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Nova Scotia raised borrowing by more than $1 billion to cover COVID 19 costs: auditor

Nova Scotia's auditor general says the province approved $1.1 billion in added borrowing during 2020-21 to cover the capital and relief costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

Nova Scotia’s auditor general says the province approved $1.1 billion in added borrowing during 2020-21 to cover the capital and relief costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Auditor general Kim Adair’s financial report published today also notes that with reduced tax revenues, the province fell into a $342-million deficit in 2020-21, a significant drop from the $55-million surplus originally budgeted.

Read more: N.S. auditor general says pre-primary program was not adequately planned

As well, provincial GDP dropped in 2020, down 2.2 per cent as opposed to the increase of 2.4 per cent forecast in the provincial budget.

Adair says the province’s financial picture is understandable due to the ongoing pandemic, but the government needs a long-term recovery plan to dig itself out of its current economic position.

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She also says the pandemic highlighted the need for bolstered cybersecurity measures amid high demand for remote access of government networks from public service employees.

She says, however, the province has failed to finalize rules to govern cybersecurity or implement cybersecurity training for all government workers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2021.

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