Provincial budget prioritization fails Nova Scotian Workers, says NS Federation President

February 29, 2024

The provincial budget needs to go farther, says Danny Cavanagh of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL), who has voiced disappointment with the Houston government’s failure to prioritize significant relief for workers and the less fortunate burdened with increasing living costs. Cavanagh stressed that Nova Scotian workers desperately need support as they grapple with skyrocketing expenses while their wages struggle to keep pace, citing data released weekly by the province from Stats Canada.

Recent economic indicators for Nova Scotia, including payroll employment, average weekly earnings, and job vacancies, paint a concerning picture. According to the latest Statistics Canada information released by the province of Nova Scotia Weekly, Nova Scotia had 449,460 payroll employees in December 2023, representing a marginal 0.1% increase compared to November 2023. However, average weekly earnings decreased to $1,084.13 in December 2023, further exacerbating the financial strain on workers. Moreover, the number of job vacancies in Nova Scotia declined by 16.6% in December 2023 compared to the previous year.

Cavanagh highlighted the relentless increase in the cost of essentials such as groceries, housing, heating, gas, and transportation, which has placed immense strain on working families across the province. The escalating power rates have only added to Nova Scotian workers’ financial hardships. Although some relief is in the budget, more can be done. It’s great to see a commitment to more beds in the LTC sector, but we need workers to provide expanded services. We also need more mental health and addiction services across the province. 

According to official statistics, Nova Scotia reported the lowest per capita capital spending of any province in 2022 and 2023 despite increased capital expenditures. This discrepancy raises concerns about the allocation of resources and the government’s commitment to addressing the financial challenges the working population faces. Cavanagh says they can claim to be spending more, but to be the lowest in the country with capital spending is nothing to be proud of and, frankly, is shameful when so many are living on the streets.

Cavanagh emphasized that the current situation demands immediate action from the government to alleviate the mounting financial pressure on workers. He expressed the NSFL’s continued commitment to advocating for the welfare of Nova Scotian workers and the economy, urging the government to prioritize the workforce’s needs. We need more union jobs and higher wages to drive a robust economy. Clearly, the government jobs plan is idle at this point, and wages are stagnant or going backwards, and that’s not good for the economy. We call on the government to invest in its workforce to drive the economy. When workers and others have more cash, they spend that, which drives a positive economic picture. The government’s handout to businesses has yet to translate into higher wages or more jobs. It is time for the government to invest directly into workers’ pockets, not their employers.

On a positive note, we think it’s a good idea to link social program funding to the cost of living. In terms of education, we are in favour of a school lunch program. Additionally, we support the provision of diabetes care for both type one and type two diabetics. 

Unanimous support from MPs for anti-scab legislation – now over to senators

May 28, 2024
Click to open the link

Reduce interest rates and offer relief to Canadian families – ball is in your court, Governor Macklem

May 21, 2024
Click to open the link

20 years after its passing, Canada’s unions demand enforcement of the Westray Law 

May 9, 2024
Click to open the link

Statement from the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour on the 32nd Anniversary of the Westray Mine Disaster

May 9, 2024
Click to open the link

Unified labour front: Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union joins Canadian Labour Congress

May 8, 2024
Click to open the link

Red Dress Day Raises Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada

May 4, 2024
Click to open the link