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Nova Scotia

Friday, February 17, 2017

For the first time ever, Nova Scotia’s teachers just walked out on strike

The labour war between the provincial Liberals and the teachers union is all kinds of fucked up, yo.

Posted By and on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 6:30 AM

Protesters aren't messing around with these signs. - REBECCA DINGWELL
  • Protesters aren't messing around with these signs.
  • Rebecca Dingwell

After months of back-and-forth negotiations, three rejected tentative agreements and work-to-rule job action, the conflict between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and the provincial government has come to a head.

For the first time in its union's history, teachers across Nova Scotia are on strike for the day.

“In the entire 122-year history of the NSTU, our members have never faced a more anti-education premier than Stephen McNeil,” union president Liette Doucet said in a press release. “The legislation he introduced [this week] limits teachers’ right to strike, erodes their ability to negotiate a fair contract and prevents them from advocating for reforms to improve learning conditions for their students.”

The historic labour action is happening while the provincial Liberal government tries to rush its Teachers’ Professional Agreement Act through the legislature. The Act, which would impose a new contract on the province's 9,300 teachers, already went through first and second readings, and was pushed through overcrowded Law Amendments Committee meetings earlier this week.

Around 400 members of the public tried to air their grievances about Bill 75 during the Law Amendments Committee meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, but only some 100 were actually allowed to speak.

Karin Martin, a teacher and parent of school-aged children, was one of Thursday’s presenters.

“I am deeply troubled by the actions of this government,” she said, urging the province to “return to the bargaining table with actual justice in mind,” as she felt “that’s not what we have seen up to this point.”

Tara Arseneau, teacher and parent, presented to the committing by pointing out problems teachers are facing such as large classroom sizes. She said the government is trying to “put a Band-Aid on these issues.”

“It may be easy to read about the issues,” said Arseneau. “It is different when you are actually immersed in the issues.”

“Your committee is not going to work because the committees you have already put in place have not worked.”

Multiple motions to extend time for additional presentations during Thursday's meeting were shot down by the committee's Liberal members. Written submissions from presenters are available here.

Debate on Bill 75 has continued overnight and will likely last throughout all of Friday. Meanwhile, thousands of teachers and supporters have been protesting outside Province House overnight, and those demonstrations continue today.

The union’s members initially voted in favour of work stoppage back in October, after two previous tentative agreements with the province were rejected. In December, after last-ditch talks between both sides broke down, teachers began working to rule: only performing contractually-obligated work. In other words, they were no longer responsible for activities such as extracurriculars or field trips.

The province responded by locking students out of school on December 5, claiming work-to-rule made for an unsafe environment. That move came under fire—by students, parents and opposing political parties—and after hundreds protested outside Province House the government quickly back-pedalled.

Hundreds of Nova Scotian students have shown their support for teachers, including participating in walk-outs and rallies. Other students are calling for teachers to end work-to-rule as soon as possible.

A mass rally featuring NSTU members, supporters and any and all available union members is being planned for noon outside of the Legislature. It's expected to be one of the largest political demonstration in Nova Scotian history.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Children locked out of school by province

McNeil government shuts down all public schools to avoid union action from teachers.

Posted By on Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Premier Stephen McNeil reading to students. - VIA THE PREMIER'S FACEBOOK
  • Premier Stephen McNeil reading to students.
  • via the premier's Facebook

Instead of locking out unionized teachers, the Liberal government has decided to lock out Nova Scotia’s students.

All public schools in the province will be closed starting Monday, December 5. Education minister Karen Casey made the unprecedented announcement at a press conference held Saturday morning.

The province says the planned work-to-rule action by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) is a public safety issue. Work-to-rule would have limited teachers to only perform contractually-mandated work, and the NSTU had directed staff to show up 20 minutes before and leave 20 minutes after classes. But leaving kids unsupervised violates the Education Act, claims Casey, and that takes precedence over labour negotiations. Students on school grounds would be “left at risk,” said the minister.

"The safety of all of our students is paramount," said Casey. "If only one student is stranded by the action directed by the union, that would be one too many."

It’s an unusual admission from the province that the current school system is apparently unmanageable without teachers working above-and-beyond the terms of their contract.

