Affordability, Equity and Economic Access for All Nova Scotians

Affordability, Equity and Economic Access for All Nova Scotians

 DARTMOUTH, NS – The Rankin Liberals unveiled an ambitious affordability and equity platform, today, committing to new investments in affordable housing, protection for renters, a healthy lunch pilot program for elementary school children, and initiatives to reduce systemic barriers for marginalized Nova Scotians. 

The Liberal affordability and equity platform is focused, comprehensive, and compassionate. 

It builds on previous programs, announced by the Rankin government, including $10 a day childcare; a $35.2 million investment in the income assistance program providing a $100/month increase to every adult recipient, and legislation recognizing Mi’kmaw as Nova Scotia’s original language. 

“The pandemic has proven that Canadians want more of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotians are moving home, and others are moving to the province,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “Our population is growing, and our economy needs to grow for everyone. As it does, we want to ensure that life here is affordable, fair and that no one is left behind.” 

Increasing housing supply is a key plank of the new platform, balancing short- and long-term strategies to create a sustainable approach to affordable housing, which will unlock opportunities for young people, seniors, and families. 

A re-elected Liberal government will: 

  • Develop a long-term provincial housing strategy, mapping out a 10-year plan that includes milestones and review periods to ensure accountability. 
  • Create more fairness for renters by introducing renter compensation equal to one month’s rent for each year they have lived in their current unit, up to a maximum of 6 months, if displaced by upgrades being conducted on properties. 
  • Increase housing supply by rebating the provincial portion of the HST on the construction costs of affordable rental units. 
  • Support nonprofits with a new provincial loan fund to acquire rental properties at risk of being sold or converted to other types of housing. 
  • Explore how to help homeowners gain access to new funding mechanisms, including forgivable and repayable loans, that encourage the construction of secondary units, garage lofts, tiny homes, and other innovative forms of housing. 
  • Expand energy efficiency programs for low-income Nova Scotians, such as energy retrofits, a heating assistance rebate program and a multi-unit property upgrade program. 

The Liberal government made a $70 million three-year investment in the renewal of existing housing and supports for low-income homeowners as part of the National Housing Strategy. 

It also committed $25 million to provide affordable housing for 600-900 families, implementing the key “Quick Action” recommendations of the Affordable Housing Commission. 

In addition to the housing initiatives, the platform features a variety of investments aimed at providing affordable and equitable access to opportunity for all Nova Scotians. 

  • A $3 million investment will increase food security and provide elementary school students with a “Healthy Lunches for Healthy Kids” pilot program. Locally sourced food will be mandated. The pilot program will be launched in communities with highest needs. 
  • A Rankin government will continue its commitment to the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, supporting it to develop a provincial Anti-Racism Strategy, accelerate the land titles initiative for African Nova Scotians, and bring an equity lens to all government decision-making. 
  • Collaboration will continue with the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) to develop independent legislation to complement the Education Act, while respecting language and culture. 
  • A Rankin government will allocate $500,000 over three years to create an African Nova Scotian student cohort of 25 students to enter the Bachelor of Social Work program at Dalhousie University in September 2022. This will ensure a tailored experience for students of African descent and is an opportunity to show what social work is and can do for African Nova Scotian people.

“Equity and affordability need to be at the core of Nova Scotia’s economic growth and recovery,” said Labi Kousoulis, Finance Minister and Liberal candidate for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island. “Our platform builds on the work that we did in government to keep us moving towards justice and opportunity for everyone.”