Motorists on Highway 101 in Hants County will have 11 kilometresof new twinned concrete pavement to travel on today, Oct. 2. Two new lanes of concrete roadway between Stillwater andEllershouse will be open to traffic by 6 p.m. — at reducedspeed. “The end is in sight for this phase of twinning on Highway 101,”said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works.”Once completed, we’re going to have a first-class section ofroad, with better safety and improved travel for motorists andtheir families.” The province opened 10 kilometres of the twinned road fromStillwater to Mount Uniacke on Sept. 22. Construction on both newsections is ongoing and the speed limit will remain at 80 km/huntil construction is completed in about three weeks. Motoristsare asked to use caution. Mr. Russell thanked highway construction workers, support staff,and the public for their hard work and patience. “Twinning 21 kilomteres of the highway in just over twoconstruction seasons is a great success story for Nova Scotians,”said Mr. Russell. “A lot of hard work has gone into this twinningproject and it’s been worth it.” An official opening of the twinned highway will take place laterthis fall. The Department of Transportation and Public Works highwaysdivision manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia. It maintains an inventory of 3,800 bridges and operatesseven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from districtoffices located in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney. TRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS -Twinned Section of Highway 101 Readyto Open
Annapolis County: Trunk 1, Deep Brook Trunk 1 in Deep Brook has been re-opened to traffic. It wasclosed earlier today, Oct. 12, due to fallen trees blocking theroad. -30- Annapolis County: MacKenzie Mountain Road MacKenzie Mountain Road, off Granville Road, has been re-openedto traffic. It was closed earlier today, Oct. 12, due to fallentrees blocking the road. Local Area Office: 902-825-4827 Fax: 902-825-3593 Local Area Office: 902-825-4827 Fax: 902-825-3593
Our gross domestic product grew by 1.7 per cent. Corporate profits were up by 4.6 per cent, before taxes. Consumer spending grew by 4.2 per cent. Retail sales grew by about four per cent. Employment grew by 1.3 per cent. Personal income grew by 3.5 per cent. $582,000 will go to regional growth initiatives $200,000 to investment attraction $218,000 to trade development, and $500,000 to fund a labour strategist and several other infrastructure initiatives Along with a growing economy, our responsible fiscal management is creating opportunities for Nova Scotia. We are forecasting a surplus of $158.5 million for 2007-08, all of which will go on the debt. Our net direct debt will decrease by $9.2 million. Since 1999, Nova Scotia’s total revenues have grown by almost 55 per cent, from $5 billion to $8 billion — or about five per cent annually. Our budget was just under $8 billion last year, up about $500 million over the previous one. Of this money, about $7 billion was spent on programs and services for Nova Scotians, including just over $3 billion — or about 43 per cent of our budget — for health care, with $1.4 billion going to Education and $868 million to Community Services. Just over 11 per cent, or $930 million, went to service the debt. Mr. Speaker, under the leadership of our premier and the prime minister, we reached a successful conclusion to two outstanding issues with Ottawa. Our successful negotiations regarding the Atlantic Accord mean a more secure future for the province. It means that Nova Scotians will be the principal beneficiaries of our offshore resources. It means that Nova Scotia can reach its potential as a strong contributor to the Canadian economy. We also settled a long-standing dispute on the Crown Share. A three-person panel is expected to rule on this issue shortly — resolving a dispute that has lasted more than 20 years. We have already outlined where any funds attributed to the 2007-08 year, or before, will be invested. At least 70 per cent of that amount will go to our debt. The remaining 30 per cent — to a maximum of $75 million — will be distributed to three important priorities. We have set up trusts to help us purchase protected lands, improve university infrastructure and provide grants to two offshore energy research associations to fund geoscience and marine research. Today, we are announcing our plans for any funds attributed to the Crown Share for the 2008-09 year and beyond. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that every cent of these funds will be applied to our debt. We are making this commitment today for a secure tomorrow. While the economic strengths of the past year will continue, so too will the challenges. The slowing U.S. and Canadian economies will naturally affect us here at home, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotia is forecast to experience real growth of 1.7 per cent in 2008. In Canada, real GDP growth is expected to slow to 1.9 per cent in 2008. Fortunately, offshore energy exploration from EnCana’s Deep Panuke project will provide a major economic boost. Other major capital investments, such as the Gays River gold mine and technology upgrades by many of our global communication partners, are expected to result in an increase of 24 per cent in non-residential capital investment. Nova Scotian exports will face challenges from the U.S. slowdown, exchange rates and pressures from rising energy and wage costs. Demographic trends show a decline in Nova Scotia’s population levels. When coupled with the western draw, this poses a challenge for our available workforce. Total revenues — including government business enterprises — are estimated to grow by 5.6 per cent over last year’s estimate. Provincial own-source revenues are rising — mostly as a result of income tax, HST revenues, and our offshore petroleum revenues. We expect total expenses to increase by 4.95 per cent. In the face of these uncertain economic times, it is rewarding to see our fiscal plan working. Mr. Speaker, our debt-reduction plan is on target. In 2000, we put in place a law that requires our budget to be balanced. And we have now done so for seven years running. We have also been prudent in the financial choices we have made. Past surplus funds have gone to paying down the debt. Strategic investments have been made in growing the economy. The results are impressive. This year, our forecasted surplus of $189.7 million will go to the debt. This disciplined approach to debt management is producing results. Our debt-servicing costs have dropped significantly. In 1999, 18 cents out of every dollar went to servicing the debt. Today, it is 11.2 cents. This coming year it will be down to 10.7 cents.This means more funds for the programs and services Nova Scotians use every day. There is still work to do, Mr. Speaker. Our debt load is still too high. We must be diligent in our debt management plan and can never lose sight of our long-term goal. We are making significant progress. Since 1999, Nova Scotia’s net direct debt — as a percentage of our gross domestic product — has declined from 48.7 per cent to 36.6 per cent. A 12-point drop and a major accomplishment, Mr. Speaker. Together, we have dramatically improved the amount of our debt relative to both our GDP and the proportion of our budget that services that debt. We can and will do more. The debt-management plan is vitally important to our future. The choices we are making today will have an impact on Nova Scotians for generations. That’s why our path to 2020 has solid fiscal planning and sound financial management at its core. Mr. Speaker, we know that a competitive tax system is vital to attracting investment. That is why we are continuing with a number of initiatives that will ease the tax burden faced by Nova Scotians — at a pace we can afford. These measures will help to make this province the best place in which to live, raise a family and do business. For the second consecutive year, the basic amount exempted from personal income tax will increase by $250 to a total of $7,731 for 2008. By 2010, the basic personal exemption will increase by $1,000 over 2006 amounts. Additional credits will also be increased in line with the basic personal exemption — including the spousal, dependent, pension, disability, and caregiver amounts. Mr. Speaker, this will mean an additional $32.3 million in the hands of Nova Scotians in this coming taxation year. We also want students to stay and work here in Nova Scotia after they graduate. In fact, we know about 70 per cent of our graduates do exactly that. It’s part of what makes us such an attractive place to do business. That’s why we doubled the graduate tax credit to $2,000, for a total of $14.3 million in tax relief this year for young Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, we owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteer firefighters who serve our communities so selflessly every day. This year, the volunteer firefighters tax credit is being increased to $375 for 2008, up from $250 last year. We also recognize the contribution of ground search and rescue organizations. That is why I am pleased to extend this tax credit to members of ground search and rescue teams across Nova Scotia.They too will enjoy a $375 tax credit for this year, and a $500 credit for 2009. Mr. Speaker, the extension of this credit will provide about $600,000 in benefits this year, and will return a total of $3.9 million in taxes to these brave men and women in 2008. Starting in 2009, we will introduce a Transit Tax Credit. This credit will provide $1.5 million to encourage Nova Scotians to use our public transit services. To help seniors remain at home and independent, we intend to enhance the Seniors Property Tax Rebate Program. In the next fiscal year, we will double the cap from $400 to $800. We continue to reduce the large corporations capital tax, which will be completely eliminated by 2012. We are also extending the gas tax rebate to include all vehicles used by volunteer fire departments. Mr. Speaker, previously this tax was extended only to pumper trucks. Effective immediately, the rebate will now apply to all volunteer fire vehicles, as well as water craft. We will also extend the gas tax rebate to the Community Transportation Assistance Program. This vital transportation link ensures that seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income earners are able to enjoy their independence and stay connected with their communities. Mr. Speaker, we will amend our Income Tax Act to extend medical tax credits to include expenditures for alternative medical practitioners like naturopaths, effective January 2008. Mr. Speaker, to encourage Nova Scotians to be more physically active, the healthy living tax credit will be extended to all Nova Scotians in January of 2009. This credit — currently for expenses for children enrolled in sports — returned about $3.3 million to taxpayers last year, and is expected to put $8.6 million back into the hands of Nova Scotians when fully implemented. Nova Scotia is Canada’s fourth-largest film producer. Our experienced crews, magnificent locations, and top-notch producers are major attractions for potential filmmakers. We also offer one of the most competitive tax credits in the country — a 50 per cent credit — plus a 10 per cent bonus for productions outside of the Halifax metro area. Last year, more than $14 million was returned to the industry. We have also enhanced the digital media tax credit to help companies develop products like video games and websites. Beginning in 2008, a 50 per cent credit — with a 10 per cent regional bonus — on Nova Scotia expenditures is available. Much like the film tax credit, this initiative is designed to encourage producers to hire local workers. We also know that marketing our potential as a film location is critical to our success. That’s why we are providing an additional $200,000 to Film Nova Scotia to market the province, its people, and our potential around the globe. Mr. Speaker, these measures will go a long way to easing the tax burden for Nova Scotians. We also want to take a close look at the overall tax structure and its impact on Nova Scotians. To that end, I am announcing a review which will examine the total taxation picture. We will assess provincial taxes and fees on business and individuals. We want to determine if the current structure is fair, if it encourages investment and productivity, and whether it’s competitive. We want Nova Scotia to be the best place in Canada to do business. This isn’t about increasing taxes, Mr. Speaker. It isn’t about raising more money. It is about taking a comprehensive look at the tax system we have in place to ensure that it is fair, balanced, and can lead us to a prosperous and thriving economy. We will invest $500,000 to begin this review immediately. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is open for business. Our products, services, and expertise are in demand around the globe. Part of our story is our skilled and educated workforce. It’s one of the deciding factors that brought companies like RIM and the Citco Group to our province. The climate we’re creating for business tells the other side of the story. Our debt management, tax measures, and sound fiscal management are getting results. We’re also improving our regulatory system, Mr. Speaker. Last year, the paperwork burden on business was cut by 2.5 per cent. The paperwork burden on business is down to 600,000 hours from the 615,000 baseline. We will meet the 50 per cent target set for 2008 and will move to have all licences and permits meet the 10-day standard by 2010. We were also the first Atlantic province to partner with the federal government on BizPal. This free, web-based service guides business owners through the regulation process at all levels of government. This service is now available in Halifax and New Glasgow, with another 10 municipalities scheduled to come online by 2009. We have also been very successful in helping business create jobs. Over the past six years, our Industrial Expansion Fund — administered through the Department of Economic Development — has created or maintained about 11,000 full-time jobs in Nova Scotia. That’s a return of $1.89 for every dollar invested, Mr. Speaker. This fund generated $7.2 billion in sales, including exports, $1.7 billion in household income, and $213 million in provincial tax revenues. The fund directly contributed $688 million to our gross domestic product, or about 2.4 per cent. When combined with the efforts of Nova Scotia Business Inc., more than 22,700 jobs were created or maintained. That number rises to 39,300 when spinoff jobs are included. The trade team at NSBI has also arranged more than 2,000 meetings and helped more than 300 clients further penetrate export markets worldwide, resulting in more than $120 million in incremental export sales. It’s an impressive record Mr. Speaker. And it’s one we intend to build upon. We are investing $1 million to stimulate research, development, and innovation within small and medium-sized business. We know that one size does not fit all, that each business has unique needs as they adapt to a changing and global marketplace. That’s why our responsive tool kit is designed to recognize individual needs while helping to increase productivity through innovation. We will invest $400,000 to continue to help small business grow and prosper. Our Business Development Program will offer help with everything from training to market research. We are also adding $1.5 million to the operating budget of NSBI: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present my fourth budget as Minister of Finance and Nova Scotia’s seventh consecutive balanced budget. This budget is focused firmly on the future. It is a budget that advances our progress towards a new Nova Scotia — and the path to 2020. Our vision is clear — and one that will ensure that Nova Scotia is the best place in which to live, invest, raise a family and do business. We will seize today’s opportunities without compromising tomorrow. We will work together for a strong, competitive economy and a healthy environment, and we will foster vibrant, thriving communities. This budget keeps the priorities of Nova Scotians in mind and our fiscal health in order. It is a budget that helps us to achieve our goals over the long term. And, it is one that supports our five immediate priorities in the short term. We are also pleased to provide $250,000 for the Mi’kmaq Community Development Fund. This fund is a driver for new initiatives that will expand economic opportunities, support new partnerships, and build innovative capacity throughout the province. We also know how important research is to a thriving economy, Mr. Speaker. That’s why we established the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust. Last year, the province contributed $8.9 million to support research and innovation. To date, the NSRIT has provided $40 million to about 200 research projects worth $150 million. More importantly, Mr. Speaker, these funds are fostering a culture of excellence and are putting Nova Scotia on the leading edge through agencies like the Brain Repair Centre. We know that our province has been built on our traditional industries. Our path to 2020 recognizes the importance of these industries today and in the future. To assist industries and companies in transition, we will invest $34.9 million over three years from the new federal Community Development Trust Fund. From this, $750,000 will go to the Agriculture Industry Vitalization Strategy, with $250,000 slated for the beef industry. A $4.4-million investment will support the forestry transition program. Mr. Speaker, we will also use this fund — in concert with existing provincial investments — to help communities in adjusting to major changes in the manufacturing sector. Over the next four years, the province will invest an additional $3 million in the agricultural sector. We know the importance of supporting our own people and communities, Mr. Speaker. We will invest $350,000 to our Select Nova Scotia campaign to promote the benefits of local products, and to increase opportunities for agriculture growth and development. Our original investment is getting results. Consumer awareness around local products is up, and more Nova Scotians regard locally produced products as much better than imports. Nova Scotia’s wine industry is growing. Quite literally, Mr. Speaker. This industry has enjoyed a 300 per cent growth in production since 2000. We anticipate a doubling of farm and cottage wineries by 2010. Annual sales total $7.2 million with 277 acres in production. Along with the federal government, we will provide $3.8 million over four years to help fruit and grape industries grow and adapt to changing markets. Access to capital is important for any business, and that’s particularly true for the fishing industry. Unfortunately, a lack of access to capital is restricting succession in the industry. We want to change that. We will establish a direct-loan program that will help finance fishing licences for first-time entrants and new species for existing licence holders. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has more than 46 trillion cubic feet of natural gas potential both on and offshore. We’re streamlining regulations, and conducting valuable research that will help potential investors better understand our unique geography. To further market the tremendous potential of our petroleum resources, we will invest an additional $250,000. Mr. Speaker, a skilled and educated workforce is a magnet for business. That’s why we’re taking steps to make education more accessible. The Minister of Education recently outlined two major initiatives which will reduce the cost of obtaining a university education in Nova Scotia. We will invest $180 million to freeze tuition over the next three years. In addition, a $66-million Nova Scotia University Student Bursary Trust has been established. The trust will provide a maximum per-student benefit of $761 next year, $1,022 in 2009–10, and $1,283 in 2010–11 for Nova Scotians. Out-of-province students will benefit from a $261 bursary in 2010–11 as well as the tuition freeze. These measures will bring the cost of education for Nova Scotians to the national average by 2010. We are also providing debt relief to students, Mr. Speaker. Beginning August 1, students will have access to the second-lowest loan rate in the country, thanks to our direct-lend initiative. Students will save several hundred dollars over the life of their loans and will benefit from a two per cent cut in interest rates. We are also investing even more to make education more accessible, Mr. Speaker. Through our consultations on the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Program, we heard that non-repayable grants are the most effective way to promote access. We listened. We’re acting. Beginning this September, the first 20 per cent of a Nova Scotia student loan will be a non-repayable grant. The grant will average about $775 annually, to a maximum of $1,560. Students will automatically qualify for this grant when they apply for a Nova Scotia student loan. Additionally, students with dependent children will be eligible to receive up to $1,040 more in non-repayable assistance. We expect about 800 students will benefit. As well, the costs for students studying medicine, dentistry and law exceed available student assistance. To address this, additional loans of up to $5,655, or $140 for each week of study, will now be available. We will continue to expand the Nova Scotia Community College while keeping tuitions at affordable levels. We will complete our five-year growth plan, adding an additional 470 seats to the college — bringing capacity to 10,400 — and our total funding commitment for this year to $114 million. We will also invest $250,000 in our Research and Development co-operative employment program through the Department of Economic Development. This program targets students with science, engineering, and business backgrounds and links them with employers to fit their skills and further their opportunities in research and development. Mr. Speaker, the foundation our