It’s time to take Nova Scotia to the next level. The Rankin Liberals have a plan to create the future Nova Scotians want — one that is more sustainable, more equitable, and economically strong.
The pandemic has shown the real importance of healthcare. It isn’t just essential to people’s health – it’s essential for strong communities, for a strong economy, and for our overall well-being. Our government has taken these lessons to heart, committing to modernize health services across the province.
The health crisis raised additional challenges for Nova Scotians facing mental health struggles and addictions. We established the Office of Mental Health and Addictions to build a strong foundation to address the needs of the people. We are devoted to investing in mental health to ensure that Nova Scotians receive the services they need.
We are committed to doing better for our seniors in long-term care facilities and in our communities. We made an historic investment of $1 billion in continuing care — and we won’t stop there. Seniors in Nova Scotia need support, and we will answer their call.
We believe in strengthening our health system through innovation. While the pandemic created challenges, it opened the door to opportunities, such as virtual care. By modernizing delivery, we can help ensure all Nova Scotians have access to the high-quality care they deserve.
Access to primary healthcare improves the quality of life of Nova Scotians. As a government, we have been able to attach more than 150,000 individuals with a primary healthcare provider. We will continue to expand on this commitment through providing incentives to attract primary care providers, such as the Nurse Practitioner Education Incentive which has seen improved access to primary care in areas such as Digby, Cape Breton, and Cumberland County.
One of our top priorities is ensuring that all Nova Scotians have access to life-saving services when they need it, where they need it. We have invested in initiatives across the province, such as new dialysis units at Digby Regional Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital, as well as the Bayers Lake Community Outpatient Centre to provide access to healthcare in all regions of Nova Scotia.
The pandemic placed a strain on businesses and communities everywhere. Yet Nova Scotians rose to the challenge. Their perseverance kept our economy moving – and Nova Scotia is poised for a strong economic recovery. Our government values the hard work of Nova Scotians. We believe they deserve a strong economy, with opportunities for everyone, and one that is fiscally responsible: we have a plan that takes us to a balanced budget over the next four years.
Small businesses are the backbone of Nova Scotia’s economy. They have earned international standards of excellence and recognition, but they have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. As a government, we want our businesses to thrive. We have reduced the regulatory burden that they face. And we have worked with the community to see they have the emergency support they need, including property rebates and paid sick leave. As a government, we will continue to make it easier for small businesses to recover from the pandemic, to create more jobs, and to grow.
Smart tax, innovation and immigration policies are essential to growing Nova Scotia’s economy. That’s why we created the Economic Growth Council. This advisory body has a mandate to position Nova Scotia for economic success and grow the economy as we emerge from the pandemic. Council members represent every region of the province and span economic sectors. Their advice will help government propel innovation, attract smart investment, and enhance the well-being of all Nova Scotians.
Strong infrastructure helps to build strong economies. We are committed to ensuring that modern and innovative infrastructure exists across Nova Scotia. By investing in infrastructure we can help people and communities thrive – in every region.
If we want Nova Scotia to continue to grow, we believe that everyone needs to share in that growth. We created the Inclusive Economic Growth department to ensure that government makes sound financial decisions that will benefit all Nova Scotians. We will build on our economic success and introduce programs that foster inclusive growth so that all areas of our province benefit.
After decades of population decline, the tide turned in 2015. Nova Scotia is now experiencing strong population growth in every part of our province–both urban and rural. More young people are staying in Nova Scotia and building their lives here. We know that immigration and youth retention promotes diversity and success. We are committed to attracting skilled workers from across Canada, and across the globe, to continue growing our population.
Climate change is the challenge of our generation. Our government is committed to fighting climate change and to preserving the environment of Nova Scotia. For us this means adapting to a changing climate, being good stewards of our resources, and encouraging the industries that rely on the natural world. Innovative, sustainable approaches can protect our environment, and help farmers and fishers become more productive and successful.
Nova Scotians see the impact of climate change on our province every day. We are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, improving our resilience to climate change, and reducing our environmental footprint. We must step up to this challenge by investing in the green economy — and we must do it today.
Nova Scotia is home to beautiful landscapes, coastlines, and ecosystems. We believe in preserving our natural legacy for our children and grandchildren. Our province is a sought-after tourist destination for its world-class outdoor amenities. It’s our responsibility to keep it that way.
Food is the single biggest industry in Nova Scotia, and our government wants to help it grow. Our investment in the Agriculture Clean Technology Program will support farmers and food processors in improving their operations. This includes adopting clean technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, promoting sustainable and clean growth, increasing value-added agricultural production, extending growing seasons and improving costs of production.
