FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant today highlighted the progress the provincial government has made on the priorities of New Brunswickers.
“Over the last year, as your government, we have continued to invest in our multi-year economic growth plan,” said Gallant. “Instead of an austerity agenda, we are investing to create opportunities so our youth can work here in New Brunswick and so people who have left our province can come back and work here.”
Over the last three years, New Brunswick experienced the best economic growth in a decade. The province hit a 10-year high in 2015 and the trend continued into 2016 when real GDP growth reached 1.24 per cent.
Other economic indicators include:
- Since 2014, the government has cut the province’s deficit by 67 per cent, and plans to eliminate the deficit by the 2020 budget.
- Private capital expenditures have rebounded, exceeding 2013 levels in 2014 and 2016. In 2015, they reached almost $2 billion, a level not seen since 2011.
- Average weekly earnings were up by 2.3 per cent in 2016 – compared to 2.8 per cent growth in 2015 – and above the national result of 0.4 per cent. Tied with Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick had the highest growth in average weekly earnings countrywide in 2016.
- The unemployment rate has been in the single digits for all of 2017.
Some of the measures the provincial government has taken to support job creation include:
- Reduced the small business income tax rate to three per cent and introduced legislation to lower it even more.
- Increased the minimum wage three times since December 2014 to put more money in New Brunswicker’s pockets.
- Increased taxes for the richest one per cent so the government can invest in the economy, health care and education.
- Invested more money in infrastructure to create jobs and improve roads and schools.
- Increased investment in the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, as well as in infrastructure, reflecting the government’s commitment to developing tourism in New Brunswick.
- Implementing and maintaining pay equity as part of an ongoing government commitment to achieving equality for women in the province, giving a better quality of life to women, children and families.
- Developed a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy with industry leaders, academia and government to help establish New Brunswick as an epicentre of cybersecurity and create high-value jobs.
- Supported the Sisson Mine Project as it will create jobs and generate business opportunities for the province.
“Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan includes major investments in education and post-secondary education,” said Gallant. “These investments help develop a strong workforce, which, in turn, helps strengthen our economy.”
The government is investing more in education than ever before, including:
- Creating 10-year education plans so that young people have the strongest education system possible.
- Investing more than $292 million to upgrade current schools and build new ones since October 2014.
- Entering into a $71 million three-year bilateral early learning and childcare agreement with the federal government.
- Created the Free Tuition Program and the Tuition Relief for the Middle Class program, to provide upfront assistance to New Brunswick students and make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.
- Developed the Youth Employment Fund to give youth more opportunity to stay in New Brunswick and the chance to get hands-on work experience.
- Launched Unleashing the power of literacy: New Brunswick’s Comprehensive Literacy Strategyto improve literacy rates in the province.
- Teaching trades in schools to better prepare young people for future opportunities and investing to upgrade and build trade spaces in schools.
- Returned Grade 1 French immersion to 68 schools across the province beginning in September 2017.
“We understand how important health care and senior care are to New Brunswickers,” said Gallant. “We have a multi-year plan to strengthen the quality and accessibility of both health and senior care.”
The government is also contributing to the quality of life in the province by:
- Investing $56 million with the federal government in affordable housing to give the most vulnerable a place to live.
- Actively recruiting more women into positions of influence in the province.
- Introducing Family Day, a statutory holiday beginning in February 2018 to recognize New Brunswick families.
- Bringing in two new acts, the Local Governance Act and the Community Planning Act, which replaced the former Municipalities Act and Community Planning Act. This is the first update in 40 years and is intended to provide appropriate, effective powers and responsibilities to local governance.
- Amending the Motor Vehicle Act to improve safety for cyclists by creating what is known as “Ellen’s law” in memory of New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters, who died in December 2016 as a result of her injuries from a motor vehicle while she was on a training ride near Sussex.
- Tabling the Intimate Partner Violence Act to provide victims of intimate partner violence with additional tools to increase their safety while they seek more permanent solutions.
- Enhancing animal protection by amending the Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals Act and the Municipalities Act.
- Expanded the Integrated Service Delivery model, which features a team of intervention and support professionals collaborating in the community to provide mental health, addiction, social and emotional support, and other services to children and youth.
- Signed a 10-year Bilateral Health Agreement with the federal government that will bring an estimated additional investment of $230 million for home care and mental health to New Brunswick.
- Created the New Brunswick Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit to help senior’s make their homes safer and more accessible, so that they can stay in them for longer.
- Preparing for the legalization of recreational cannabis in a way intended to ensure cannabis is out of the hands of youth and that the proceeds are out of the hands of criminals.
- Showing leadership on climate change by creating a made-in-New Brunswick solution that respects the local economy while taking action on the biggest challenge facing mankind.
“We look forward to continuing to work with New Brunswickers in 2018 to invest strategically in our multi-year economic growth plan, to invest more to support our 10-year education plans and to deliver the best health-care system possible,” said Gallant.