Advanced Education and Skills
Child, Youth and Family Services
March 27, 2014
Supports to Help Vulnerable Populations, Seniors and Individuals with Low Incomes
Budget 2014 includes approximately $170 million for the Poverty Reduction Strategy to support the Provincial Government’s long-term approach to the prevention, reduction and alleviation of poverty. This brings the total investment to reduce poverty to $1 billion since 2006.
Financial Supports for Seniors and Persons with Low Incomes
As referenced in the Department of Finance announcement, Budget 2014 includes an increase to the Seniors' Benefit. The maximum payment seniors will receive in October 2014 will be the highest ever at $1,036, up from $971 in 2013.
Effective for the 2014 taxation year, the Low-Income Tax Reduction income thresholds will be increased, eliminating provincial income tax for individuals with net income up to $18,547 and for families with net income of up to $31,362. Partial tax reductions will be received by individuals with net income of up to $22,815 and for families with net income up to $38,006. See Backgrounder: Enhancements to Tax Programs to Benefit Seniors, Low Income and Small Business.
In the fall session of the House of Assembly, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to increasing rental affordability for Income Support clients in areas of the province where rental rates are highest. A comprehensive review of regional rental rates will inform how those increases will be implemented. That review is well underway.
Supports for Affordable Housing and Addressing Homelessness
Budget 2014 includes investments to support affordable housing through the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. For example:
- Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and the Provincial Government will again partner with the Government of Canada to extend the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement for an unprecedented five years. The $68 million agreement also extends the Provincial Home Repair Program, and assists 2,100 households with low incomes to repair their homes;
- $12 million over three years to extend the Residential Energy Efficiency Program to assist up to 1,000 low-income homeowners per year with energy retrofits that will significantly improve affordability by reducing heating costs;
- $1 million to increase the Rent Supplement Program, bringing the current $8 million annual allocation to $9 million. The program supports individuals and families on low incomes and individuals with complex needs by paying the portion of their rent that exceeds 25 per cent of their net household income directly to their landlord and assists Newfoundland and Labrador Housing to address its application list;
- $500,000 in additional funding for the Supportive Living Program for a total annual investment of $5.3 million to address homelessness;
- $9 million over three years to extend the Home Modification Program to provide financial assistance to homeowners with disabilities or seniors with low-to-moderate incomes that require accessibility changes to their residences;
- A $350,000 contribution to a partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government to assist low-income private homeowners in Nunatsiavut complete major renovations; and,
- $100,000 for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Community Centre Summer Employment Program. The program encourages 24 at-risk youth to continue their education and career paths.
Supports for Persons with Disabilities
Budget 2014 will include $12.6 million to advance inclusion and support employment opportunities for persons with disabilities:
- The expected signing of a new four-year Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities will see a $12 million annual investment from the Provincial Government supported by a Federal Government investment of $4.6 million. This program assists individuals with a disability to acquire the skills, experience and necessary support to successfully prepare for, enter or remain in the workforce; and,
- $600,000 to support the Vehicle Accessibility Program and Inclusion Grants. The Vehicle Accessibility Program will provide up to $25,000 for vehicle retrofits to address transportation barriers for persons who have mobility-related disabilities. Inclusion Grants will provide up to $25,000 to non-profit, community-based organizations to enhance the accessibility of their facilities and events.
Supports for Health and Wellness
As referenced in the Budget 2014 health announcement, the Provincial Government is committed to improving the health and wellness of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Budget 2014 allocates the following funding to increase access for people living on low incomes. For example:
- $7.1 million to provide coverage for new therapies under the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program, bringing the total investment in the program to $147.4 million;
- $6.7 million for the continuation of the Adult Dental Program, including increasing the cap for basic dental services from $150 to $200;
- $712,000 to subsidize smoking cessation products for people living on low incomes; and,
- $700,000 to extend drug card access from six months to one year for people living with low income under the Foundation plan of the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program.
Supports for Children, Youth and Families
As featured in the other Budget 2014 announcements, to improve and expand the delivery of important social programs and services, a key focus of Budget 2014 is providing additional supports to vulnerable children, youth and families. For example:
- Approximately $1.5 million for an additional 20 new positions, including social worker supervisors and social workers, to continue the implementation of the department’s organizational model for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services;
- An additional $308,000 to implement a new one-year mentoring team, as well as hire two new community service workers for the Innu Zone;
- $200,000 to provide additional funding for travel to continue the newly implemented Community of Natuashish Service Enhancement Program; and,
- An additional $50,000 for the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association to strengthen the capacity and role of local associations across the province.
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Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education and Skills
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
2014 03 27 3:00 p.m.