The legislature has also been recalled for an emergency meeting to rush through a new bill designed to end any future strike action by the NSTU. The “Teachers’ Professional Agreement Act” will impose the tentative agreement reached with NSTU’s leadership in October. Teachers overwhelming voted down that agreement and moved to strike later in the month.

According to a tweet by PC MLA Chris d’Entremont, ramming through the new legislation will take at least a week, and possibly longer as the bill will likely face heavy opposition every step of the way by NDP and Progressive Conservative MLAs.

Parents now have fewer than 48 hours to figure out childcare arrangement for Monday morning, and likely the rest of the week.

The 9,300 members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are still required to show up for work on Monday despite not having any students to watch over.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Auditor general report slams province over plans for new schools

Facilities not needed were approved without reason. Late, disjointed P3 decisions could cost hundreds of millions.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 4:24 PM

Stephen McNeil during a visit to Prospect Road School in Halifax. - VIA THE PREMIER'S OFFICE
  • Stephen McNeil during a visit to Prospect Road School in Halifax.
  • via the premier's office

A report from Nova Scotia’s auditor general says the provincial government is doing a poor job planning for the future of its schools.

The report, released Wednesday, says the department of Education and Early Childhood Development has “an overall casual approach to decision-making” and is without a longterm capital planning process. Auditor general Michael Pickup says that’s “led to inconsistent results.”

Among those inconsistencies is a failure to prepare for the end of the province’s P3 school leases. All 39 of those public-private partnership leases are coming to an end in the next few years, and advanced notice needs to be given by the province if it intends to purchase the schools, renew the leases or return them to the private sector.

But despite having 17 years to prepare for the day, Pickup’s office found the province has failed to meet the P3 notification deadlines due to “late, disjointed and inadequate” decision making.

“[Government] delayed to the point where school boards are rushed to make their choices and the province is forced into a weaker negotiating position with the private service providers, thereby costing tax payers an unknown further amount to obtain the necessary delays and extensions,” writes the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).

The province has already agreed to purchase 25 of the 39 P3 schools, at a total cost of $149 million. Pickup’s report pegs the total taxpayer cost for the P3 school system at $700 million so far, and says Nova Scotia will possibly spend an additional $200 million more to buy back all the schools.

The scathing report also criticizes Nova Scotia’s lack of long-term planning for, and limited information on the conditions of, the province’s 388 schools.

Then there are the four school projects worth $63 million that were approved by Nova Scotia’s Executive Council, jumping ahead of much higher-priority undertakings. Two of those are new schools in the ridings belonging to premier Stephen McNeil and Education minister Karen Casey.

“We are lost to understand why these schools were approved given the analysis provided to us,” writes the auditor general’s office in its report.

Pickup also took aim at the new Eastern Passage High School, which was approved by the previous NDP government in 2012 “despite no analysis supporting it.” A 2010 report from the Halifax Regional School Board found there was no need for a new school in Eastern Passage. The Liberal government awarded a contract to build the unnecessary $21-million school back in September.

“No one at the Department [of Education] could tell us what led to the desire for a new Eastern Passage High School,” reads the OAG report, “but the evidence provided prior to that decision consistently showed it was not necessary.”

The new school, set to open in 2018, will empty out nearby Cole Harbour and Auburn high schools, reducing enrollment by up to 50 percent and causing big problems for the district’s ongoing review process.

“The school board will now have to make difficult decisions regarding the future of multiple schools at all levels across the region to avoid redundant space rather than focusing on other areas in need of attention,” says the OAG, which recommends an immediate review of the EPHS decision.

The province, in response, says that it’s honouring the capital construction commitments made by the previous government and won’t be putting that EPHS decision under review. In a news release, Pickup says he’s “very disappointed” with that decision, which will have “such a negative impact on schools in the surrounding areas.”

The poor report card from the OAG comes just days before Nova Scotia’s teachers are set to enact work-to-rule job action after contract negotiations with the Liberal government fell apart late last week. Hundreds of Nova Scotia’s school kids are planning a walk-out on Friday morning in solidarity.