children receive in the early school years is vital to their healthy growth and development. Mr. Speaker, research tells us that early learning experiences improve outcomes later in life. To give more children the opportunity to benefit from an earlier start in school, we will invest $4.6 million to align the age of entry for Grade Primary with the majority of Canadian jurisdictions. In September 2008, children who will be five by Dec. 31 will be eligible to enter primary. In fulfilling this commitment, we are giving parents the option to choose what’s best for their child. To promote healthy active lifestyles for students, we will invest $500,000 to make physical education a mandatory high school credit. An additional $2.2 million will expand our highly successful Options and Opportunities Program. This program is building a strong and educated workforce by providing hands-on, meaningful experience to students with work-ready skills and a plan for the future. We are also pleased to expand our class-size initiative to Grade 4. Beginning this September, Mr. Speaker, class sizes will be capped at 28 students to ensure that students have more time to learn, and teachers more time to teach. Mr. Speaker, since we first implemented Learning for Life: Brighter Futures Together in 2005, we have invested $49 million to support our students. This year, an additional $4.3 million will be invested to further the goals of this important initiative. In recognition of the valued and important contribution that public libraries make to lifelong learning, our annual grant to libraries will be increased by $500,000. We will continue to raise the bar, Mr. Speaker. On our path to 2020, every student will have the opportunity to excel, to realize their full potential, and to succeed. Mr. Speaker, we are grateful for the work of Commissioner Merlin Nunn, and for his insightful recommendations on dealing with youth at risk. The potential these young people have to offer must not be lost. We must take steps now to intervene. To further implement the recommendations of the Nunn report, an additional $830,000 will target high-risk youth, and will allow us to hire more youth court workers, expand our youth attendance centre, and fund a unique program that will help children under 12 who are at risk. As well, we are investing an additional $1.2 million to expand projects targeted at prevention and intervention. Four regional specialists will work with the community to determine best use of these dollars for the maximum benefit of young people. Mr. Speaker, our crime prevention strategy is working. The 80 additional officers we put on the street last year disrupted 75 organized crime groups, laid more than 11,000 charges and made 159 arrests. They have seized — and taken out of circulation — drugs worth an estimated $7 million. More boots on the streets means less crime in our communities, Mr. Speaker. This year, we will add another 70 officers, at a cost of $8.2 million. By 2010-11, we will have 250 additional new police officers in our communities, at a cost of $28 million. We will also add $1.2 million to improve enforcement, intervention and step up our crime prevention efforts. Our stepped-up enforcement efforts are leading to a growing inmate population, Mr. Speaker. To help deal with the increasing number of inmates, an additional $1 million will be provided to the correctional facility in Yarmouth, and $500,000 will go to Burnside. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is critical to an effective law-enforcement system. This year, we will be pleased to welcome a new deputy chief medical examiner. We are also investing $525,000 to begin the design of a new forensic science facility here in Halifax. This state-of-the-art teaching facility will enhance our ability to serve the legal community and will support and service an organ tissue bank. Our path to 2020 gives every Nova Scotian an opportunity to live well and contribute in a meaningful way within a province that is caring, safe and creative. That’s what social prosperity is all about. To help achieve this, we will continue to strengthen services for low-income Nova Scotians. Our economy continues to improve and that means government can provide support so more people can become self-reliant. We know there is still work to do. We look forward to the recommendations our Poverty Reduction Working Group will bring forward in June. We are also taking steps, now, to help those in need. In each of the last four years, income-assistance rates have been increased. This year, an additional $768,000 will be spent to increase rates effective October of this year. Also this year, we will spend $19 million to provide affordable, quality child care. Of this, $6 million will create 250 new spaces so parents can go to work with their minds at ease. Our $31.7-million investment in Family Pharmacare will make prescription drugs affordable for as many as 180,000 Nova Scotians who have had no drug coverage in the past. This universal program — the first in the Maritimes — has many benefits, Mr. Speaker. It protects individuals and families from the high cost of drugs. It’s also good for business. The program will help to keep Nova Scotians in the workforce and available to small-business operators who do not currently supply drug coverage for their employees. This year, the $178-million Seniors Pharmacare program will protect more seniors against the rising cost of prescription drugs. Mr. Speaker, with an aging population, and the rising costs of drugs, we know these costs will rise. That’s why we are committed to funding 75 per cent of drug costs for seniors, so they may stay healthy and better manage illness. We are also spending $21.6 million in providing affordable housing for Nova Scotians. Our Residential Energy Affordability Program will help retrofit another 200 homes at a cost of $1.6 million, while $2.7 million will be spent on our Provincial Home Emergency Repair Program. As well, we are providing $300,000 to community-based service agencies funded by the Department of Community Services. The additional funds will help these organizations provide services, maintain and enhance operations. Mr. Speaker, in 2006, we introduced a program to help Nova Scotians with the rising cost of home heat. All Nova Scotians, regardless of income, received an eight per cent rebate on their total home energy costs. It is a good program, Mr. Speaker. It is also one that cost the taxpayers of Nova Scotia $75 million last year. Today, I am announcing changes to Your Energy Rebate to ensure this program continues to benefit Nova Scotians at a level taxpayers can afford. The eight per cent rebate on home heating costs will continue. Rebates for home heating fuel sources will not change, and will be delivered in the same way for oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, firewood, wood pellets and coal. We are fine-tuning the program to exclude non-heating electricity costs. The rebate for those heating with electricity will be applied on use over 27.4 daily kilowatt hours — the amount used in a typical Nova Scotian home for non-heating purposes. This change ensures that the rebate goes to provide relief on the electricity used to heat homes, which was the primary intent of the program. In order to give utilities the time to adjust to this change, and to ensure that there is minimal impact on those heating with electricity, we will temporarily suspend the program for electricity from May 15 to Aug. 31. We will still provide home heating relief for 300,000 Nova Scotian households, and we will save taxpayers about $28 million annually. The change ensures that we are providing the benefits Nova Scotians need at a price they can afford. Even with this generous rebate, we know some Nova Scotians still struggle with the costs of home heat. That’s why we’re taking even more steps to help low-income Nova Scotians with the creation of the Heating Assistance Rebate Program. Single Nova Scotians earning $15,000 or less, and families with a combined income of $25,000 or less will receive an allowance of $200 if they are heating with oil, propane or natural gas. For those using electricity, wood, coal, or pellets, a rebate of $150 will be provided. Seniors receiving the guaranteed income supplement will automatically be eligible for this rebate, Mr. Speaker. Those earning up to $2,000 more in each income category will still receive a rebate, which will be reduced by $25 for each additional $500 in income. This $10-million investment will help more than 50,000 households keep warm this winter. We’re not stopping there, Mr. Speaker. We intend to do more for those who need us most. Last year, we contributed $200,000 to the Salvation Army to help them provide home heating oil for those struggling with the rising cost of oil, which has spiked by 30 per cent in the past year. This donation led to an additional $115,000 and 35,000 litres of home heating oil from our private-sector partners, to whom we are most grateful. This year, we will double our contribution and will provide $400,000 to the Salvation Army. We encourage our private-sector partners to again contribute what they feel is appropriate. We are taking these steps, Mr. Speaker, because we will not allow anyone to be left behind. Mr. Speaker, timely access to health care is critical. That’s why we’re addressing wait times on a number of fronts. We will invest $3.96 million in a selfcare/telecare service. Patients will talk to nurses who can provide needed information and direct them to the appropriate place for service. In so doing, emergency-room visits will be reduced. We are well on our way to our goal of a wait-time guarantee of eight weeks for patients needing radiation therapy with the help of Health Canada’s $33 million. Two pilot projects are underway to improve access to diagnostic imaging and orthopedic services for patients. Additionally, we will establish a clinic where orthopedic patients can be assessed much faster and therefore receive faster treatment. A similar project in Alberta reduced wait times from months to just weeks. We’re confident that Nova Scotians will see significantly shorter waits as a result of this project as well. By realigning $1 million in our current orthopedic budget, 500 more patients will be treated through our demonstration project with Capital Health and Scotia Surgery. As well, capital health has just completed a one-day pilot project using operating room facilities at CFB Halifax Stadacona to perform minor surgical procedures. The pilot went very well and a longer-term arrangement is being pursued. Over the next two years, an additional $10 million will be invested in our Electronic Health Record System. This $28-million project will create an electronic health record for all Nova Scotians to support decision making and case management by health care professionals. To co-ordinate our many activities relating to wait times, we have hired a Chief Executive, Wait Time Improvements. This dedicated position will monitor progress and improve capacity, responsiveness, and efficiency. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia’s aging population presents challenges for our health-care system that must be addressed. That’s just what our Continuing Care Strategic Framework is designed to do. Over the next 10 years, we will invest over $262 million addressing the health needs of seniors. I am pleased to advise that construction has begun on 1,000 new long-term care beds and that all of these beds will be open and serving families by 2010. We are also providing expanded service for those wishing to remain at home, with a total investment of over $142 million for home-care services. Of this money, $2.2 million will expand access to home-care services, and $1.7 million will add 400 new adult day spaces across the province. With expanded capacity, we need additional staff. This year, we will continue to offer financial incentives and enable education options for Continuing Care Assistants at a cost of $4.7 million. Last year, more than 900 individuals were trained, with 1,000 expected to be trained this year. Of course, we are always mindful of our need to recruit and retain medical professionals. An additional $851,000 will expand nursing seats at St. F.X. and Cape Breton University, as well as practical nursing seats at the Nova Scotia Community College, bringing the total health budget for nursing seats to $8.1 million. We will also add nine new first-year residency positions at Dalhousie University with a $630,000 investment, bringing the total number of first-year residency positions to 110. Mr. Speaker, several other investments are focused on prevention, and the expansion of services for patients. We will invest $2.7 million to implement a new colorectal cancer screening program with the help of Cancer Care Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has the second-highest rate of colorectal cancer in Canada, and prevention and early detection are vital in managing this disease. I am also pleased to advise that we will now provide funding for patients needing the drug Avastin. We wish to provide help to those Nova Scotians and their families struggling with colorectal cancer. An additional $2.5 million will be invested in our integrated stroke strategy, which is focused on prevention, improved care and better quality of life for stroke survivors. Community-based health teams improve access to service, helping patients manage everything from chronic diseases to medications, and ensure access to other services and providers. To further improve primary health care, we’re investing an additional $2 million, for a total of $16.4 million. We now have a palliative care co-ordinator in place. This individual will work with all aspects of the system, helping to ensure that families are supported with care and compassion. We are also committing $200,000 to establish the Midwifery Regulatory Council. The goal is to integrate regulated midwives as part of our inter-disciplinary primary health-care teams. We are also helping seniors to remain at home through a $1.8-million investment in an expansion of our Caregivers Support Pilot Program. We know that a healthy body includes a healthy mind. We will expand mental health and addictions services across the province with a $2.8-million investment, with particular focus on children and youth. We are also adding $550,000 to allow the IWK and Capital Health to relocate mental health services to the community. Mr. Speaker, we spent over $3 billion on health care last year — or 43 per cent of our program spending. With the prospect of an aging population, we must take steps now to sustain the system that Nova Scotians will want and need in the future. That’s why we have conducted an operational review. We will find ways to increase efficiencies, enhance our use of technologies, and learn from best practices so that we more strategically use resources to maintain and improve the health of Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, one of the best ways to cut health costs is to promote healthy, active living. That’s why we were the first province in Canada to create a department dedicated to health promotion and protection. This year, the department’s budget will increase by $16.7 million, helping to fulfil our commitment to double the budget over four years. We are also providing a new investment of $2 million to revitalize rinks and arenas around the province. Last year, we announced our 10-year, $50-million commitment to finance the construction of significant sport and recreation facilities. Through our Building Facilities and Infrastructure Together — or B-FIT — program, we are helping communities with projects like the rebuilding of the new recreational facility in Queens. This year, we will increase funding to the B-FIT program to $7 million annually, an additional $2-million investment. Mr. Speaker, we are now investing $68 million over 10 years to promote the health and wellness of Nova Scotians. Halifax will be the proud host of the Canada Winter Games here in 2011. We plan to invest $11.1 million to support the Games, providing a sport legacy for the province and our talented athletes. The prevention of illness through our provincial vaccination program will receive a $2.1-million boost — pun intended, Mr. Speaker — to cover the rising costs of vaccines. With our federal partners, we are also allocating $2 million to continue our school-based immunization program providing the HPV vaccine to girls in Grade 7. Mr. Speaker, we are increasing services to the more than 5,000 Nova Scotians with disabilities. We will provide an additional $6 million to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities, fostering independence and increasing our capacity and infrastructure across the province. We know that volunteers make great communities even better, Mr. Speaker. That’s one of the reasons we’re celebrating volunteers this week. It’s also the reason why we are going to make it easier to recruit and retain volunteers. This year, we will design and implement a volunteer insurance program. Mr. Speaker, our path to 2020 includes a strategic, focused and fiscally responsible plan to address our infrastructure deficit. We currently spend over $400 million annually on capital assets, but there remains a significant infrastructure deficit. That’s why we are collaborating with Partnerships BC to evaluate 10 of our most critical projects. With Partnerships BC, we will find the best approach for moving forward, and the best value for taxpayers dollars, Mr. Speaker. Thanks to the federal Building Canada Plan, we can expect an injection of $411 million for infrastructure projects over the next seven years. To help assess the projects to be cost-shared with the federal government, we are developing a long-term strategic infrastructure plan. Also, we are increasing our infrastructure support to municipalities by $4.5 million over last year. Beginning this year, increases in education contributions will be capped at $8 million, which will save municipalities about $8 million this year. Through the 2007 memorandum of understanding, savings to municipalities from 2014 onward will be about $32 million a year. We intend to spend a total of $190 million on highway maintenance, while $145 million is earmarked for new construction. We also anticipate an investment of $35 million from the federal government, Mr. Speaker. Our commitment to pave 2,000 kilometres of roads within four years is well underway, Mr. Speaker. We have already completed 1,075 kilometres and expect another 425 kilometres to be finished this year. We continue to develop a new trunk mobile radio system. We’re investing $1 million in our plan to ensure fire, police, and emergency health responders have a reliable and comprehensive communications system provincewide. We are providing safe, healthy learning environments for students. Over the next eight years, we will invest $435 million to build and renovate schools. Since 2000, we have delivered 21 new schools, valued at $251 million. We continue construction on 12 new schools and renovations to 30 more. We are investing $51.7 million in capital projects for health infrastructure in several communities around the province. Mr. Speaker, we intend to give Nova Scotians the tools they need to succeed. We will invest $18.6 million to ensure that every corner of the province has access to high-speed Internet by the end of 2009. This year, an additional $10.7 million will be invested, making us one of the most connected jurisdictions in North America — ahead of every Canadian province and, with the exception of one, every other U.S. state. As a result Mr. Speaker, we’re bringing a world of opportunities to our doorstep. Our broadband project is just one example of how we are creating the winning conditions we need to succeed. And we believe strongly in our ability to succeed as North America’s Atlantic Gateway. To further our objective as a strategic, integrated and globally competitive transportation link, we will invest $80,000 to create the Gateway Council. As well, $1 million will be spent to raise awareness around the advantages of the Atlantic Gateway and maintain our excellent North American connections. Additionally, $50,000 will create an Atlantic Gateway Initiative at Dalhousie’s Centre for International Trade and Transportation. This course will further our objective to create a Logistics Centre of Excellence focused on engaging the academic community as well as research and development. A thriving cultural sector contributes to our economy in all regions of the province and is essential for healthy, vibrant communities. We’re committed to doubling the $8.2 million budget for culture over the next three years. We will invest an additional $1.2 million this year, another $2.4 million next year and an additional $4.6 million in year three. Our immigration strategy is getting results, Mr. Speaker. Last year, we welcomed almost 2,600 new immigrants. Our retention rates are improving, rising from 37 per cent in 2001 to 64 per cent in 2006. We’re increasing the funding for community-based settlement organizations by $500,000, and we’re adding $110,000 to further market our province. We will have one of the cleanest, most sustainable environments by 2020. It’s the law. In fact, we are one of only a few provinces that has set out our environmental and sustainability goals in law. We are already seeing results. Funds from the $42.5-million Ecotrust fund have been provided to support tidal development, to help the Halifax Infirmary convert to natural gas and for renewable energy projects like the Minas Basin Pulp and Power project. We have negotiated a $5-million fund for carbon capture and storage with the government of Canada. We are investing $450,000 in climate change. This will help us to meet our aggressive greenhouse-gas reduction target of 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. Our climate change action plan will be completed this year and will focus on using less energy and more renewables, like wind and tidal power. And, we have tremendous potential for tidal power in the Bay of Fundy. In fact, we have the best site for tidal power generation in North America. We have committed $5 million for a demonstration facility to evaluate tidal devices from around the world, which has led to an additional $3 million investment from EnCana. We’re moving forward carefully, Mr. Speaker, because we know the world’s largest tides are also one of our most precious resources. Mr. Speaker, our Renewable Energy Standard will almost double the amount of green energy in Nova Scotia over the next five years. This will mean that 100,000 homes will be powered by green energy and 750,000 tons of greenhouse gas will be displaced from our air. Already, these standards are resulting in wind turbine construction of over $1 billion. Through our gas market development fund, we are investing $1 million to help Saint Mary’s University convert to natural gas. Through Conserve Nova Scotia, we are spending $10.2 million on energy efficiency measures. To encourage greater use of public transit, we will be investing $3 million in an incentive program to help municipalities provide public transit in unserved and underserved rural areas. We will integrate environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. We’re investing an additional $400,000 to further support the goals and targets outlined in our legislation. We will do this because we know that true prosperity is a combination of people, the economy, and the environment. All must prosper if we are to ensure the quality of life for future generations. That’s also why we are developing a Coastal Management Framework and investing $200,000 for two coastal co-ordinators. Good coastal management will help provide economic growth while protecting our environment. As our legislation requires, we are developing strategies for the sustainable management of our forests, minerals, provincial parks and water resources, as well as our ecosystems. We are also increasing the amount of land protected in Nova Scotia. Our goal is to protect 12 per cent of total land mass in the province by 2015. We are well on our way, Mr. Speaker. Our path to 2020 is rooted in the infinite potential of this province and our people. Today, we are making choices that will help us realize that potential. Our budget is balanced. We are lowering our debt. We are making prudent spending choices. We are laying a sound and solid fiscal plan for the future and for a new Nova Scotia. Thank you. We will protect the environment. We will reduce wait times. We will create safer, healthier communities. We will educate our students to compete and succeed. We will develop better roads and improve our infrastructure. We will do so within our means. Our spending choices are strategic. They are prudent and they are good for Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, this budget does not raise income or sales taxes. It protects the programs and services that are important to Nova Scotians. And it includes spending choices that will secure our future — and not compromise it. Mr. Speaker, this year we gave Nova Scotians the opportunity to give us their views on the budget. More than 1,200 individuals did so. Their input is very much appreciated. They told us they want investments in infrastructure, education, health care and the environment. They also told us they want a balanced budget. And they want our debt reduced. Mr. Speaker, we have listened. We’re taking action. We have enjoyed some positive economic results during the past year.
Adult learners and the literacy organizations and volunteers who support them were honoured today, Sept. 8. The event was hosted by the Department of Labour and Workforce Development as part of Nova Scotia’s 18th annual International Literacy Day celebrations. “Adult learners are part of Nova Scotia’s educated and highly skilled workforce, and their return to learning contributes to the growing economic prosperity here in Nova Scotia,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. Ms. Casey presented the Council of the Federation Literacy Award to Harris Hayne of Guysborough. The annual award recognizes an adult learner from Nova Scotia who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in literacy and made significant contributions to school, workplace or community. After 20 years, Mr. Hayne returned to school to achieve his dream of becoming a power engineer. Starting with a grade seven education, he contacted the Antigonish Adult Learning Association for help and a year later, he graduated with his high school diploma. “Because of the support I received from the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning and the Antigonish Adult Learning Association, I have come a long way in a short period of time,” said Mr. Hayne. “I am living my dream, and that is a great feeling.” Mr. Hayne is now on the honour roll as a power engineering student at the Nova Scotia Community College. Several other literacy awards were presented during the celebration. The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning Community Literacy Volunteer Award honours volunteers in community-based adult literacy programs. This year’s recipient was Sandra Milbury of Windsor. The school is operated by the Department of Labour and Workforce Development. The Patricia Helliwell Volunteer Tutor Award honours community-based adult literacy program volunteers. It is named for Ms. Helliwell who was a tutor for 14 years. This year’s recipient is Mike Giffen of Kentville. The Valley Community Learning Association received the 2008 Nova Scotia Family Literacy Achievement Award for its work in family literacy. Family literacy programs support family members in their efforts to improve their own literacy and help foster a love of learning in their children. The Seniors’ Literacy and Learning Partnership Award recognizes partnerships between learning networks and seniors’ organizations that provide upgrading programs for older learners. The Department of Labour and Workforce Development and the Department of Seniors presented the 2008 award to the Lake Loon/Cherry Brook Seniors’ Group and the Dartmouth Learning Network. Four categories of Ambassador Awards were presented by the Department of Labour and Workforce Development. Each recipient received a $200 gift certificate for courses at the Nova Scotia Community College. Workplace Education Awards are presented to Nova Scotians who are committed to life-long learning through workplace education. The 2008 recipients are Earl Leslie, Canada Bread, Bedford; Margaret Pettipas, Colchester Regional Hospital, Truro; and Garnet Rafuse, David Brown United Ltd., Kentville. The Champion Award recognizes those who act as a champion for workplace education. This year’s recipients are the TrentonWorks Transition Centre staff including Bernadette Aikens, Ernest MacInnis, Bonnie Matheson and Fielding Smith. The One Journey Program Award is for an individual who is enthusiastic about learning, overcomes difficulties to participate in training, and achieves personal learning goals. This year’s recipient is Clarke Garrett from the Regional Residential Services Society in New Glasgow. The Alex MacDonald Award is named for the Nova Scotian who helped found the Federation of Labour’s Literacy Program. The recipient must be from a unionized work site, demonstrate the qualities embodied by Mr. MacDonald, and make a significant contribution to the labour movement through workplace education. This year’s recipient is Sharon Hubley from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. She is a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 187, Highway Workers. Nova Scotia invests more than $6.8 million each year to help adult Nova Scotians improve their literacy skills and earn their high school diplomas. Programs are free and offered at more than 150 sites across the province in French and English. The province also invests more than $500,000 in partnership with business and labour groups to support adults who participate in education programs offered at more than 80 workplaces across the province.
Several large road construction projects are winding down this month but there are still many jobs keeping the province’s road builders busy in the months ahead. In Cape Breton, a $6,060,752 contract was awarded for paving and widening a section of the Cabot Trail in Victoria County and a $4,758,905 contract was awarded to complete the twinning of Highway 125 near Sydney. Work is also continuing on several large projects including the twinning of Highway 104 in the Antigonish area, an $84.8 million project scheduled for completion in fall 2012, and the replacement of the Little Bras D’Or Bridge near Baddeck, a $10,205,847 project to be completed in 2011. “By working closely with our funding partners and the roadbuilding industry we’re creating good jobs for Nova Scotians and keeping the economy rolling,” said Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “This co-operative approach is paying benefits across the province.” According to the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association, a typical $2-million paving contract generates 60 direct jobs and about $200,000 worth of business for the trucking industry and significant spin-off expenditures for local businesses. This year’s $310-million capital construction budget is the second largest in the province’s history after a record $325-million investment in highway infrastructure in 2009. Work in other areas of the province includes the latest twinned section of Highway 101 that opened July 29, and a newly twinned section of Highway 104 in the Pine Tree Road area of Pictou County, expected to open in the next few weeks. In addition, work will soon be completed on the Larry Uteck Interchange on Highway 102 near Bedford. “We appreciate the efforts of the construction industry and the patience of Nova Scotia drivers as these projects continue,” said Mr. Estabrooks. “These jobs are vital to Nova Scotia’s well-being.”
Josie McKinney has been appointed a Crown attorney in the Yarmouth office of the Public Prosecution Service. The appointment was announced today, Jan. 6, by Martin Herschorn, director of Public Prosecutions. “I am pleased to have Ms. McKinney join our team,” said Mr. Herschorn. “Her prosecutorial experience and enthusiasm will be very beneficial to the Public Prosecution Service.” A native of Harvey, N.B., Ms. McKinney graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 2004 with a bachelor of philosophy in interdisciplinary leadership studies and graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2006. She articled with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice and Public Prosecution Service. In 2007, Ms. McKinney was appointed a staff lawyer at the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic where she practiced criminal and administrative law. While at Dalhousie, Ms. McKinney was a law student caseworker at Dalhousie Legal Aid providing legal representation, under the supervision of lawyers, to low-income families on matters of criminal law, family law and tenant rights. She also tutored law students in the areas of criminal law and evidence. Ms. McKinney was one of four law students to represent Dalhousie law school at the Gale Cup Moot Competition in 2005-06.
