HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2017
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE ON SUPPLY
Ms. Suzanne Lohnes-Croft
MADAM CHAIRMAN: I call the Subcommittee of the Whole on Supply to order. Today, we have the estimates of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Resolution E3 - Resolved, that a sum not exceeding $84,295,000 be granted to the Lieutenant Governor to defray expenses in respect of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, pursuant to the Estimate, and the business plan of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia be approved.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
HON. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I certainly want to welcome all members of the committee here this morning. Also, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are in the traditional Mi’kmaq lands of Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people.
I am pleased to be here to highlight the work of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, perhaps more commonly referred to as CCH, and to speak about our priorities for the year ahead. Before I proceed I want to introduce the members of my senior team who are joining me here today. On my left is Deputy Minister Tracey Taweel and, eventually, to my right will be Rebecca Doucett, Manager of Financial Services. Behind me are Kathleen Trott, Executive Director of Policy and Corporate Services, and Elizabeth MacDonald, Director of Communications.
They certainly form not only a team here today but a team that provides tremendous work on an everyday and ongoing basis and one that I certainly enjoy working with. Madam Chairman, wherever I go in this province, I guess at the heart of our communities is that I meet very proud Nova Scotians. They are proud of their cultural identity; they are proud of their community; and they are proud of their history.
Since becoming Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, I travel from one end of our wonderful province to the other and I have witnessed a showcase of our culture and heritage, as well as a great commitment to making our communities stronger, healthier, and more prosperous. And what a time to have become Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. This was a summer of an extraordinary display of the culture, heritage, and recreation that was incorporated into the enormity of the 150 celebrations.
Our department, with a lot of work for an entire year to look at the merits of the hundreds and hundreds of applications to assist with funding, therefore as minister, and our department, had numerous invitations to attend these signature events. But our investment in communities is not only this one-time 150, it is investment in our culture, in our heritage, and our creative economy is a priority of my government. When we invest in these areas we strengthen our province and provide new opportunities for economic growth.
Madam Chairman, CCH’s overall Budget Estimate for fiscal year 2017-18 has increased by about $2.6 million, from $81.7 million to $84.3 million. This increase is primarily due to an additional investment from the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation for support for culture. I believe that kind of immediate and direct transfer from the Lotteries and Casinos Corporation is really, again, an outstanding investment from their annual profits.
I am pleased to report that about 68 per cent of CCH’s budget is invested directly into Nova Scotia communities through our various programs and services, and I believe that is a pretty high level of any budget to go directly back to support Nova Scotians in their communities. It represents a direct investment actually, $57 million in the people and communities of our province.
We know that our investments are making a difference in the lives of Nova Scotians and are contributing to strengthening our economy. Culture and heritage also help create a quality of life that Nova Scotians can be proud of - and what does the research tell us? Eighty per cent of Nova Scotians agree that culture helps create community identity; 76 per cent say that culture helps connect people from different communities and backgrounds; and 76 per cent say that culture makes them proud of where they live. I think a lot of that is the fact that we are a province with communities that are over 400 years old and, again, have tremendous treasure of cultural identity, whether they be landmarks or traditions of how a living was made. I believe that adds to our cultural depth in this province.
Madam Chairman, this year and for years to come the foundation of CCH’s work is the Culture Action Plan, which we launched in February, and in fact as a new minister to Communities, Culture and Heritage to come in with a strong working document in many ways you can say I probably didn’t need much of a mandate letter because that Cultural Action Plan now is at the heart of so much of our work as a department and myself as minister.
The plan brings to life the mandate of Communities, Culture and Heritage to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of Nova Scotia’s diverse and creative communities through the promotion, development, preservation, and celebration of the province’s cultural heritage identity and languages.
The plan divides the work of Communities, Culture and Heritage into six core areas: promoting Mi’kmaq culture; promoting creativity and innovation; strengthening education, partnership and understanding; advancing cultural diversity; fostering excellence in cultural stewardship; and driving awareness and economic growth of our province’s culture sector.
One of the areas that has become very apparent, very obvious, to me is in fact the promotion of the Mi’kmaq culture. In just 100 days of being in office, every time now I get to speak I start with that recognition that we are on Mi’kma’ki traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq. Also, I have been to the Museum of Natural History for the opening and the launch of two significant Mi’kmaq celebrations of their culture. For us it was the French meeting the Mi’kmaq, and what the Mi’kmaq had to offer the French when they came, which is a wonderful exhibit in the museum. Last night was the opening of the 14 tiles of artistic panels that represent many dimensions of the Mi’kmaq people.
I would encourage everybody to have an opportunity to get to see those. One Mi’kmaq artist as young as 12 years old, and to see her feature her work - what a wonderful moment.
Overall, the plan guides the government decision-making process for providing actions and strategic priorities for the culture sector. Our culture, heritage, identities, and languages are worth celebrating, worth investing in, and worth improving and expanding. I think the direction and area where we are starting to see some take is in exporting.
Madam Chairman, when I speak of culture, I am referring to our province’s arts, heritage, museums, libraries, archives, languages, cultural identity, traditions, spirituality, and how we interact with the natural world. Culture also includes our unique foods and drink, our heritage buildings, our design and architecture, our music and fashion, sports and recreation, and so much more.
Culture is the foundation along which every single community in our great province is built. Economic opportunities created by the culture sector have taken on greater importance as economies around the globe transition from the industrial model to a new economic model based on knowledge and creativity.
The economy of the future is knowledge- and innovation-based. Our culture sector is perfectly positioned to play a key role in growing Nova Scotia’s creative economy sector. The link between culture and economy is strong in Nova Scotia. Our research tells us that culture is an economic driver. Culture contributes almost $1 billion to Nova Scotia’s economy and GDP. Nearly 14,000 Nova Scotians work in our culture sector. That means one of every 35 Nova Scotians work in a culture-related job. There is tremendous opportunity for growth, especially in the area of tourism and export opportunities.
We also know, in addition to the economic driver, there is significant personal, social, and societal benefits of culture. Participation in culture helps our children and youth develop thinking skills, self-esteem, and resiliency, all of which enhance education outcomes. Culture provides us with opportunities for lifelong learning and helps us understand and learn from our past so we may create a better future. Culture experiences contribute to creating healthier Nova Scotians and, I would like to re-emphasize, it helps mentally, physically, and spiritually. Culture brings people together, facilitating inclusion, civic pride, deeper understanding of other cultures, and a sense of belonging to a wider community.
I know, this summer, those who experienced the celebration of the Mi’kmaq and Acadian cultures coming together 400 years ago, that celebration in the context of Canada 150, was a magnificent event not only for those cultures but for all Nova Scotians and well beyond our borders, for people who came to entertain and to celebrate with those two cultures an enormous 150 event.
With the release of the culture action plan our government is recognizing in a significant, all-encompassing way that culture matters. A culture is important to Nova Scotians and to the future of our province. The plan sends a positive signal to our creative sector, communities, and stakeholders across the province.
Madam Chairman, our vision for Nova Scotia is not a short-term one. We are investing for the long term. We are working towards creating a province where Nova Scotia is an acknowledged leader; a place where cultural identity, expression, and economy prosper; a place where all people honour and embrace diversity and heritage and thrive through unbridled creative and cultural cohesion.
It was really interesting for me to capture in some ways this summer when I, as minister, and the deputy minister and our team were at the cultural conference in Quebec. Certainly, it was unbelievably pleasing to me as minister to see the actual lead role that we took in some of the presentations.
We want to build on what our province has been doing under government, under CCH for a number of years. We need to be a place where all people honour and embrace diversity and heritage and thrive through unbridled creativity and cultural cohesion. Although CCH is the lead on the cultural action plan, the collaboration, commitment, and support of our government partners, stakeholders, and all Nova Scotians are necessary to translate the words of the plan into action. We all need to do more for our culture, more dialogue, more investment, more innovation, more spotlight and, with the cultural action plan, we are doing just that.
As such the cultural action plan actions have been woven into business plans of many departments. I was astounded when I first read in the cultural action plan that actually 17 departments were involved. I thought that we had done a great job with shift and the element of transportation, especially with our seniors in particular, but to have 17 departments was a wonderful moment for any government. And progress is being made on a range of ongoing work and new initiatives which are making a real, positive difference in the lives of Nova Scotians.
To date this year, significant progress has been made on a number of actions in support of the culture action plan. I would like to touch on a few examples. We know that language is fundamental in transmitting culture from one generation to the next and that the heart of any culture is its language. Mi’kmaq language suffered a severe setback during the residential school era. It is important to keep the Mi’kmaq language alive for future generations. As part of our commitment to help preserve and promote the Mi’kmaq language, we translated the cultural action plan into Mi’kmaq.
Government has implemented a protocol for speaking engagements as I referenced earlier, acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, traditional territory of Mi’kmaq First Nations. You heard me use this at the beginning today of my remarks. As part of its work in support of the cultural action plan, the Department of Justice is working in collaboration with Mi’kmaq leaders to create a new Gladue and Wellness Court at Wagmatcook, which will also provide Provincial Court services. It will be one of the first of its kind in the country.
Showcasing and sharing our cultural expression and shared heritage is important to Nova Scotians and helps attract visitors to the province. I know that two of our universities, in particular CBU and St. Francis Xavier, are doing lead work with the Mi’kmaq community in terms of course offerings.
Government has supported numerous events and activities this year that highlighted the strength and diversity of culture in our province. Some examples include: support for cultural showcases as part of Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships gathering; and support for Grand Pré 2017, celebrating 400 years of friendship between the Mi’kmaq and Acadian peoples.
We invested $4 million in fiscal year 2016-17, and $2 million this year in community groups across the province for them to celebrate and share Nova Scotia’s unique culture, our diverse communities, identity, and languages as part of our Canada 150 celebrations. Through our diversity and community capacity fund, which is made possible through the Support4Culture program, we help communities develop programs and services that support diversity and social equity. This program also supports traditionally marginalized communities and helps to build the capacity organizations that support marginalized groups.
One example that I am very proud of took place this past June on Multiculturalism Day. The Potlotek First Nation community hosted a Celebrating Neighbours event in response to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The event celebrated the culture and customs of both the Mi’kmaq and non-Mi’kmaq neighbours and friends. This event was truly an inspirational example of how CCH brings communities together to reflect on and celebrate the gift of our diversity.
Through our Mi’kmaq cultural activities program, also made possible through the support of culture funding, we were able to provide funding to Eskasoni Mental Health and Social Work Services for an art therapy program to support positive mental health. The approach used to develop the Mi’kmaq cultural activities program is also of note. The program was designed in collaboration with the Mi’kmaq community. This participatory approach to grant program development was submitted for consideration to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Innovation Review project. Over 150 innovations were analyzed from 46 countries, and this program was short-listed and is now included in the organization’s innovation database of the latest developments in public sector innovation on the ground today.
Madam Chairman, these are just a few examples of the important work, life-changing work in some instances, that CCH carries out each and every day in partnership with Nova Scotian communities, work that makes a positive difference in the lives of all Nova Scotians. Looking ahead, a few of our priorities in the coming months and years include: we will repeal the province’s Multiculturalism Act and replace it with a modernized piece of legislation that reflects the breadth and depth of our diversity in this province; this Fall, we will launch a Culture Innovation Fund to support new and innovative culture initiatives that addresses social priorities and opportunities; later this year, we will finalize and roll out new regulations under the Heritage Property Act.