Stephen McNeil, in Boston today for that city’s Christmas tree lighting and to try and sell the province to New England's business leaders, was unavailable for comment. The premier was scheduled to go to Washington, D.C. after Boston, but is cutting his trip short to be back in Nova Scotia on Monday in response to the teachers union’s labour action.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Talks break down between province and teachers

NSTU members could begin strike action as early as December 5.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 25, 2016 at 8:40 PM

Members of the NSTU at a rally in Halifax on Labour Day. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Members of the NSTU at a rally in Halifax on Labour Day.
  • via Facebook

Negotiations for a new collective agreement between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and the province have broken off.

The two sides had met this week with a conciliator to try and stave off a strike. A work stoppage could now happen as early as December 5, though what form that will take has yet to be announced by the NSTU.

“Government invited us back to the bargaining table but remains unwilling to negotiate working conditions into our collective agreement,” the teachers union writes in a press release. “Teachers have been crystal clear. They want real, concrete improvements to the system. They want to teach, not more empty promises and rhetoric.”

Two previous agreements from the province that were recommended by union leaders were rejected outright by NSTU rank and file.

In a press release from the premier’s office, Stephen McNeil said he was disappointed a new agreement couldn’t be reached and blamed the NSTU for walking away from the table

The premier says the province’s most recent proposal included everything in the NSTU’s previous agreement plus an extra $10 million to address classroom conditions, with the spending of that determined by a working group of teachers, school boards, NSTU and the department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

“The Nova Scotia Teachers Union continued to ask for more and presented a proposal that the province simply cannot afford to pay,” writes the premier.

The NSTU says information on what could be the first ever province-wide teacher strike will be released next week.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Doulas locked out of Nova Institution for Women

Pre- and postnatal support services cut off for inmates without explanation, says volunteer.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 4:46 PM


Female inmates at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro no longer have access to doula services, and the doulas don’t know why.

“We’re available, but since the new warden took over in June we haven’t been allowed to meet with anyone,” says Martha Paynter, a coordinator with the volunteer group Women’s Wellness Within (WWW) who were offering pregnancy and postpartum support services to several inmates at the corrections facility since last October.

According to Paynter, there have been four women at the prison who were pregnant or had babies since June who haven’t been offered any doula support.

“We’ve been feeling terrified for these women and their babies,” she says. “These women, almost always, the majority have severe mental health issues...the majority have histories of sexual and physical go through birth and breastfeeding without support is very traumatizing.”

Women’s Wellness Within is a partnership between IWK midwives and volunteer doulas, the Elizabeth Fry Societies of Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia, the Chebucto Family Centre and the Halifax branch of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. The group has provided volunteer doula services for female inmates over the last year at Nova, and since 2014 at the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Burnside.

Those services include everything from pre-natal education (such as the basics of breastfeeding and how to hold a baby), to support during labour and postpartum follow-ups. According to a press release WWW sent out on Monday, the program was provided at no cost to Correctional Service Canada. The organization says that so far, no reason has been given as to why inmates are being denied access to volunteer health workers.

“No justification was given. Services were cut without notice,” reads the release. “Nova is denying these women the support of trained, cleared volunteers.”

Paynter says phone calls and emails to the new warden have gone unreturned. She isn’t sure why WWW is being stonewalled, but speculates it’s because the group has asked to formalize its relationship with the Nova Institution via written agreement. Having something down on paper—like WWW has with the prison in Burnside—is an important step in applying for grants to keep the doula program operational, says Paynter.

“Just to apply for funding we need to have a written agreement that this exists.”

Correctional Service Canada spokesperson Shelley Lawrence wasn’t able to get back to The Coast before publication with any details about the doula program at the Nova Institution, or Paynter’s concerns. A message left with the warden’s assistant was also unreturned. We’ll update the post if we hear back from them.

The Nova Institution for Women in Truro is one of five multi-level security corrections facilities for women across Canada.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Conservationists sound off on proposed Keji clearcuts

Advocates say damage outside the park could still affect wildlife within it.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 4:52 PM

If these trees fall in a forest, does anyone care? - VIA NOVA SCOTIA
  • If these trees fall in a forest, does anyone care?
  • via Nova Scotia

No forest is an island; entire of itself. While the Department of Natural Resources has given the go-ahead on 94 hectares of a proposed clearcut near Kejimkujik National Park, and even though no cutting will be done in the park itself, Chris Miller warns there may still be consequences for the much-loved area.

