NDP

Nova Scotia billionaire gains larger than income assistance budget

January 10, 2017


For immediate release.

HALIFAX –According to the Canadian Business list of the 100 richest Canadians, the net worth of Nova Scotian billionaire Kenneth Rowe increased by $270 million in 2016, more than the province pays out in income assistance in a year. The 2016-17 budget for income assistance payments is $245 million. Last week, another report found that Canada’s top CEOs made more by lunch on January 3 than the average Canadian makes in a year.

“I think most Nova Scotians would agree that it is unacceptable that 13,000 children visit foodbanks in our province, while a small group at the top prosper to such extremes. This is not a matter of right and left, it’s a matter of right and wrong,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Unfortunately, Stephen McNeil seems uninterested in closing the gap between the richest Nova Scotians and the vast majority in our province who are struggling week to week.”

The Standing Committee on Community Services is meeting this morning to discuss Special Needs funding for people on income assistance. Special Needs include funding for expenses such as transportation and telephone services for people on income assistance. In 2015-16, the government spent just $40 million on Special Needs requests.

“It’s unclear how people on income assistance can be expected to access employment, education, or other programs without a phone or bus pass. To treat telephone service and transportation as an extra need and not a necessity is out of step with today’s reality,” said NDP Community Services Critic Marian Mancini.

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For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca