Newfoundland and Labrador 2017 Budget:
No New Taxes or Fees
April 6, 2017 House of Assembly - St. John's
Budget 2017 was presented by Finance Minister Cathy Bennett. The biggest media “sound bite” focuses on the government’s temporary reduction to the gas tax by 8.5 cents per litre with an additional 4-cent reduction at the end of the year.
This is welcome news considering that this very tax increased in last year’s budget by more than 16 cents per litre, and the Deficit Reduction Levy hit households with up to $900 per year.
This Budget also focuses on getting expenses under control. One such measure will implement a wage freeze for management and non-unionized employees. Although there are no layoffs announced in this budget, savings targets suggest keeping a close eye on this front.
The real shining light is found in the following comments by the Minister:
“Our government is committed to a number of initiatives such as the development of an inclusion-based disabilities act, and accessible taxi and vehicle programs, to help people with disabilities remain active participants in their communities.”
While these initiatives were previously announced, it is commendable to reiterate such commitments in a formal budget speech. More details are to come.
Mental health initiatives will receive $5 million.
The Government is also committing $7.6 million to supportive living, which will be directed to 37 non-profit and community groups.
Seniors’ programs are maintained in this Budget, with no cuts announced.
As in other provinces in this fiscal year, home and palliative care receive both federal and provincial dollars, with $2.5 million from the provincial government.
For more information about the Newfoundland 2016-2017 Budget, visit
Newfoundland 2016 Budget: Some Nuggets of Good News
April 14, 2016 House of Assembly - St. John's
Budget 2016 of the government of premier Dwight Ball deals with one of Canada's most challenging economic situations. To counter the loss of revenue and the deficit, new temporary tax measures will impact the lives of everyday Newfoundlanders.
The deficit Reduction Levy, of up to $900 per year, will come into effect July 1. Gasoline tax will increase by more than 16 cents per litre.
The budget also announces a plan for major government spending overhauls, cuts and restructuring.
The Budget 2016 also contains some good news.
- Funding to help individuals and the taxi industry acquire or adapt vehicles for accessibility.
- Funding for recreation and sport development initiatives for persons with disabilities.
- Maintaining teacher allocations for supports for special needs students including resources for students with exceptionalities.
- Investing $2.9 million to assist private and not-for-profit employers to hire students.
Supportive Housing for youth and seniors receives a $2.5 million increase in the Supportive Living Program. A further $104,000 for rent supplement subsidies in Labrador will be targeted to help low income households, afford private rental market options.
Programs and services for seniors also receive targeted increases.
- Approximately $3.5 million to support the placement of select individuals with enhanced care needs in a personal care home.
- $250,000 to create a new Seniors Advocate Office with an annual budget of $500,000 beginning in 2017-18.
- $300,000 for the seniors Resource Centre to enhance its information and referral system.
- $300,000 for age-friendly transportation services
- A new Director of Adult Protection to reduce risk to adults in need of protection.
- $100,000 to support continued development of age-friendly communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Overall, Budget 2016 includes $63.7 million annualized for the delivery of benefits to help reduce the impact of additional measures on low income seniors, individuals, families and persons with disabilities.
While the plans for restructuring and cuts may come as troubling news for some, the plans also indicate the need to explore measures that seek partnerships with the non-profit sector, and for organizations like March of Dimes Canada, this is welcome news.
For more information about the Newfoundland 2016-2017 Budget, visit
Newfoundland 2015 Budget: "Weathering the Storm"
April 30, 2015 House of Assembly - St. John's
The first budget under the new tenure of premier Paul Davis is the latest in a series of provincial budgets that attempt to reconcile the impacts of the global plunge in oil prices.
This Budget announces what many governments have begun: an overhaul of not just how much spending each program or service will receive, but how that money is spent. Indeed, it lays the foundation for an examination of the very role of government itself.
Three themes emerge in this plan: attrition management, expenditure reductions and revenue generation.
On the revenue front, the province's HST will increase two percentage points on January 1, 2016, up to 15%. A commensurate increase in the HST credit for low-income households will take effect October 2016.
A new personal income tax bracket is introduced in this Budget, more heavily taxing high-income earners.
An unspecified number of new fees and levies, as well as increases to existing fees, will also be implemented.
The private sector and non-profits will be engaged to build long-term care facilities in certain regions. Overall, the Budget allocates $700 million to long-term care and community support services.
The total investment in the provincial Home Support Program increases to nearly $180 million.
Aging and wellness also feature prominently. The Budget provides $400,000 for age-friendly transportation services. Another $104,000 supports the continuation of the Rent Supplement pilot Project, a program for seniors and people with disabilities.