“None of those hundred hectares should be approved for clear-cutting,” says Miller, a national conservation biologist with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

“It’s the sort of place that we need to be really careful how we manage, and that includes around the edges of the national park as well as within it.”

Even if the damage is done outside the park, the ecological impact doesn’t stop at the border, says Miller. There’s been plenty of research on the topic of “edge effects”—when one area is being conserved but the places that surround it are not so it becomes an “island” of sorts.

“It’s really important that our protected areas are interconnected with other protected areas so that there’s the opportunity for wildlife to move freely between,” explains Miller. “There’s all sorts of reasons why we need to be concerned about heavy industrial disturbances right on the border of our protected areas.”

Parks Canada writes via email that it’s been in contact with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources regarding the harvest plans next to Keji, and will “continue to communicate with NS DNR to discuss the mitigation of possible risks to the ecosystem of the national park.”

Raymond Plourde, wilderness coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, has similar worries as Chris Miller. While he feels the Nova Scotia government has done well in terms of protecting wild areas, he says the province isn’t so good at protecting places in between to allow “corridors” for the wildlife.

“The latest clearcut right up against a protected area—in this case, Keji—just shows how completely out of touch the department and the government is with conservation science,” says Plourde.

Isolated spots of biodiversity could also lead to problems for the flora and fauna in the long-run.

“The result is that you have these different wildlife and plant species that cannot reach one another and cross-fertilize and share genes,” explains Plourde. “The gene pool becomes stressed. Ultimately, they become weaker and more susceptible to disease or other negative factors.”

This is especially concerning, Plourde says, due to the ever-growing list of endangered species in the province. “Wildlife population are collapsing, and it’s largely because man has commandeered most of the habitat.”

According to Miller, the region near Kejimkujik has the largest concentration of species at risk in Nova Scotia. On top of that, the issue goes beyond Keji. DNR has proposed or approved clear-cutting up to the borders of 15 other protected locations, including Shelburne River Wilderness Area and Indian Man Lake Nature Reserve.

“There’s a trend here, and that is industry is knocking at the door of our protected areas. And that should concern everybody,” says Miller.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nova Scotia’s teachers are ready for a strike

Union members overwhelmingly vote in favour of work stoppage after latest offer from the province rejected.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 12:34 PM

Some iStock students, expressing solidarity with NS teachers. - VIA ISTOCK
  • Some iStock students, expressing solidarity with NS teachers.
  • via iStock

A strike vote of 96 percent on Tuesday means Nova Scotia’s 9,300 teachers could be walking off the job as early as December 3.

“Public school teachers have spoken loud and clear,” said NSTU president Liette Doucet in a press release. “We feel strongly about providing better education to Nova Scotia’s students and are willing to take action to make meaningful change for the learning and teaching environment in this province.”

The provincial government has twice reached a tentative agreement with NSTU negotiators, but both deals have been subsequently rejected by members. The union’s contract expired in 2015.

Doucet writes that free and fair collective bargaining, maintaining benefits and a reasonable salary package are all points of contention in the latest negotiations, as is freeing up resources for teachers to work with students.

“Teachers haven’t been genuinely consulted in government decisions affecting classrooms and schools and as a result we are spending less time doing the things that matter most to students.”

Education and Early Childhood Development minister Karen Casey called the vote a “disappointment for parents and students, and for government” in a press release, and claimed the education of Nova Scotia’s students remains top priority for government.

“The teachers' union admitted a strike will cause short-term pain for students,” writes Casey. “That's not the best way to address challenges in our classrooms. The best way to do that is by working with us to avoid disruptions for today's students.”

Voter turnout on Tuesday was 107 percent, allowing for substitute teachers working who were also allowed to cast a vote.

According to the union, the last strike vote was on October 3, 2002. There has never been a province-wide teachers strike.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Halifax Needham by-election called for August 30

The race to replace Maureen MacDonald’s seat in north end Halifax is officially on.

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2016 at 8:56 PM


Well, at least it won’t be a long campaign.

