After much debate and a lot of opposition, approval for the 2017-2018 budget finally seems near.
There was contention between cabinet and regular MLAs over the upcoming budget in recent weeks.
In the legislature Friday on Friday, Northwest Territories Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod announced $4.8 million in adjustments to the budget following long debate and much feedback from Northerners.
The adjustments included:
- An increase to the budget for homecare by $2.5 million.
- $500,000 in additional funding towards the Anti-Poverty Fund, doubling the fund’s budget after criticism came that it was not meeting its demand. Last year, the fund received approximately $200 million worth of requests for funding.
- Half a million dollars for a Youth in Crisis program.
- A $250,000 increase in support for freight costs associated with the fishing industry. On Monday, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment committed $1.4 million to revitalizing the commercial fishing industry in Hay River.
- $600,000 in increased funding to the Mineral Incentive Program, an incentive program for mining explorations in the territory.
- $500,000 to increase the Community Access Road Program.
McLeod also said the GNWT will defer reductions to Aurora College’s Bachelor of Education and social work programs until a fundamental review of the college is completed.
Despite the halt on reductions, the programs will still not be accepting new students.
Several MLAs applauded the adjustments on Twitter shortly after Friday’s announcement. Final vote on the budget is scheduled for Monday.
— Julie Green (@juliegreenMLA) March 3, 2017
— Kieron Testart (@KieronTestart) March 3, 2017