I know protecting our province’s heritage is important to Nova Scotians. It is also important to me as minister and to the Government of Nova Scotia. To help showcase the high calibre of Nova Scotia’s creators and artists, we are developing a Buy Nova Scotia Culture marketing campaign to help encourage both Nova Scotians and visitors to acquire, consume, and experience the vibrant and diverse cultural offerings that our creators produce, from world-class theatre, music, and dance to craft beer, wine, cider, and spirits to engaging and uplifting art, festivals, and events.
Another important service supported through CCH is Nova Scotia’s public library system. Our public libraries not only facilitate continuous learning, they play a key role in helping us build stronger communities. Government recognizes the important role they play and has continued to maintain our annual funding at $14.4 million. However, we recognize that libraries continue to find it challenging to meet the needs of their communities under the current per-capita-base funding model, which is outdated and does not encourage innovation. We are currently working with libraries to develop a long-term, sustainable plan that will best meet the needs of the citizens they serve. As minister, I will continue to work collaboratively with regional library boards and libraries across the province to ensure their sustainability and continued relevance.
The Nova Scotia Public Archives plays an important role in preserving our province’s written documents. In doing so, it helps hold us accountable and serves as our province’s memory. Nova Scotians depend on their provincial archives to conduct research. Its role as a keeper of our history and information cannot be understated. I would like to take a moment to share an exciting archives initiative with you. Next month, the archives in partnership with Select Nova Scotia and Nimbus Publishing Ltd. will launch a cookbook of historical Nova Scotia recipes. The recipes range from 1765 to the 1970s. The recipes were sourced from the archives’ holdings, demonstrating an innovative way of preservation of the past and benefiting Nova Scotians today. I am expecting that this cookbook will be a popular gift this holiday season.
Nova Scotia is home to a strong and vibrant culture sector. Some of our country’s best songwriters, musicians, artists and artisans, writers and book publishers are from Nova Scotia. That is why we will continue to invest in this sector through our Creative Industries Fund. In 2016-17, the fund’s inaugural year, we invested $2 million in 47 Nova Scotia cultural organizations and businesses. It has to be one of the most exciting endeavours that I have come to experience first-hand as I cross our province.
This investment of $2 million will continue into the 2017-18 fiscal year in support of Nova Scotia-based creative industries. To achieve the export outcomes necessary to grow our creative economy the fund is leveraging investment from businesses and from other provincial and federal partners to grow export capacity and create sustainable economic growth for Nova Scotia. This investment helps strengthen the global exporting capacity of the culture sector while also supporting the overall development of the sector. For example, in fiscal year 2016-17, Nova Scotia publishers undertook over a dozen projects, producing 167 books, created 15 new jobs, representing a 23 per cent increase in employment in this sector, and expanded their global export reach by attending international and national book fairs.
Madam Chairman, advancing cultural diversity is a pillar of the Culture Action Plan. In the coming months and years, we will undertake important and necessary work to further embrace and celebrate our province’s diversity. We will continue our work to ensure that every Nova Scotian has an opportunity to pursue their dream and contribute to building stronger communities. To this end, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues - Ministers Diab, Delorey, and Ince - in the coming years to make sure the voices of Acadians, the Gaelic community, and African Nova Scotians are heard. Together we will strengthen the work of the province’s cultural offices: Acadian Affairs, Francophonie, Gaelic Affairs, and African Nova Scotia Affairs.
Madam Chairman, Nova Scotia’s culture includes our province’s sports and recreation. Communities, Culture and Heritage collaborates with communities to help provide Nova Scotians with access to sport and physical recreation opportunities. We all know the benefits of sports and recreation and the role they play in improving our quality of life, our health, and the vibrancy of our communities. We offer a multitude of funding programs which support communities in ensuring their citizens have playgrounds, arenas, recreation centres, and other venues for Nova Scotians to stay active, healthy, and fit. In doing so, we partner with communities and municipalities throughout the province.
I would like to highlight a few important programs delivered through Nova Scotia that support recreation, sport, and physical activity in communities. We are proud to be able to continue to invest in a healthy and active Nova Scotia through programs such as After the Bell, Facility Access, Walkabout, and Learn to Swim.
We invest in provincial sport and recreation organizations and enjoy strong partnerships with Sport Nova Scotia and Recreation Nova Scotia. In fact, with regard to Recreation Nova Scotia, we were the first province in Canada to embark on and develop the Recreation Charter for Canada, and I think that is already starting to show immense benefits to our population as recreation is a great gateway to beginning fitness and recreation as a wellness opportunity.
This year we are looking forward to implementing the Nova Scotia Shared Strategy for Recreation which will be led in partnership with Recreation Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Strategy is the first in Canada where the sector and government share responsibility for those actions. This government and the sector are breaking new ground, and it promises to be an interesting year.
This year we will also work with sport and recreation stakeholders to address barriers to participation for under-represented populations. These populations include women and girls, people with low socio-economic status, and people with disabilities.
Madam Chairman, there are many communities throughout this province that rely on local facilities as gathering places for culture, sport, and recreation activities. I am pleased that the 2017-18 budget contains over $3 million for community and recreation facility improvement projects.
We know that systemic racism is an issue that still impacts far too many Nova Scotians. This year we will continue our work with the community across government and with other partners to continue to address systemic racism and discrimination. My vision and that of my government is that all Nova Scotians will fully embrace diversity and, in doing so, our province will become a model of optimism, harmony, stability, and opportunity.
An important focus for the department is bringing our past to life and facilitating opportunities for Nova Scotians to benefit from lifelong learning. Through institutions like the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia museum system, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia we preserve, protect, promote, and present Nova Scotia’s arts, culture, heritage, and languages.
CCH is the custodian of the Nova Scotia museum system. As minister, I believe there are opportunities to leverage the value of these important cultural assets to ensure all Nova Scotians know and appreciate our diverse history and culture and to further support tourism opportunities.