On the Saturday morning of Natal Day weekend, premier Stephen McNeil has announced a by-election for Halifax Needham on Tuesday, August 30.

It’s expected all five registered parties will nominate candidates, though at the time of this morning’s release Elections Nova Scotia said there was only one was officially registered candidate: Rod Wilson, who’s running for the Liberals.

Wilson is a physician and executive director of the North End Community Health Centre. He last spoke with The Coast this past winter, when the NECHC was in dire need of an increase in provincial funding to fix a failing roof.

Former RCMP and police officer Andy Arsenault has already been announced as running for the Progressive Conservatives, campaigning on a reinvigorated film industry and promises of “Making Halifax Needham a safer place to live.”

“We have people afraid to be outside after dark, seniors who don’t want to leave their homes and young people who are looking for positive role models,” Arsenault writes in a press release.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, have put forward Lisa Roberts to try and regain Halifax Needham. Executive director of Veith House, Roberts is also a former journalist.

“The NDP has deep roots in our community, which is where I’m raising my kids and working to make a difference,” Roberts writes in her own press release. “I would be proud to represent Halifax Needham.”

Halifax Needham has been without an MLA since Maureen MacDonald retired back in April after 18 years in the Legislature.

No word yet on whether the Liberal government will call for a general election this fall to complement the municipal and school board elections happening across the province on October 15.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Emergency meeting needed to investigate hiring practices, says MLA

Tim Houston has some questions about Marilla Stephenson’s new job.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 4:23 PM

Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston, rest of province, curious how Marilla Stephenson got her latest job. - VIA PC CAUCUS
  • Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston, rest of province, curious how Marilla Stephenson got her latest job.
  • via PC caucus

Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston is calling for an emergency meeting of the Legislature's Standing Committee of Public Accounts, to investigate how Marilla Stephenson got her shiny new $106,000-a-year job.

Houston, a member of the public accounts committee, has sent a written request for the emergency meeting to chair Allan MacMaster to examine the hiring practices of the province’s Executive Council Office and the Public Service Commission.

“Nova Scotians expect public servants to be hired based on merit in a fair and transparent manner,” writes Houston in a press release. “What we’re seeing is a troubling pattern where fair hiring practices are routinely circumvented and even broken so that certain people can be hired, promoted or given pay increases.”

Former Chronicle Herald columnist Stephenson was hired as the government’s new managing director of corporate and external relations earlier this month, after being asked by members of the hiring committee for her feedback on the newly-created position’s job description. The job was posted internally to staff of the Executive Council Office, and Stephenson was the only applicant.

A freedom of information request by the Nova Scotia General Employees Union and written about by the CBC’s Michael Gorman detailed the correspondence between senior government officials and their applicant.

Stephenson was previously working an 18-month contract as part of Ivany Report think tank the One Nova Scotia Coalition before this job. As Gorman reports, Stephenson’s contract was scheduled to expire on March 31, which would have made her ineligible to apply for the new position as a current staffer. However, her contract was extended for another three months.

Premier Stephen McNeil has told reporters there was nothing underhanded about the hiring procedure, but critics and opposition members are crying foul.

Jason MacLean, president of the NSGEU, called the hiring unfair on Information Morning. Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie issued a release calling on McNeil to fully release all the currently-redacted emails between communications staff and senior officials regarding the hiring process.

“If the Premier has nothing to hide then he should release all the emails,” writes Baillie. “Give Nova Scotians the information and let them judge it for themselves.”

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nova Scotia creates new supports for transgender employees

Provincial guidelines come on the same day the federal government enshrines gender identity and expression in Canada’s Human Rights Act.

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 1:59 PM

The new guidelines require the province to, whenever possible, provide easily-accessible, gender-neutral washrooms for public sector workers. - VIA ISTOCK
  • The new guidelines require the province to, whenever possible, provide easily-accessible, gender-neutral washrooms for public sector workers.
  • via iStock

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Nova Scotia’s provincial government has published its new Guidelines to Support Trans and Gender Variant Employees.

The document is designed to ensure an equitable, safe, inclusive and respectful workplace for those in the public sector, and applies to more than 10,000 employees, managers and deputy department heads who work for the province.

