FREDERICTON (GNB) – Social Development Minister Sue Stultz has announced a $41.8-million increase to the departmental budget for the fiscal year 2012-13. “With these increased investments in Social Development, we are enhancing the quality of life for seniors, low-income individuals and families, and those with disabilities,” said Stultz. “During these difficult financial times, I am pleased that we will continue to meet the needs of those who need help the most, while living within our means.” The total budget for the Department of Social Development is $1.05 billion, which represents a 4.1 per cent increase over the 2011-12 main estimates.
Highlights of this year’s investments include:
- $21.5 million for the ongoing support of poverty reduction;
- $10.3 million for the construction and renovation of affordable housing units;
- $1.1 million more to support affordable housing rent supplements
- $2.6 million for school supplies for low-income families;
- $1.6 million to increase funding for services by private home care workers;
- $250,000 in additional funding for homeless shelters
- $400,000 in additional funds to complete the redesign of the child protection system;
- $4.25 million for nursing home renovation and replacement;
- $4.47 million for specialized care beds;
- $3 million to increase per diem rates for special care homes.
The per diem rate for special care homes will increase by $1.50 to $75.50 effective July 1, 2012.
- $305,000 to increase funding for the disability supplement which assists disabled persons with health and disability related expenses;
- $300,000 in additional funding for the New Brunswick Disability Executives’ Network to improve services to people with disabilities; and
- $400,000 for child care residential centres.
A few program changes and fee adjustments will also be implemented this year to address cost growth, meet the increased demand for services, and ensure that the valuable social programs that New Brunswickers expect are sustainable in the future.
- finding $1.5 million in efficiencies for nursing home operating costs;
- eliminating the Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program; and
- increasing the per diem user fee for nursing home residents over the next three years. The first increase to a maximum of $101 per day from $95 per day will take place July 1, 2012, followed by an increase to $107 per day in April, 2013 and to $113 per day in April, 2014.
“With this budget we are rebuilding New Brunswick together by building the social and economic progress New Brunswickers expect, deserve and need,” Stultz said. “The investments we are making will ensure the continued delivery of essential programs and services that our citizens need and the taxpayers can afford.”