The museums are doing a great job now. However, the Nova Scotia Museum faces many challenges as it strives to tell Nova Scotia’s stories. Aging facilities, lack of access to technology, and limited support for updating interpretation and exhibits all hamper its efforts to tell our stories in a digital world.
In addition, our museums have traditionally been telling stories predominantly through the lens of Anglo-Scottish culture. We need our provincial museum system to focus on diverse stories of provincial significance to close the gaps in our provincial narrative. To reflect Nova Scotia’s diversity and ensure our museums remain relevant - especially for younger Nova Scotians - we need to refocus the system. We need to work with our museum colleagues across the province and develop a strategy for telling stories in the 21st century - stories that engage Nova Scotians.
Therefore, in the coming months and years, we will collaborate with the Nova Scotia museum board of governors to explore ways to revitalize and modernize the Nova Scotia museum system to ensure it best meets the needs not only of citizens today, but for generations to come.
I am pleased to report that Bluenose II has just completed a successful season. What a welcome statement for the new minister! She welcomed just under 110,000 visitors and undertook 70 harbour cruises this season - an increase of about 55,000 visitors from 2016. Nova Scotians are proud of Bluenose II and greeted her with enthusiasm as she visited communities throughout the province this summer. I know they are looking forward to seeing her sail our waters again next year.
I would have to say that, yes, a lasting memory may be as minister - and just as an ordinary Nova Scotian - when Bluenose II sailed into Annapolis Royal this summer. I was there on the afternoon for a cultural event, actually a dance event at Kings Theatre. I wasn’t able to actually stay for the very sailing itself but only to see thousands who had gathered on both sides of the Annapolis Basin to proudly witness Bluenose II sailing in for its sail pass with a number of other ships that day, to see how Nova Scotians were embracing the icon of our fleet.
This year, we will also continue our work to determine the best path forward for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The existing Art Gallery facility is aging and has challenges in terms of size, functionality, and building systems. We will continue our work to determine the appropriate next steps which will best meet the needs of the Art Gallery and Nova Scotians.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge that I am aware that Nova Scotians are excited and eager to view the Annie Leibovitz collection. It is truly an honour and a great opportunity for our province to have acquired this internationally-renowned collection. The priority of the gallery and my priority, as minister, remains to share the work of this iconic and celebrated artist both here in Nova Scotia and across the country. We have reached out to the artist and her studio to discuss next steps. These conversations are complex and ongoing and Nova Scotians have my personal commitment that we will update them as soon as we have new information to share.
Finally, Madam Chairman, I would like to acknowledge the important role of Arts Nova Scotia, an independent body that oversees a budget of $3 million in government funding to support programs for professional artists and arts organizations, arts education programs, and a number of arts awards and prizes. Its board of directors champions the fundamental role of the arts for all Nova Scotians. I would like to acknowledge their hard work and thank them on behalf of government for their commitment to making the arts an integral part of Nova Scotian society.
Madam Chairman, the work of CCH is diverse and, in the time afforded to me today, I have only touched on a small portion of the department’s work and priorities in the coming months and years. Suffice to say that the department’s work truly touches and benefits every single Nova Scotian and every community. We know the department’s work makes a real, positive difference in the lives of Nova Scotians. Connection to community is the foundation of the work we do at Communities, Culture and Heritage.
I am proud of the work we do and excited about our plans for the coming year. I’ll close by thanking the staff of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Arts Nova Scotia, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, the Advisory Council on Heritage Property, the Nova Scotia Museum Board of Governors, the Public Archives Board of Governors, the staff and board of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and all of the department stakeholders and volunteers who care passionately about their work. By working together, I am confident that Nova Scotia can become a leader as a place where cultural identity, expression, and economy prosper. Together we will keep our community strong and vibrant.
Now, Madam Chairman, if the committee has questions regarding the work of Communities, Culture and Heritage, I would be very pleased to take them.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you, minister, for your remarks. We will turn over to the PC caucus for one hour. Mr. Harrison.
MR. LARRY HARRISON: Welcome, minister, welcome to the staff. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the staff over the last few years and I must admit that you are in very good company, minister, with that staff. They are very competent.
Communities, Culture and Heritage, when I think of the statement that is made in the States now “Let’s make America great,” to me that is kind of a narrow statement for their communities, culture, and heritage. I like to think that we could make that statement, but it’s going to be a broader statement. We have so many nationalities in Nova Scotia and it is so nice to see. For me, to make Nova Scotia great would be to bring the best of all those cultures that we have here together to make this province great. All these cultures do have a lot to give in so many different ways, and I’m very pleased that your department is certainly bringing that out in many ways.
What I’m going to do for a few moments is some budget items. These are going to seem awkward to me because I don’t even ask my wife budget stuff. (Laughter) Bear with me. This must be a lot better for you than the last portfolio. I certainly didn’t envy you in that, that’s for sure, but this here hopefully is going to be a more rewarding ministry.
Last year, the department was over budget by $16 million. Can the minister tell me where that money was spent?
MR. GLAVINE: First of all, I want to thank the member for acknowledging the expertise and the support that staff at CCH provide. Certainly, I hear that from all of our members that have any opportunity to connect with the department. I also thank the member for his kind remarks in terms of the honour that I have to be the minister of this department. I can assure that, while phenomenal work goes on each and every day, there is a lot of excitement in this department. I really embrace that daily work environment and the attitude of this department - they see themselves making a difference in the communities and in the lives of Nova Scotians. Any time a direct link is made, I think it just raises people to work hard, to work smart, and bring their expertise into our communities. So, I thank the member for almost making another opening statement this morning.
The $16 million came at a time when we had a wonderful opportunity to invest in a number of community projects that had been, for a number of reasons, in a delay mode, if you wish, as we work to get our financial house in order. Many of these projects did all of the engineering work, all of the design work, and we had a number of these come forward all at one time.