Our agricultural sector is impacted by changes in our climate—from warmer waters to the increasing frequency of severe weather. We must help industry adapt to change while protecting the resources on which they so rely. Our Liberal government is dedicated to creating fair, healthy, and sustainable food systems that improve food security. We’re incorporating more local food into our public facilities. We’re also fostering the buy local movement across the province.
Modes of active transit such as walking and cycling are one of the best ways to improve the overall health of our citizens. Not only does it increase physical activity, it makes neighbourhoods more attractive and enjoyable for families. We will promote and invest in active transit to improve the quality of life for citizens across the province.
Tackling climate change begins with our communities. By providing incentives to households and businesses to invest in energy efficiency upgrades and electric vehicles, we will begin to implement the necessary change to protect our environment. We will continue to provide these rebates to ensure we leave a cleaner world for future generations.
The strength of Nova Scotia has always resided in Nova Scotians, in all their skill and diversity. However, we know barriers exist and that, for many, systemic racism is part of their lived reality. We are committed to a whole-of-government approach to foster equity and inclusion and promote well-being for all.
Making life more affordable for Nova Scotians is an issue that must immediately be addressed. We have begun to effect this change by making the single largest additional investment in Income Assistance in our province’s history. We’ve introduced a Paid Sick Leave to keep people safe. Progress has been made, but we need to continue to build on the work we’ve done to create an equitable Nova Scotia where everyone can succeed.
All Nova Scotians need access to reliable, high speed internet. Through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, we have been able to help 80 per cent of Nova Scotian homes and businesses connect online. We believe all Nova Scotians deserve more options in choosing where to work and live. That is why by the end of 2021, our goal is to expand to 94 per cent, and we will achieve 99 per cent coverage by 2023.
Systematic racism has for too long shaped lives in this province. Too many Nova Scotians have been deprived of their right to thrive in society and the economy. We are committed to building an equitable Nova Scotia that delivers a better quality of life for all communities and helps people achieve their aspirations. That’s why we introduced legislation that will help speed up the settling of land claims and address land ownership inequities in five historic African Nova Scotian communities. Together, we have made progress, but there is more to do to move forward.
We have made significant investments to ensure that all Nova Scotians have equal access to government services, provincial parks, and employment opportunities. We have pledged to make Nova Scotia accessible by 2030 through our multi-year accessibility plan.
Access to adequate housing is essential to quality of life. We are committed to working with all levels of government to provide investments that will create more affordable housing units across the province. We look forward to the report from the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission and commit to act on its recommendations once it becomes available. Every Nova Scotian deserves an affordable place to call home, and we will provide it.
Few are so deserving of our respect and support like Nova Scotia’s seniors. Our government is committed to providing the necessary assistance to seniors by focusing on their needs, and through investing in their well-being.
When we have access to affordable prescription drugs, we are better able to contribute to the economy, our communities, and our families. We believe that no one should have to go without critical medical services they need, so we are committed to investing in initiatives that help Nova Scotians access the medications they require.
Our seniors deserve a secure and confident retirement. We have eliminated the requirement for Employment Services and Income Assistance recipients to apply for federal CPP-retirement benefits at age 60. We will continue to implement ways for seniors to have more options to ensure a secure retirement.
Our government invested in the Property Tax Rebate for Seniors program to ease the burden of owning a home for our seniors. We will continue to move forward with investments like these to ensure seniors have more affordable and accessible options to live.
We fully understand the importance of giving our seniors the best possible care to ensure they can grow old with dignity. We have made historic capital investments to better our long-term care facilities, improve continuing care, and we are committed to finding ways to reduce social isolation among seniors. Our seniors have sacrificed a lot for our province, and it is time we give back.
Children are the future of our province and our communities. As a group they have sacrificed during the global pandemic to keep their families and the rest of us safe. Our government believes in supporting the education and well-being of children as a means of investing in the future, today.
Every child is different, and each student has different needs. That’s why we have committed to investing in supports that foster a more inclusive education system. We will continue to act on the recommendations from the Commission on Inclusive Education to ensure that all of our students benefit from our education system.
Liberals fought for the implementation of province-wide pre-primary to ensure children have a child-centered, play based program to help transition them into the school system. Nova Scotian families now have access to universal, free, full day pre-primary for four-year-olds across the province. We remain committed to ensuring this program remains available for generations to come through continued investments.
Students of all ages require safe and modern learning environments. That is why we have continuously invested in building and renovating our schools so our youngest Nova Scotians have the best possible educational experiences— such as $7 million to allow Nova Scotia’s nearly 250 public elementary schools to create new outdoor learning spaces or enhance existing ones. The return on these investments will be increased workforce participation and a healthier and happier population for generations to come.