Home » Budget 2021-2022 – Green Caucus Submission to Finance Minister Ernie Steeves

Budget 2021-2022 – Green Caucus Submission to Finance Minister Ernie Steeves

by Josh O'Donnell

1. COVID-19 Priorities

  • Increase capacity of public health by adding positions, including a behavioral scientist and health educator.
  • Implement a COVID-19 ventilation upgrade in schools with unacceptable air exchange
  • Institute a multi-faceted support program designed to help small businesses survive the pandemic, tailored for the hospitality, arts, and tourism sectors
  • Introduce paid sick days for all employees
  • Establish a year-round ferry service between the New Brunswick mainland and Campobello Island
  • Institute a strategy to provide high speed internet to all New Brunswickers by 2023

2. Finance

  • Reform property assessments and taxation to bring fairness to the system
  • Expand revenue sharing with municipalities
  • Reform the tax regime to ensure the wealthiest people and corporations pay their fair share of the cost to provide public services to New Brunswickers
  • Eliminate financial support (grants, loans, tax credits) for companies that use tax havens to avoid taxation in New Brunswick.

3. Health Care

  • Double the program staff from 3 to 6 in Public Health’s Promotion and Prevention Unit to address priorities identified in the Community Health Assessments.
    • Triple the capacity of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre to diagnose FASD in children and youth and establish regional satellite clinics
    • Provide the Regional Health Authorities with budget to expand the number of community health centres staffed by multi-disciplinary healthcare teams.
    • Pay wages and benefits that are competitive with PEI and Nova Scotia to nurses, licenses practical nurses, nurse practitioners, and health technicians.
    • Open walk-in mental health clinics in every community health region
    • Extend Medicare coverage to psychotherapy
    • Expand the hours and training for Mental Health Mobile Crisis Teams to become 24/7 first responders.
    • Establish abortion services the western half of the province.
    • Replace the dynamic deployment model for paramedic care with a community-based model

4. Seniors/Long-term Care

  • Increase funding for Home Support
  • Increase funding for wages of care workers in home support and long-term care
  • Increase funding for hours of care in long-term care homes
  • Recruitment and retention crisis can only be solved with better wages and working conditions.
  • Provide support services and appropriate residential care for adults with severe autism.

5. Affordable Housing

  • Redirect the $20 million announced for ARC Nuclear to build 500 affordable housing units
  • Resume providing financial assistance to non-profit and cooperative housing development that also receive federal funds toward their capital costs
  • Increase the budget for the low-income housing energy efficiency retrofit program to meet demand

6. Poverty Reduction

  • Increase income assistance rates
  • Eliminate the household income policy for social assistance recipients
  • End the claw-backs to social assistance for child support and disability payments
  • Institute a Guaranteed Livable Income beginning with those with disabilities
  • ●        Schedule minimum wage increases to achieve a living wage

7. Post-Secondary Education

  • Phase-in the elimination of tuition beginning with those most in need
  • Eliminate interest from the provincial portion of student loans

8. Education

  • Pay competitive wages for mental health workers
  • Increase mental health supports for students and staff
  • Commit to multi-year funding to catch up on deferred maintenance

9. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

  • Establish zero interest loans to furnish the capital for cost-effective energy and renewable heat and power retrofits of homes, farms and small businesses.
  • Transfer energy efficiency and heating upgrade programs to a new non-profit agency modelled on Nova Scotia’s Efficiency One.
  • Partner with Hydro Quebec, Nova Scotia Power and the federal government to build a new 1000 MW transmission line to access hydroelectric power from Labrador and Quebec and upgrade our interconnection with Nova Scotia to maximize our potential for wind and solar power development.

10. Public Transportation

  • Create a Public Transportation division in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Establish a Maritime Transportation Authority in partnership with Nova Scotia and PEI to coordinate and facilitate the development of an inter-connected network of rail, bus and local transit services.
  • Ensure federal transit dollars flow to support existing transit services and establish new ones to link our rural communities, towns and cities.

11. Natural Resources

  • Terminate the funding for Crown licensees to spray herbicides and convert natural forest to tree plantations on Crown land.