Community-based agencies and organizations receive $5.9 million to deliver programs and services.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy receives $185 million. Newfoundland and Labrador Housing continues in 2015-2016 with the Home Modification Program and the Affordable Housing Agreement.
According to budget documents, nearly 75,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador have a disability. A three-year action plan, "A Strategy on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities", will be released soon.
The Accessible Vehicle program receives $000,000, $50,000 of which will assist the Province's taxi sector to become more accessible.
Inclusion grants that help communities and organizations make their facilities and events more accessible is budgeted for $200,000.
For more information about the Newfoundland 2015-2016 Budget, visit
www.budget gov.nl.ca/budget 2015.
Newfoundland Budget Emphasizes Families, Seniors and Students
March 27, 2014 - House of Assembly - St. John's
The 2014 budget of Newfoundland and Labrador was ushered in today under the leadership of two individuals new to their respective offices, Premier Tom Marshall and Finance Minister Charlene Johnson (former PC Leader and Premier, Kathy Dunderdale, resigned her post early in 2014).
This year's budget offers a grab bag of goodies in virtually all sectors.
The budget provides increases to income support by five percent, and the senior's benefit rises to $1,036. The budget also finances growth in home support and personal care expenditures, with the monthly subsidy increasing to $1,950.
Smokers will experience a tax increase as of midnight: the tax per cigarette will rise by 3 cents.
Off-setting this potentially negative news, effective August 1, 2015, student loans will be replaced by all-out grants (non-repayable).
Universal full-day kindergarten will commence province-wide by 2016.
And low-income individuals and families will benefit from Budget 2014. This Budget proposes to eliminate provincial income tax for individuals with net income up to $18,547 and families up to $31,362.
Yet it is in the programs and services to people with disabilities that shine most. Investments are maintained in the Vehicle Accessibility Program which provides up to $25,000 per family for a vehicle retrofit. Investments also continue in the Inclusion Grant program, which assists non-profit and community organizations to make their facilities and events accessible. And the Home Modification Program is extended another three years with a $9 million investment.
The Strategy for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, announced in the 2012 Budget, continues to unfold, backed by financial support in critical areas. "Access, Inclusion, Equality" - an initiative that represents a cross-disability approach - was launched then with funding of $6.5 million.
Finally, the Newfoundland government will continue to work with the federal government to deliver affordable housing options, a component of which focuses on people with disabilities. The Investment in Affordable Housing Agreements program represents a strong point of interest in possible partnerships through which organizations like March of Dimes Canada should explore.
Official budget documents of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador may be found at: www.fin.gov.nl.ca/fin/budget/budget.html
Information specific to disability programs and services may be found at www.gov.nl.ca/disabilitypolicy.
House of Assembly, St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador
March 26, 2013
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy delivered the Newfoundland Conservative Budge for 2013 in the House of Assembly today, a spending plan that maintains personal and corporate income tax rates.
A range of new fees and levies, including a hike on cigarette taxes are designed to beef up the provincial coffers and tackle the deficit by more than $19 million.
Also tackling the deficit is a significant layoff measure that will reduce the government's public service by approximately five and a half percent.
On the spending side, significant investments will be made for home care, personal care and long-term care.
A pilot of the Paid Family Caregiver option will receive $6.1million. The Home Support Program is increased by $9.2 million. The Community Rapid Response Team program, which provides enhanced health services and home support for seniors in their own homes, is increased by $.6 million. Another pilot project, the Enhanced Care in Personal Care Homes program, which allows residents to receive higher levels of care at personal care homes, gets another $1.5 million. And an additional 100 new portable subsidies, valued at $624,000 will be added to the Personal Care Home Program, allowing greater personal care home choices.
Several long-term care infrastructure projects are targeted to receive an overall $72.7 million in this budget.
Children and childcare get a spending boost. Of particular interest would be the Inclusion Program, which accommodates all children in regular school programming. This program will receive funds for additional staff and space - something in which March of Dimes' Conductive Education Planners might have an interest. This investment is part of an overall $31 million plan over 10 years addressing the Province's need for better child care.
As part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, there will be a $1.2 million increase to health benefits and income supports. Newfoundland's Supportive Living Program will receive $4.8 million to advance the work of community partners and stakeholders. An additional $6.5 million will cover "board and lodging supplements' for adults with disabilities who live with family.
While the staff cuts in Newfoundland's budget have become a beacon of public criticism (particularly for the implied reductions in staff at the Human Rights Commission), the spending increases to social programs in certainly welcome news.
Official documents for the 2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Budget may be found at the following link: www.budget.gov.nl.ca. General questions may be directed to Government Relations and Advocacy.