Halifax – With an average student debt of $37,000, young people in Nova Scotia were looking for some help in the provincial budget, but according to the Canadian Federation of Students, they got the opposite.
The 2015-16 budget lifts the 3 per cent tuition cap for this year for university students, meaning those post secondary schools can charge anything.
“Institutions are going to be charge whatever fees they want to students and the Nova Scotia government isn’t going to step in and work with the institutions to see what those fees will be, ultimately it means tuition rates are going to rise, student debt rates are going to continue to rise and that’s a huge failure on part of the Nova Scotia government,” says Michaela Sam, Canadian Federation of Students.
After this year, the 3 per cent tuition cap returns for Nova Scotia students. Grad students and international students could still see their fees go up.
Students aren’t the only ones who are upset with the budget unveiled today by Finance Minister Diana Whalen. The Department of Health and Wellness will only see their spending increase by 0.8 per cent. The Nova Scotia Nurses Unions says the Liberal government is essentially flat lining health care spending in Nova Scotia, something that’s a bad idea.
“To say that we’re not going to be able to increase the wages of the health care workers, specifically nurses, we’re not going to be able to keep nurses in this province, it’s just that simple,” says Janet Hazelton, Nova Scotia Nurses Union.
One of the most highly anticipated items in the provincial budget was around the Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit. The credit will drop from 100-percent refundable to just 25 per cent refundable as of July 1, 2015. Those who work in the TV and Film industry say it’s a complete disaster.
“They did not consult with us and now the result is that they’re going to be crippling the film industry. It took 20-years to build this and they destroyed it in 20-minutes,” says Marc Almon, with Screen Nova Scotia.
The industry says productions will be stopping almost immediately and the job losses will be piling up. Almon says there was a $12-million dollar production scheduled to start shooting in Chester, N.S., this summer, which will no longer be going ahead. He also anticipates closures in the annimation industry in Nova Scotia.
“I would say hundreds if not thousands of jobs will be lost, and we will see a devastating impact on the creative economy in Nova Scotia,” Almon tells Global News.