The increase of $16.236 million does have a number of elements to it. Infrastructure is $12.269 million. I know that if the member takes a look at the investment in infrastructure and if he were to go down through the projects that have been supported, these projects have been so welcomed in the communities across our province as finally getting the money, finally getting the green light to go ahead, or to bring the infrastructure to conclusion.
This year, of course, we were asked to step up and leverage or match the 150 forward events in our province. This was a one-time event that comes along and I think we all embrace. I think all of us as proud Nova Scotians, proud Canadians - whether it was July 1st or on some other date and occasion in your community - if you had the opportunity to step to the mike in front of Nova Scotians, how proud we felt at these 150 celebratory events. So, we put a bit over $2 million into those Canada 150 forward events.
What was wonderful about some of these events is that they also left some legacy in the community. They just weren’t about fireworks and bounce kingdoms, if you wish. They were a great deal more than that. Some communities will be able to point to - whether it was park benches - a number of different kinds of legacy pieces that became dedicated on the 150th Anniversary. We now know, as we get into October, we supported altogether 400 projects.
I think it’s wonderful that Canada and our province took the time and embraced what was probably 95 per cent, maybe even 99 per cent, of volunteerism to create these projects in our community. There’s a number of them; I don’t know if the member would want me to reference some of these or not. I think of Margaree Area Development Association and Canada Day literacy festival, what a remarkable event took place in that community. Each of us now, I’m sure, can refer to one or several of these 150 projects.
In my community of Kingston-Greenwood - the Kingston part of that dual- community relationship is a very, very old community - on July 1st they created an ancestral parade where they had people in costume from the different eras of that community, and they paraded to the civic field in Greenwood for their celebration. To have that old stagecoach concept brought to life, even before the railway days, was a wonderful moment. Many of our communities stepped up and that’s where over $2 million went.
Support for the regional libraries - we still haven’t finalized the funding formula for the future, and we’ll probably be talking about some of that as well. We infused almost $500,000 into our libraries. We did that equitably across the nine regional library boards for their distribution and as a one-time support until we get the funding formula realized. Hopefully that will be coming in the not-too-distant future.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Mr. Harrison, you’ll probably get four questions in with this man.
MR. GLAVINE: If he asks for shorter responses, I’ll do my best.
MR. HARRISON: No, I’m fine, minister, and I do really appreciate that answer. You’ll get no criticism from me in that because it’s hard to budget for everything that may come up on the spur of the moment. I’m glad the department is open to funding some of these as they come up, because not to fund them would actually hurt our province rather than help.
Again, around the same thing, it appears over $17 million was spent on Grants and Contributions. Can the minister tell us how that was spent?
MR. GLAVINE: This sum of grants was for investments in community infrastructure. This is an established program at CCH. Each year communities present a proposal to CCH. Very often, they are first vetted and supported by one of our six regional managers who will hear from an organization or a group to take a look at particular large-scale infrastructure projects. This year, there were 16 altogether: Cape Breton Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation; Jordantown; Acaciaville; Conway Community Centre; the Discovery Centre got its last amount of funding that went towards its completion. I don’t think I want to divert to the Discovery Centre. I was there several times during its building phases and there during its opening, and there with three grandchildren who are seven, nine, and 11, who were obviously over the moon with what they experienced. I won’t go there in detail.
Lunenburg Academy, bringing that heritage site to life, what a monumental project. What an investment for what I see for the next 100 years, and the diversity around the cultural enterprise that the academy will now take on. I was at St. F.X. for the fifth one, which is an investment of about $1 million in the Special Olympics. I happened to be in Antigonish that day and took part in that announcement. Next year we’re going to have Special Olympians from across Canada converge on our province, on Antigonish, on St. F.X. for what will be a memorable event for our province.
The Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex; Orenda Canoe Club, which has a wonderful history, and with very limited resources has been able to produce world-class paddlers. To see their facility upgraded, I believe, is another great project.
I think we saw that visual last year at the Cape Breton Miners Museum - that each day, a day before it was going to rain, the buckets were distributed around the Miners Museum. To our miners and to the families of Cape Breton and to future generations, to make sure there’s viability of the museum - that’s a tremendous investment.
The Antigonish branch of the Canadian Association for Community Living - I think we have some idea of the work that goes on there. The Cheticamp culture quarter; Upper Clements Park; the Black Cultural Centre; Lake Loon-Cherry Brook Community Centre; the Village of Canning, which will open their multi-complex tomorrow - what a wonderful addition for their community with a new complex; the ROC Society; and the Newport arena, which got its final dollars and opened up after the roof and arena collapsed.
These are wonderful infrastructure projects. I think for any government to have the ability to fund them was a tremendous positive for those communities and for our province.
MR. HARRISON: You mentioned the Special Olympics. Unfortunately, this was the first year I’ve missed since being elected. I had something else on, but that is money well spent. To look at their faces when they march in - my goodness, it’s just absolutely amazing. I hope that kind of funding continues because it is so important in their lives, for sure.
The Premier made an announcement back in 2016 about $3 million for a new arena in Windsor. Is that still being funded or has that gone by the wayside?
MR. GLAVINE: That commitment certainly remains strong from the province. There have been a few challenges perhaps between town, county, and how the additional funding will be put together. The Windsor Agricultural Society also has had a very historic and significant place in the use of the current arena. I know that while we had an announcement that we were hoping that all the partners and the site selection would be in place by now, it required a very, very strong feasibility study - Windsor, designated as the birthplace of hockey and bringing in the heritage society and what will be, I think, a great museum piece for that community and our province. I believe that designation of Long Pond as the birthplace, the beginning, of hockey, with sticks that were made by our Mi’kmaq in the first going off, is going to gain national and international attention when it’s finally done.
The feasibility study is under way. In the next few months, hopefully, we will have that all laid out as to what money is coming from the levels of funding and where the location will be. I think it’s going to be another great project for our province.
MR. HARRISON: The Apple Dome project, how is that coming?