Best Buy Canada (à Dartmouth) : Prix Entreprise bénévole par excellence pour encourager et récompenser les employés qui font du bénévolat et faire du bénévolat une priorité de l’entreprise. Sheffield Mills : Prix Collectivité bénévole modèle pour ramasser des fonds destinés au développement communautaire et aux organismes communautaires et de bienfaisance locaux lors des activités annuelles. Simon Dugas (Clare) : Prix Jeune bénévole par excellence pour être actif à l’école et agir comme représentant jeunesse au sein de nombreux groupes communautaires dans la région. Mary MacDonald et John Hawkins, de Lower East Chezzetcook : Prix Famille bénévole par excellence pour l’aide apportée à améliorer leur collectivité au sein de plusieurs groupes, en particulier en ce qui a trait aux sentiers et aux espaces verts. Mme MacDonald a souligné que les effets positifs du bénévolat se font sentir partout dans la province. « Il y a tellement de gens qui aident de différentes façons et qui changent les choses dans toutes les facettes de notre collectivité, a déclaré Mme MacDonald. Bien qu’il soit agréable de recevoir une reconnaissance individuelle, j’espère que la journée permettra de faire valoir le travail incroyable de tous les bénévoles dans la province. » Aujourd’hui, 4 avril, à Halifax, les feux des projecteurs étaient tournés vers les bénévoles néo-écossais alors que les lauréats des prix provinciaux du bénévolat étaient honorés pour leur travail. « Le bénévolat fait partie de notre culture. Chaque jour, je vois comment des particuliers peuvent changer le cours des choses quand ils mettent tout leur cœur et tous leurs efforts au service d’une bonne cause, a déclaré le premier ministre Darrell Dexter. Au nom du gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de toutes nos collectivités, je vous dis merci. Chaque jour, vos gestes contribuent à vraiment faire de la Nouvelle-Écosse un meilleur endroit où vivre. » Les prix provinciaux du bénévolat sont le prélude à la semaine nationale du bénévolat qui commence le dimanche 10 avril pour se poursuivre jusqu’au 16 avril. La Nouvelle-Écosse continue d’avoir l’un des taux de participation bénévole les plus élevés au pays, avec un bénévolat supérieur à 55 pour cent dans beaucoup de rôles essentiels. « Cette année, les lauréats viennent de tous les milieux et de tous les coins de la province, mais le bénévolat est le fil conducteur qui les unit, a déclaré Marilyn More, ministre du Secteur bénévole. « L’exemple remarquable qu’ils nous donnent nous montre qu’il y a d’innombrables façons de s’engager et de changer le cours des choses. » En plus des prix remis aux lauréats dans les collectivités, quatre prix spéciaux ont été présentés à l’entreprise et aux personnes suivantes :
The province’s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) has ended an investigation into the Halifax Regional Police because the complainant was not seriously injured. On Dec. 15, 2012, Halifax Regional Police arrested a 47-year-old Middle Musquodoboit man after stopping a vehicle in Dartmouth on Chappell Street, between Richard Street and Wyse Road. There was an altercation. The man went to a doctor and believed the arrest left him with fractured ribs. He filed a complaint with SIRT on Dec. 21. However, an x-ray later showed his ribs were not fractured. SIRT received this information and informed the man. As a result, the investigation has been discontinued. SIRT’s mandate includes the investigation of serious injuries which may arise from the actions of the police. Serious injuries include fractures to limbs, ribs, head or spine. In this case, the injuries no longer fit SIRT’s mandate. Individuals who wish to complain to police about something that does not meet the SIRT mandate may file a complaint directly with the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner of Nova Scotia. They may also file a complaint at the police agency or with the local board of police commissioners in the municipality in which the incident occurred. SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald. SIRT can independently launch an investigation or begin one after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, or the Minister of Justice. It can also investigate after a complaint from the public. The Police Act requires the director to file a public report summarizing the results of the investigation within three months after it is finished. More information on the SIRT can be found at http://sirt.novascotia.ca .
Nova Scotia filmmakers received international acclaim and charted record-high levels of domestic production in 2012-13. Year-end results for fiscal 2012-13 show the province’s audiovisual industry generated $125 million in production, up from $115 million in 2011-12. Domestic production accounted for 80 per cent of total production activity, generating approximately $100 million, an increase of $3 million over the previous year. “Our filmmakers are exporting their projects around the world,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele. “The strength of our domestic industry is fueling growth, creating jobs and attracting both international productions and investment.” Domestic production covered the spectrum, including six feature films, 23 documentaries, 14 drama series, two lifestyle series, and five animation series. Over the past year, international audiences viewed many local productions. Blackbird, a feature film by local director Jason Buxton and producer Marc Almon, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, winning Best Canadian Feature Film. Blackbird also screened at Cannes Ecrans Juniors, a youth-focused film festival held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize. Blackbird was also the opening gala film for 2012 ViewFinders: Atlantic Film Festival for Youth. At the screening, one dollar from every ticket sold went to support Kids Help Phone. Halifax documentary filmmakers Edward Peill and Geoff D’Eon from Tell Tale Productions were invited by U.S. government officials to present their documentary Counterfeit Culture at an event focusing on intellectual property theft and counterfeit goods in Washington, D.C. After a screening of the documentary, the filmmakers took part in a question and answer session with employees from the U.S. State Department. The documentary has since won two awards at the US International Film and Video Festival, a Certificate for Creative Excellence, and the One World Award. The film industry in Nova Scotia is also celebrating another milestone in 2013. Canada’s first feature-length dramatic film, Evangeline, was shot in Nova Scotia 100 years ago. Directed by Edward P. Sullivan and William Cavanaugh, the silent film, based on Longfellow’s famous poem, was shot in Grand Pré, the Annapolis Valley, Cow Bay, and Eastern Passage. The film is now considered lost–no longer existing in archives or collections. “As pioneers of the Canadian film industry, Nova Scotia continues to innovate and lead,” said Cheryl Hodder, chair of the board of directors for Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia. “The ingenuity of our talented crews and the body of work produced in Nova Scotia continues to raise our profile and attract attention and investment to the province.” Guest productions generated almost $25 million and included feature films, documentaries, drama series, and animation series. “It is wonderful to celebrate these two very important milestones,” said Lisa Bugden, president and CEO of Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia. “Nova Scotia is an established and competitive filming destination with a dynamic, domestic industry. This is a strong foundation to build on for the future.” Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia is the lead development agency for the creative industries in the province. Providing a variety of loans, investments, programs and services, the agency works to support the growth and development of Nova Scotia’s creative enterprises.
Nova Scotia’s tall, green Christmas gift for Boston is wrapped and ready for sending after a celebration in Lorne, Pictou Co., today, Nov. 17. “This is a wonderful way for Nova Scotia to send a big thank you to the people of Boston for helping our province in our time of need back in 1917,” said Randy Delorey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, on behalf of acting-Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “We are grateful to Andrea and Bill MacEachern for donating this beautiful big tree to represent our province.” The 15-metre (49-feet) white spruce from the MacEacherns’ property is about 72-years-old. It will be given to Boston as part of Nova Scotia’s annual thank you for the city’s response after the 1917 Halifax explosion. Boston was quick to provide medical personnel and supplies in the aftermath of the explosion that killed 2,000 and left thousands more injured and/or homeless. “We are very proud and pleased to let our tree represent Nova Scotia in Boston,” said Andrea MacEachern. “I ran the Boston Marathon on its 100th anniversary in 1996, so there is a special connection for us and this is a big thrill,” said Bill MacEachern. The tree was cut on the MacEacherns’ property by staff and students from the environmental technologies program at the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus. The tree-cutting ceremony included Mr. Delorey, Pictou County Warden Ronald Baillie, more than 100 local school children, Pictou County’s Carillon Singers, a Nova Scotia conservation officer, and a visit from Santa Claus. Television meteorologist Cindy Day acted as emcee. A public send-off for the tree will be held at the Grand Parade in Halifax, Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 11:30 a.m. The Nova Scotia Mass Choir and Pictou County singer-songwriter, Dave Gunning, will perform. People are invited to sign a thank you book for Boston. The tree will also make a stop in Truro and Amherst for public-viewing opportunities. The tree lighting will take place on the Boston Common, Dec. 3, at a ceremony that attracts about 30,000 people and is broadcast live on the ABC television affiliate in Boston. Nova Scotians can help continue the tradition by recommending the perfect Nova Scotia tree for Boston, for future years. Anyone knowing of a white or red spruce or balsam fir that is 12 to 15-metres high (40-50 feet), with good symmetry, and easy road access, should contact their local Natural Resources office at www.novascotia.ca/natr/staffdir/offices.asp . Details on this year’s tree-cutting ceremony are at http://novascotia.ca/treeforboston. People can follow the tree’s travels on Twitter through @TreeforBoston and like the tree on Facebook at www.facebook.com/treeforboston .
