Kjipuktuk (Halifax) – The Department of Community Services closed its 2016-17 financial books with a $2,4 million surplus in its Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) program.
This was due to lower caseloads and lower than anticipated expenses, the department writes in its 2016-17 accountability report. Child, Youth and Family Support was $0.7 million lower than the estimate as a result of fewer children in care.
These savings are offset because actual spending on the Disability Support Program exceeded estimates made at the start of the year by $4.4 million, the service delivery program overspent by $2.5 million, and the department faced $1.4 million in salary overages.
All in all, The Department of Community Services expenses were $2.8 million or 0.3 percent higher than estimated at the start of the fiscal year.
The department has an overall budget of $933 million, including an ESIA budget of $348 million. In that context the ESIA surplus may not seem that big a deal. But the news may be difficult to stomach for people on welfare who struggled to make ends meet and saw their bus passes taken away or special diet allowances cut back over that same year.
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