MR. GLAVINE: The member is now moving into my backyard almost, as Berwick is in my constituency. I will digress for a little bit because I think the community of Berwick has shown the province and perhaps beyond that when a community is committed to a facility of whatever nature, whatever scope, to have the community state from the beginning - and I give former MLA, another man who survived the Health portfolio, George Moody, a great deal of (Interruption) We’re going to have a team, a committee, a club of survivors.
Anyway, the leadership of George and other community leaders like John Nichols, for example, and a host of others who joined to that committee, made the commitment that no shovel would go into the ground until the community had raised one-third of its funding. The one-third of community funding took seven years; it took 10 years for the building of the arena, the Apple Dome, with its walking track and community hall. Again, it’s just a phenomenal facility.
The contract has been awarded, and ground has been broken for Phase II of the Apple Dome. For some reason, the company that got the contract for this project - Lindsay’s, that’s right - plans to have it well under way this Fall and work through the winter. If everything goes well, that facility should be open late in the Spring.
MR. HARRISON: The $500,000 for improvement to facilities for veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in Antigonish, how is that money being spent?
MR. GLAVINE: I’m familiar with the organization and the work that they do. But I will have to get a little bit of information from the deputy in terms of how that’s progressing.
Antigonish has become a community that has heightened its support, programming, and acknowledgement of the disability community. They have a L’Arche community. L’Arche is the living component, but this community centre is where many come to actually carry out a day’s activity and work. Again, I see it as a tremendous investment for that community and for the lives of those severely disabled.
What I will commit to is getting a project update, and maybe I have it right here in front of me. It’s the Antigonish branch of the Canadian Association for Community Living. We are investing $508,000 in this project. It’s for adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s a partnership with the Antigonish Legion Branch 59. It really is going to develop a 6,000- square-foot auditorium for recreation and community events, a commercial-sized kitchen, a woodshop serving seven supply stores, a bakery, and a small café. It’s one of those enterprises where the intellectually disabled will come and actually perform work that has a business component and they sell those products from the workshop.
It’s also 1,200 square feet that will house the Legion and a mini-museum of military artifacts. Again, it’s one of those well-thought-out multi-complexes. What we will do is get an actual update for you and let you know how work is progressing there.
MR. HARRISON: Thank you. The investment in the Lunenburg Yacht Club, what line does that belong to?
MR. GLAVINE: Yes, actually I had hoped to get down to see that work. The yacht club and its facilities were actually in a very bad state of repair. Just for the local club, they certainly had significant challenges but with the investment in that project, to be able to host a national event which has gone on this September, has been able to enhance that community and that club and its work.
I think that this is under the facilities grants and it was a facility certainly in need of the upgrade. This is a very well-involved club that has a great summer program, a great sailing program, and now has the ability to host the national event - which they did this Fall, of course.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Global event.
MR. HARRISON: The Chair was filling me in on a little bit of the detail as well, minister.
The Bluenose II, did it fulfill its mandate for the year, without interruption?
MR. GLAVINE: Thank you very much for that question. Just to go back to your previous question, the amount of money - and maybe you had identified this - we did put $150,000 into the Lunenburg Yacht Club.
I guess after being here in the House through the building of the Bluenose II, the launch and the challenges of the Bluenose II, to have a season like we just had really is what the mandate of Communities, Culture and Heritage is all about. The responsibility, as minister and as a department, is to have an ambitious but realistic schedule for the Bluenose II. I know that all eyes were on the Bluenose II this summer. It went into the water with its new wooden rudder so that work was done.
I reference that that work and any future work and so on that has to be done will come under TIR. That engineering, that mechanical - that’s absolutely the department that should be looking after any of those requirements for Bluenose II.
Bluenose II had a spectacular year, and I’ll just highlight a few events. It has been our iconic ambassador to many areas. This year in celebrating Canada 150, we went to Boston, Quebec City, and seven Nova Scotia ports this year.
The trip to Boston really started to highlight what that value of Bluenose II is. In speaking about our history, our culture, and our connection to the New England states, in four days 28,000 people took the time to visit Bluenose II. Also, the creation of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, I can be corrected there, but they also had a travelling mobile exhibit with Bluenose II that had artifacts - a bit of that museum approach to having more people have an opportunity to get a fuller picture because it had artifacts and live interpretations that show the original building and legacy of the Bluenose.
In many ways, this summer reached what I would call - and what I hope will be - an annual expectation, and that is 100,000 people stepping on the decks of Bluenose II. It had, I believe, around 67 excursions that went out - most of them out of Lunenburg - that people paid a fee to go out and experience Bluenose II under sail and on the water. I think it’s just a wonderful experience - 64 harbour cruises by the end of the sailing season. It went to Lunenburg, Pictou, Halifax, Sydney, Digby, Bedford, and Prince’s Inlet. It really had an exceptional season.
Again, the time in Quebec City - it could have stayed longer to accommodate more people. It really gives us a picture now, if there is something in Atlantic Canada where there is a significant cultural event going on during the summer and Bluenose II is invited, that will be the work of our department to work to schedule and have Bluenose II part of those celebrations. It went to the Quebec ports of Gaspé, Quebec City, and La Baie, and of course, it represented the province in 27 ports in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.
It really has been an exceptional year. I, like many Nova Scotians - not because I’m minister but as a former teacher teaching Maritime Studies, I taught about the Bluenose and how it gained its fame in those races from the fishing banks, through the waters of the northeast, back to port.
I did get on the first replica of the Bluenose because when I started teaching in the early 1970s, there was a contest in Nova Scotia for children who raised money for the first replica of the Bluenose by saving dimes. My Grade 8 class did a phenomenal job in raising money through dimes and we were rewarded. My class, if you can imagine, got a trip on Bluenose II out of Halifax Harbour. To this day, when I see some of those students it’s one of the first things that they actually like to talk about, because how many of us have memories from Grades 7 and 8 - maybe a particular teacher for one reason or another? But that was a highlight, probably the highlight of their school days, that they got to sail on Bluenose II. It is my hope over the next 40, 50 years that many Nova Scotians will be participating in stepping on Bluenose II.