New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed varsities and higher educational institutions to introduce identification mechanisms like a hologram of the institute and QR code in students’ certificates and degrees for proper verification and curbing duplication. UGC officials said that the move will also help in bringing uniformity across the higher education system in the country.”You are requested to introduce security features in mark sheets and certificates issued by the university to students enrolled in different programmes of study. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist”While such features are useful for the purposes of verification and curbing duplication, they also help in introducing uniformity across the system of higher education in the country,” UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain said in a letter to the Vice Chancellors. It said, “Introduce identification mechanisms like a photograph of the student, hologram of the institute and QR code in students’ certificates and degrees. “Such inscriptions will go a long way in uniformly making a student’s personal identity and other associated details,” he added.
PORBANDAR: Cyclone Vayu will not hit Gujarat as it changed its trajectory overnight and moved further into the sea, the weather department said. However, coastal areas in the state continue to be on high alert as strong winds and rough seas are expected for the next 24 to 48 hours. Over three lakh people were evacuated from the coastal district and the union territory of Diu on Wednesday. As many as 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed for rescue and relief operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted to say that the centre was constantly monitoring the situation. Apart from the NDRF, the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force and the Border Security Force too have been put on high alert. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceIt was “very likely” to keep moving in the same direction, but still skirt the coast with winds of between 135-145 kph and gusts of 160 kph, forecasters said. The Western Railways cancelled 70 trains and curtailed the journeys of 28 others. All schools and colleges along the coastline will remain closed until the warning has passed, and naval diving teams have been kept on standby. Flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla have been suspended for 24 hours from midnight. Cyclone Vayu made an impact in nearby Mumbai too, with nearly 400 flights being affected.
Cairo: Tunisia defeated Ghana 5-4 on penalties Monday with Ferjani Sassi converting the decisive spot-kick to end a 54-year Africa Cup of Nations losing streak against the Black Stars. After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Ismailia, Tunisia scored from all five penalties while Ghana substitute Caleb Ekusan had his attempt saved by Farouk Ben Mustapha, who came off the bench especially for the shootout. Victory was sweet for Tunisia as they had lost six times to Ghana in the African football showcase from 1965 after drawing the first meeting between the nations two years earlier. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherOn Thursday, the Carthage Eagles play giantkillers Madagascar in a quarter-final in Cairo with the winners meeting Senegal or Benin for a place in the July 19 final. Losing on penalties ended a Ghana run of six consecutive top-four finishes in the Cup of Nations and puts the future of coach Kwesi Appiah in doubt. Four-time former champions Ghana changed two of the team that began a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau that enabled them to pip Cameroon for top spot in Group F on goals scored. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenBoth alterations were on the left side of a 4-3-3 formation with defender Nuhu Kasim and midfielder Afriyie Acquah replacing Joseph Aidoo and Owusu Kwabena. Tunisia coach and 1980s France star Alain Giresse reacted to an embarrassing 0-0 draw with minnows Mauritania in their previous match by dropping four of the team. – Big surprise – A big surprise was the exclusion of forward Wahbi Khazri, who had been the outstanding Tunisian attacker in the group phase and scored one of their two goals. Bassem Srarfi, Naim Sliti and Karim Aouadhi were also relegated to the bench with Ghaylen Chaalali, Ferjani Sassi, Taha Yassine Khenissi and Anice Badri promoted. After early yellow cards for Ghanaian John Boye, the first player to be red-carded in the group phase, and Tunisian Dylan Bronn, the first half became a cagey, even affair. Ghana came close to scoring on 16 minutes when a Kasim header struck the post and Andre Ayew fired the rebound straight at goalkeeper Hassen Mouez. Andre Ayew was convinced he had put the Black Stars ahead on 41 minutes when he backheeled a cross into the net, but the referee ruled that Thomas Partey handled in the build-up. Replays showed the ball touching the chin of the Atletico Madrid midfielder rather than a hand and the disallowed goal infuriated the Ghanaians. Midway through the second half Giresse had second thoughts about the composition of his attack, which was making little impression, and sent on Khazri in place of Badri.
Gurugram: There are 1.5 lakh cases that are pending in Gurugram district courts. Most of the cases are petty offences of traffic violations, cheque bounce and property disputes.The recent revelation came in the view of Lok Adalat that will be organised on Saturday, July 13. Taking cognisance of the present state of affairs the district sessions judge RS Sondhi highlighted the importance of such sessions to be held on regular affairs. Judges have raised their concern that how the delay in dealing with smaller cases is amounting to bigger cases taking more time. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThere are cases in the court that have prolonged for five to ten years without any clarity of where the case is being headed. Top lawyers and certain judges at the courts however have also stated that there are various challenges that are increasing the number of cases on a daily basis. For long there is a demand for increasing the number of judges that are still less as compared to the number of cases being heard. According to sources, a district court judge on an average hears more than three to four cases in a day. What is adding to more difficulties is a large number of cases associated with juvenile crimes being transferred from juvenile justice board to district courts. Besides setting up the Special court there are also other initiatives that are being planned to reduce the number of cases at the city local courts. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderWith a large number of legal cases coming from rural areas of Gurugram, there are also plans to form village courts across rural parts of Gurugram. According to the plan a makeshift justice delivery system will be set up at certain villages in the Gurugram district. A cluster of three to four villages will be formed and the makeshift court that will be set up in different clusters. “The system of village courts (Gram Adaalats) has experimented in Kurukshetra, Haryana. We now plan to introduce this in Gurugram. We plan to send our senior judges and magistrates to these makeshift courts. There are large numbers of legal cases that are emanating from rural areas of the district. The village courts if successful will not only be beneficial in reducing the cases at the court but will also be useful for the rural citizens who have to regularly visit the District Courts for their cases,” said a top lawyer of the court. In January 2017, the foundation stone of new judicial complex was laid in Gurugram. Named the Justice tower it will be the largest judicial complex in North India and will house over fifty-five courts.
Mumbai: Malaika Arora shot to fame with her superhit dance number ‘Chhaiyya chhaiyya’ with Shah Rulh Khan in Mani Ratnam’s 1998 film, Dil Se. After all these years, superdancer Malaika has come out to reveal a shocking incident about the filming of the song. She was bleeding around the waist while dancing, she revealed. “I fell several times while shooting for ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’. I would sway right and left owing to the strong wind, and to avoid that, the team tied me with the train with a rope through my ghaghra. This was meant to help me balance and (stay in) sync with the train’s motion. Unfortunately, when I removed the rope, I discovered I had cuts along my waistline. I was bleeding, and everyone was worried,” she said, recalling the shooting for the iconic number on a reality dance show. Composed by AR Rahman and penned by Gulzar, ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’ made Malaika a dancing star in Bollywood. She would go on perform numerous other blockbuster dances – from ‘Maahi ve’ in Kaante to ‘Munni badnaam’ in Dabangg and the recent ‘Hello hello’ in Pataakha.
Thiruvananthapuram: As heavy rains pounded several parts of Kerala, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday issued a Red Alert in Idukki, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts on August 8. “These districts are likely to get extremely heavy rainfall of over 240 mm in 24 hours and may experience landslides,” an IMD release said. A woman died in Malappuram District when a tree uprooted and fell over her house, the District Management Authority said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Many places in Malappuram District are under water with some villages being isolated. Heavy crop damage was also reported from various parts of the district. The Makkootam ghat road in Kannur was also damaged in the heavy rains. “The traffic on the Makkootam ghat road has been diverted and the vehicles will have to take the Manathavadi road,” a revenue official said. Palakkad District also received heavy rains. The IMD also declared an Orange alert in various districts from August 6 to 9, includingin Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kasargod, Alapuzha, Idukki, Ernakkulam, Kannur and Thrissur districts.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has attached assets worth about Rs 300 crore in connection with its money laundering probe in an alleged ponzi scam involving a Telangana-based multi-level marketing group.The attached properties belong to promoter Nowhera Shaikh, arrested by the ED in the case, of Heera Group of Companies and others, and are spread across multiple states. The agency has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attachment of the assets valued at Rs 299.99 crore, it said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The attached assets comprise 96 immovable properties located in Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh worth Rs 277.29 crore in the form of agricultural lands, commercial plots, residential buildings, commercial complexes and balances in bank accounts worth Rs 22.69 crore,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said in a statement. The case pertains to the fraudulent money circulation scheme, called a ponzi or chit fund, allegedly perpetrated by the Heera Group in Hyderabad and the ED had filed a criminal case of money laundering in the instance based on multiple Telangana Police FIRs over allegations of illegally collecting deposits from lakhs of investors by promising high returns. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe federal probe agency said the group “collected an amount of about Rs 5,600 crore as unauthorised deposits from around 1,72,000 investors across the country by engaging a network of marketing executives and direct selling agents with a false promise of paying high rate of returns of 3 per cent per month or 36 per cent per year.” Shaikh floated multiple schemes and extensively advertised the schemes to lure the victims, it said. She launched 24 firms/entities under Heera Group and 182 bank accounts were opened in different banks at different parts of the country in the name of these two dozen entities, the ED alleged. “Ten bank accounts were also opened in foreign countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia for collecting these deposits and Shaikh did not possess any valid permission either under the Banking Regulation Act, Companies Act, RBI Act or from any other government agency such as SEBI etc for collecting deposits,” it said. Shaikh, the ED charged, started gold, food and textile trading businesses only to create the impression that she is earning legitimate profits, but in reality, the pay-outs to the new members were simply being funded from the cash flows generated from new members/investments. “The volume of business in her gold, textile and food marts was miniscule and not sufficient to justify the high returns promised by her,” the ED statement said. “Shaikh along with her family members and close associates diverted the depositors’ money to their personal accounts and amassed huge movable and immovable assets for wrongful personal gain. “The diverted funds were further layered into various shell companies and in the form of benami assets so as to ultimately cheat lakhs of innocent victims and to launder these crime proceeds for personal benefit,” it said.
Economic developments and technological innovations have helped increase life expectancy worldwide. There was a time when thousands would perish because of epidemics like plague and smallpox which had an adverse effect on life expectancy. Such deadly diseases are under control now. Life expectancy in India was 32 years at the time of independence in 1947. In 1969 it rose to 47 years further growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019. India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund. The number of young people in our country increased at a rapid rate and the number of elderly also grew steadily. Also Read – A special kind of bondAccording to the law, a “senior citizen” means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of 60 years or above. Population Census 2011 revealed that there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and Help Age India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. From 5.6 per cent in 1961, the proportion of the elderly increased up to 8.6 per cent in 2011. (Source: Elderly in India 2016) Also Read – Insider threat managementAn elderly person has to face manifold challenges, including physical, mental, emotional, social and financial. They are always worried about social security. As one grows, both the physical and mental faculties face a downward trend. The person is more prone to fall prey to various types of diseases. Most of these diseases are of degenerative nature and thus are of chronic nature. List of risks including illnesses, disorders, ailments, maladies, and diseases associated with old age are quite long. Through various researches around 125 diseases have been identified to be directly connected with this age group. Arthritis is a very common condition leading to pain in the joints and lowering the quality of life by prohibiting day to day activity and movements of the person. It may be fatal in a little number of cases. Heart Diseases are the leading killers of persons above the age of 65. An elderly person needs to get his heart monitored time to time to get to know any disease cropping up well on time. This needs awareness and has financial implications as well. Cancer is the second leading cause of death. The person has to pay repeated hospital visits requiring expensive investigations, monitoring and medical or surgical intervention for a long period of time. All this seriously affects the economy of the whole family and psychology of the patient. Depression is one of serious issue associated with it. Respiratory Diseases are the third common cause of death among the elderly who are more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections. Many of them in this age group develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which requires repeated hospitalisation and intensive treatment. Cerebrovascular accidents occur as a result of leakage or clotting of blood in the brain or tumours in the cranium. A person may develop paralysis. His quality of life becomes very poor and he becomes dependent on others. This becomes a cause of serious psychological disturbance and a matter of stress for the whole family. Parkinsonism hampers the person’s capabilities and gradually cripples the physical capacities. Alzheimer’s disease occurs because of the degenerative process of the brain. The patient develops cognitive impairment and is unable to take care of himself. He is a concern to the family for safety and cost involved in his care. Osteoporosis makes bones brittle and the person is more likely to develop fracture of any bone. The fracture of vertebral bodies can cripple the patient. Falls are more common and these are an emergency condition, which requires hospitalisation. Incidence of Diabetes is increasing in our country. Those who had developed Diabetes in early age develop several complications by the time they reach elderly age. Complications may be related to the nervous system, heart, kidney, muscles and other body systems. Infections occur more commonly in this age group because of the lowering of immunity in this age group. Sometimes these may prove to be fatal. Depression is an increasing problem in our country which is occurring as a result of changing family relations, increase in the cost of healthcare, physical incapacities which increase with the age and person’s dependence on his siblings. Losing one’s life partner causes loneliness and isolation leading to depression. Poverty affects senior citizens health. Older women are slightly more likely than men to be living in poverty, and that gap widens in those over 80 years. Single older adults are also significantly more likely to live alone with fewer resources. Elderly age group is a challenging period in one’s life. Feeling of dependence on children for many day-to-day needs is difficult to accept. Financial deprivation adds up to the difficulties. The situation gets worse if the family is uncaring and neglecting the elderly. In our country where the social security net is very poor, elderly people face great difficulties as far as healthcare is concerned. To ameliorate the situation several steps have to be taken. Elderly need compassion. They need emergency care – sometimes repeatedly. Health care of the elderly has to be designed accordingly. (The views expressed are strictly personal)
Bengaluru: EPFO will launch an e-inspection system that will simplify inspection process and ensure organisations with open communications will not be subject to physical inspection until absolutely necessary, according to Central Provident Fund Commissioner Sunil Barthwal. EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) proposed to amend the Act to limit enquiry period to a maximum of two years in order to curtail harassment, he also said at a Confederation of Indian Industry-organised interactive session last Friday, a CII release said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’A small percentage of employees are unable to generate UAN (a 12-digit Universal Account Number to all employees entitled to EPF) due to mismatch in data, Barthwal said, adding to address this issue, the EPFO is looking at alternative authentication vis-a-vis the employee database. “The EPFO is working towards a three-day settlement period for KYC (Know Your Customer) compliant beneficiaries who have UAN linked to Aadhaar, have a bank account and a registered mobile number,” the release quoted him as saying. Barthwal also proposed to set up a society of self-regulating consultants, similar to ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), in order to curb “misuse and corruption.” “In a significant announcement for industry he proposed to decriminalise defaulters and treat the cases as economic offences,” the release said.
New Delhi: Around 60,000 teachers at Delhi government schools will be relieved of the tedious work of result tabulation and their focus now will be more on checking answer scripts as the whole process is going to be digitised.On an average each subject teacher of the Delhi government has been spending about 50 hours and class teachers around 310 hours every year for exams-related work at the cost of their teaching and family time, according to officials of the Directorate of Education (DoE). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe work includes checking answer scripts of students by the subject teacher, recording the marks on the reward list, cross-checking by another teacher, collation of all subject marks by class teachers, recording the marks in teacher’s diary and in master record sheet, transferring the data on an online module followed by preparation of individual report cards. “This amount of time is consumed because most of the work is done manually. But not anymore,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister. He added that after introducing online leave and no-objection certificate facilities for teachers, the government is going to digitise the process of recording the exam data as well. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsLast month, Sisodia had asked his team to understand the exam process by talking to teachers and get their inputs on how it can be simplified, so that they do not have to spend a large amount of time on result tabulation. The findings were presented to him on Saturday. He directed the officials of the Directorate of Education to digitise the entire process so that all steps after the evaluation of answer scripts till the generation of report card can be done on the computer tablet. “The usage of computer tablet will remove the manual recording of data in multiple sheets. This will substantially reduce the time of subject and class teachers which they can now give to their students and family,” a senior DoE official said. Sisodia also directed that platforms be created and orders be issued for its usage immediately to ensure most features could be implemented from the mid-term exam this year. Early this year, all teachers of Delhi government schools regular as well as guest have procured a tablet of their choice, using the fund of Rs 15,000 provided to each one of them by the government. Apart from them, teachers are also given an additional allowance of Rs 200 per month for data pack. They are using this tablet to record attendance and store study material for their lesson planning and classroom teaching.