“Government is committed to providing a workplace that values diversity and is free from discrimination,” Public Service Commission minister Labi Kousoulis writes in a press release. “We’re very proud that Nova Scotia is a leader among provincial and territorial government in increasing awareness of diverse gender identities and gender expressions in the workplace.”

Amongst other changes, the new guidelines state that employees are to be identified by the name and pronouns of their choice.

“Deliberately addressing an employee by the incorrect name(s) or pronoun(s) may be a form of discrimination,” the new guidelines helpfully points out, in case that wasn't already clear.

The new rules also say any activities or tasks based on or segregated by gender are to be avoided, and that management must support employees accessing and utilizing washroom and changing room facilities that match their gender identity. That will be accomplished by—whenever possible—providing easily-accessible, gender-neutral washrooms to public sector workers.

The Liberal government says Nova Scotia is the first provincial public service in Canada to launch such a set of guidelines. According to a workforce census conducted by the Public Service Commission, about one percent of Nova Scotia’s government employees identify as trans or gender variant.

“People are much more than the sum of their parts,” the new document reads. “Their lives involve multiple interconnected identities and experiences that contribute to a person’s unique lived experience.”

Elsewhere today, the federal government tabled new legislation that guarantees legal and human rights protection to transgender people across the country by including gender identity in Canada’s Human Rights Act.

“Today is about ensuring that all people—regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity—feel safe and secure and empowered to freely express themselves,” prime minister Justin Trudeau said in a written statement.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Might be a good time to quit: The price of smokes just went up

Nova Scotia government raises tobacco tax in new budget.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Smoking is bad for you. - VIA ISTOCK
  • Smoking is bad for you.
  • via iStock

If you still want to pack the darts, save your change. The price of cigarettes in Nova Scotia just went up.

Effective Wednesday, April 20, the cost of a single smoke is up by two cents, or about 50 cents extra a pack. The cost of a carton of 200 cigarettes will increase by four dollars.

The change was the only tax increase announced in Nova Scotia’s just-released budget. This augmentation of the tobacco tax (along with a four percent tax hike on cigars) is projected to generate an extra $15.8 million in provincial revenues.

“This is partially offset by falling demand for cigarettes and fine cut tobacco, projected to decline by 2.2 percent and 6.3 percent respectively,” reads the budget.

Revenue to the Lotteries and Casino Corporation is also expected to increase by $16.4 million in 2016-17. That’s due to “increases resulting from changes in the video lottery business line and increased ticket lottery sales.”

In other health news, the budget plans to commence the multi-year re-development and re-design for the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre. This year will see $3.7 million pumped into that project and the renovations going on at the Dartmouth General.

The downtown Halifax convention centre project, now expected to be complete by February 2017, will bring Nova Scotia $110.3 million in one-time revenue from municipal and federal contributions. That income will be thrown at the province’s debt, as a means of making it easier to borrow the money needed to build a new hospital later down the road. 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Province hands out $70,000 to combat sexual violence

Program grants announced for Annapolis Valley and South Shore organizations.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 12:11 PM

Acadia's student union executive team after Tuesday's funding announcement. - VIA COMMUNITY SERVICES
  • Acadia's student union executive team after Tuesday's funding announcement.
  • via Community Services

Six organizations in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore regions will receive $70,000 from the province to combat sexual violence.

Keith Irving, MLA of Kings South, announced the “Prevention Innovation Grants” Tuesday morning at Acadia University. The Wolfville university will receive nearly $27,000 to invest in prevention strategies focused around consent and coercion. Other grants are being distributed amongst organizations that serve both youth and underserved populations in their communities.

Kentville’s Valley African Nova Scotia Development Agency will receive $30,000 for a program focused on helping young men become advocates against sexual violence.

The grant program is part of the Nova Scotia’s new “Sexual Violence Strategy,” announced by the provincial government back in November, which aims to provide prevention education and support services. The government will invest a total of $1.2 million dollars into the program over two years.

Other organizations receiving funding are the YCMA of South West NS, the Sexual Health Centre of Lunenburg County, the South Shore Youth Advisory Committee and the Middleton Regional High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance. More organizations receiving funding will be announced later this year.

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