MR. HARRISON: I must admit the tourists that have come to this province this year has just been incredible. It has been incredible to see those cruise ships in the morning when I drive in; it’s nice to see. And I am glad that Bluenose II has been part of that, because last year was not a great year. It is really nice to see that Bluenose II is going to be an important part of that tourism season.
Moving to sports and recreation - can you explain why the budget for Development and Support, Recreation and Sports Organizations, is decreasing by almost $1.7 million?
MR. GLAVINE: One of the first factors that would always come into play is in terms of our programs and how many applications we would have, especially the four programs that are in Thrive! So that would be one area, but the biggest variance that comes into play this budget year is that we had a three-year commitment to Membertou for the new double-pad, year-round arena complex, and actually kind of a multiplex as well, and we have finished that agreement now and so that would be a big part. But I know there has been a little less uptake in a few other programs. I think you might be speaking specifically to sports and recreation investments here, and that’s where our variance is.
MR. HARRISON: So, you’re saying, minister, that the programs are not suffering?
MR. GLAVINE: No, in fact to keep the work of Thrive!, I am a member and a minister who believes when there are good programs - Thrive! came in under the NDP Government and it had a number of very, very valuable programs especially when you think of taking Grade 3s and working to have every Grade 3 student learn to swim. I mean, what a magnificent program - and you know sometimes the cost there is actually busing kids to the pool, because we know every community cannot have a year-round pool.
That program gets very good uptake. After the Bell is a program that does not cost children to participate in a sport or recreation activity, and we have some wonderful examples in our communities across the province. So that area is not suffering in terms of monies that we would be investing especially in our youth.
I would just make a very quick reference to the fact that we are certainly looking at that whole kind of revitalizing youth and sport and activity both in our schools and in our community. Just coming off the term as Minister of Health and Wellness, I realize that we all have to work to support all Nova Scotians, but especially the next generation, if they can be more active, move away from the amount of screen time - there’s nothing wrong with appropriate screen time, but for far too many now it’s too much screen time. The Kids’ Run Club, we invested $15,000 there; KidSport which, again, is an outstanding program to help fund young people to get into sports programs: $405,000 go into that program, and it funds grants of up to $300. If a child wants to register for hockey, soccer, baseball, or whatever it may be, families can get that kind of support. In many ways, I would encourage all of us as MLAs, anytime we’re putting out a newsletter - it’s a great one to put in the newsletter to have parents be aware that there is support for their children to get into sports.
With what we’re doing now - just on the horizon, and I would make this known to you, member, and all of our members and Nova Scotians, there’s a national program that is being developed and we’re hoping to tie in in a bigger way in fostering physical fitness and well-being for all of our citizens, and hopefully that will be coming around the corner.
MR. HARRISON: Just before I forget, being able to help parents is really huge. My grandson is 10 years old. So far, he has played soccer, football, golf, hockey, and ball. He’s constantly active all the time. But I know it costs parents a fortune to allow their kids to go into all of this activity. My son will handle it; I’m not saying he won’t, but there are a lot of families out there that have two, three, or four children. I don’t know how they do it, really, because of the cost.
Is there a way in which we as MLAs can have a list of the grants that are available to help families with this kind of activity? We’re scrambling. We really don’t know what’s available. It would be nice for every MLA to have that information when they start out as MLAs.
MR. GLAVINE: That question is important to all of us as MLAs. I hear from rural MLAs probably in particular. Our offices are sometimes clearing houses for a whole range of questions around what is available, and sport is no exception as one of the programs we’re asked about.
We can make a commitment to offer the MLAs what programs and what thresholds and all of that are available to Nova Scotians. I like the question because sometimes we bring on new programs, but we don’t often continue to list, perhaps as strongly as we should, programs that already exist and are very valuable to all Nova Scotians. I know that we have to make a renewed commitment to have our young people grow up with healthy lifestyles, and giving them opportunities is certainly a significant part of that. We will have that forthcoming, and I thank you for it.
MR. HARRISON: This summer, the community of Brookfield applied for a grant from the Canada 150. There was so much demand for it, and of course not all communities got it. Brookfield didn’t get theirs, which is okay. They still survived with what they wanted to do.
But I must admit that the staff at CCH - I called them and asked them why, and they explained very nicely why they didn’t. The good thing was that they offered to help the community next year put their application together and to put in the proper information that would be required. Your staff is great, but it might save a lot of their time and effort if we knew specifically what was available and had the applications for that and so on. It’s really no criticism on the department at all because they are great once you call them and ask them for something. But it’s just that it’s hard to do all the time. It would be nice to have the information, that’s all.
MR. GLAVINE: First of all, with the regard I have for Mr. Harrison, he’s going to save me a lot of time evaluating my staff with the comment that he has just made.
But perhaps a concept like with workshops in constituencies so those organizations that are doing the applications, because very often there has been what I would call tremendous applications, proposals, but sometimes lacking some of the basic information that is required and all of a sudden when we go back, there’s a time delay - and you know, I also pride our department on two counts, that we look to support as many of those community initiatives as possible, but also they put a good rigour lens on the applications, which I think is important again to the taxpayer of Nova Scotia that every dollar gets good value from our department to support communities.
I think that’s a really good suggestion you’ve brought forward and we’ll look at addressing that and perhaps a pamphlet that explains in a little bit more detail what should be advanced in the department.
I would have to say for myself, as an MLA asking the department, long before I arrived, cultivating a really strong relationship with the staff that are in the regional offices I know was significant perhaps in successful applications of organizations in my riding. You know, while I got an opportunity maybe to write a letter of support or whatever, it was really that critical detail in information that the regional director and their staff passed on. So, don’t hesitate to call upon them, that’s their role, to assist in that way.
