The Government of New Brunswick has revealed its 2022-23 budget, entitled ‘Building on Success’.
Despite massive deficit forecasts earlier, the province is showing a $408 million surplus in 2020-21 and is projecting a $487.8 million surplus.
The budget includes several promising investments for older adults along the care continuum, including health care, community care and long-term care. Some support for low income seniors was also announced.
“New Brunswick’s budget shows the necessary commitment to improving the full seniors’ care continuum in the province, with key investments in long-term care, home care and community care,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “However, not funding the recommended shingles vaccine is an obvious miss at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to keep older people out of hospital.”
CanAge’s recent report on adult vaccination across Canada scored New Brunswick a grade of D on immunizing seniors due to major gaps in vaccine funding, access and encouraging public confidence.
Highlights for older adults from the budget include
- $3.7 million to enhance and redirect resources towards multi-disciplinary, team-based community care.
- $38 million on the plan Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action which outlines a path forward to stabilize and rebuild New Brunswick’s health-care system to be more citizen-focused, accessible, accountable, inclusive and service-oriented.
- $4.1 million to continue the work outlined in the government’s nursing home plan.
- $9.7 million to increase the hours of care in nursing homes
- $38.6 million this year to increase wages for human services workers, including in-home support, community residences, special care homes, family support, group homes, attendant care, and employment and support services agencies.
- A one-time per diem increase for adult residential facilities in 2021-22, with a permanent increase coming into effect later in 2022-23. Annually, this increase will put $27.4 million into community residences, special care homes, and memory care & generalist care facilities.
- An income exemption on the first $200 of CPP income for social assistance recipients.
- An increase to social assistance rates of 3.8 % under the Transitional Assistance Program and the Extended #Benefits Program, which will benefit about 19,000 households.
- 1.4 million to support services related to intimate partner violence and sexual assault