% land protection.
- We are investing more in local food campaigns, farmers’ markets and help for new farmers, helping to ensure that Nova Scotia was the only province to see an increase in the number of farms since 2009. We legislated a 20% goal for locally produced food bought by Nova Scotians by 2020.
- We put hard caps on green house gas emissions for electricity. That initiative was recognized by The David Suzuki Foundation as one of the top five best moves on climate change in Canada.
Making life more affordable for families:
- We took the provincial tax off power bills and home heating. We also took the HST off more family essentials including children’s clothing, footwear, and diapers.
- We’re covering the cost of insulin pumps and supplies for eligible youth to age 18 and supplies for people 19 to 25 with type 1 diabetes, who use an insulin pump.
- We introduced and indexed the Affordable Living Credit to provide financial support to 240,000 households who earn less than $30,000. We also introduced and indexed the Poverty Reduction Tax Credit to support about 15,000 of the most vulnerable low income Nova Scotians, many of whom have disabilities.
- Over a thousand more children a year have places in daycares and pre-schools around the province, making childcare more affordable for Nova Scotian families. We also increased the Nova Scotia Child Benefit by 40%.
- Our new consumer protection cell phone legislation caps cancellation fees and ensures Nova Scotians are told about any changes that may increase their bills.
Help us continue to move Nova Scotia forward. Volunteer to elect your local NDP candidate here.