Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh is pleased that today’s provincial budget is not an austerity budget.
“We were pleased to see investments in a mental health and long-term care.
“Increases to the Health Authority’s operating budget is desperately needed for the current strained system we have today. We would like to see an increase in the per patient resident care ratio to the 4.3 hours of care that unions have been asking for an we will continue to lobby for that,” says Cavanagh.
Cavanagh says he remains concerned on the lack of a concrete plan to recruit and retain health care workers and to move people from precarious work to full time jobs with benefits.
The $1 billion in capital funding for infrastructure and innovation is good as long as it’s public procurement and not invested in P3 projects that only benefit the bank accounts of corporations. Public procurement ensures every nickel goes to improve services.
We are also happy to see the income assistance rates for adults increase by $100 to for adults and children with disabilities, although we would like to see more. Housing investments are much needed, but again, we would like to see more.
It is interesting that $80 million will be dedicated to fight climate change and create green jobs. We need to have a discussion with government about what green jobs are and the transition program for workers in Nova Scotia to ensure workers can transition into good paying jobs, green jobs with good wages and benefits.
Cavanagh is disappointed that there is no movement on paid sick leave after calls from unions and other advocates to institute paid provincial sick days amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“They could have at least ensured workers would be paid to get vaccinated to ensure stability in workplaces and make sure workers and clients were safe. It is pretty simple and we all understand that when we have healthy workers, a healthy economy follows,” says Cavanagh.
We need to see more plans on job creation, and how economic barriers for women will be addressed, and they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. We need a solid plan to make childcare more affordable, which is essential for creating job growth for long-term prosperity.
Nova Scotia’s labour laws are so inadequate that a state of emergency had to be put in place to protect workers so they couldn’t be fired or penalized for being sick.
“The government chose not to make changes to labour standards so workers are better protected, and that is very disappointing,” says Cavanagh.