MR. HARRISON: Thank you very much, minister. Looking at the budget for trails, that is increasing by over $1.1 million - how is that coming into effect?
MR. GLAVINE: You’re right about the trails and I think the value of multi-use trails in our province and the area that we’re kind of focusing on and giving a bit more attention to is a multi-year trails strategy. I think our system is pretty strong and we could confidently say that the area of the Trans Canada Trail that we’re responsible for is certainly reaching completion, but again there are gaps in our trails system. So that $1 million is to work to bring to finalization the quality that the Trans Canada Trail needs to be and all those trails that lead into significant areas across our province.
I believe that the trail system can be another wonderful area of tourism. Some of the provinces that have recognized this for many years - I look at Quebec, I look at New Brunswick with what they do on the winter trail system that they have. For us to complete the trail system I think is absolutely imperative that we do it, but also that we start with a strategy that makes sure we maintain the trail system.
When I look at the abandoned railway through the Annapolis Valley, from Annapolis Royal to Grand Pré, and to have the investment to rebuild those bridges so that it’s safe again for multi use and to see that section opened this summer - it’s referred to as the Harvest Moon Trailway. Now if somebody wants to capture the historic communities and that railbed on the floor of the Annapolis Valley, you can go through many of those communities where you had the warehouses of the past to support the apple industry. So, whether you do it in a mobilized way or you do it through walking or biking, that’s now available.
We need to have that calibre of trail right across our province, and that’s what that investment is. It’s trail development - communities with trail leadership, engineering and expansion of our trails, professional services - all those are part of the investment that trails will receive.
MR. HARRISON: I’m not sure how many millions are devoted to Development and Support, Recreation and Sports Organizations - what particular projects are actually included in that?
MR. GLAVINE: In one of the areas that CCH has oversight is Sport Nova Scotia. Sport Nova Scotia has a governing board, governance structure, and they actually oversee 37 sports in terms of how they develop - participation of Nova Scotians in those sports all the way up to the very high-calibre athlete. That’s one of the areas in which CCH is significantly involved with.
We are very, very fortunate in this province to have a centre of excellence as a result of the Canada Games Centre in Bedford. It has become, for Atlantic Canada, a centre of excellence for high-calibre sports development.
We have just come off participation in the Canada Games. To have hundreds of athletes - I think over 400 - that went to Winnipeg this summer requires the involvement and development of both professional coaches as well as a very, very high level of skilled volunteerism. In terms of actual dollars to carry out our young Nova Scotians going to the Canada Games, there was an investment of $145,000, and it comes under the sport and recreation programming for the province.
I would have to say that investment often is the beginning of a person who has the potential then of discovering their athleticism and their love of a sport and the potential to even become an Olympic athlete. At the Canada Games this year, we as elected officials participating - and I’m sure many of the athletes heard the story of Catriona Le May Doan who went to the Canada Games, didn’t place very well at all, nowhere near the medals. It was that inner discovery of, gee, I want to be better, I think I can be a medalist someday - and as we all know, she went on to medal a number of times and participate in both the Summer and Winter Games.
That’s what the Canada Games can do for an athlete. To go there this summer and to be among the Nova Scotia athletes in the village was, again, another extraordinary experience.
Altogether in 2016-17, we supported 23 recreation organizations, and altogether 52 sport organizations. When we talk about Communities, Culture and Heritage, the Communities part is very much sport, recreation, fostering sport and recreation activity right across the lifespan.
Certainly, as a long-time coach, I love how much we are doing for youth in our province, and the opportunities that are there. For a small amount of money that we invest, for example, in the Doctors Nova Scotia run - we’re a participant along with them, and to see 4,000 children participate in a two-kilometre or four-kilometre run here in the Spring, it’s really a product of the run clubs that are in schools. We have about 200 of our 375 schools that now have run clubs. In the run club, we give $15,000 so that children can be participating year-round, then have a culminating event under the support of Doctors Nova Scotia. I see that, again, as a phenomenal event.
Municipal Physical Activity Leadership program, MPAL, gets $1.173 million for that particular initiative. It allows 40 municipalities and nine Aboriginal communities - I think soon to go to 10 - to develop and implement physical activity strategies in their communities.
In many ways, we’re reacting to a time when we have children not participating as strongly as they should be for healthy lifestyles. Those are a few examples for you, member.
MR. HARRISON: A question came to mind when you were talking about the projects. Are there weighted measures in place when assessing a project application to prioritize which applicants qualify for the program, and determine how much each applicant can receive?
MR. GLAVINE: That’s an important question, actually. Of course, it obviously depends on which one of our grant programs. When I said we needed to put rigour into how every dollar is spent that comes from our department, we’re at about $85 million, a bit more, of course this year, $2.-something million added. But we have - the applications go to an external panel, while other grants are approved after an assessment and a ranking will take place.
If you look, for example, at developing a soccer field versus maybe a building that’s not going to get as much use because it’s very specific, and the way soccer has been growing in our province, we would see that as a high rate of participation, and it may rank over a building proposal at a given time - so assessment and ranking by staff.
Again, one of the areas that I know we want to make sure that the projects have good merit for the individuals who will participate, plus for the communities, are they able to leverage and partner with the municipality with federal programs, especially ACOA? So, very much under the Culture Action Plan, we want to see our facilities up to a high standard. I think with the external panel, and the ranking and the assessment - this is where I would throw in, again, that sometimes with a year delay, we will often get a little bit of rethink around the project. How can it embrace more people to participate? Can the community commit to a five-year fundraising before a shovel ever goes in the ground?
I gave you the Berwick example. I would almost like to see that as a kind of rule in our department, that I would like to see us live by, but we know it’s not always realistic in some communities. They need more help to get their facility built, and up and running. It’s a good question that you give me to make sure that that process is strong in the evaluation.
MR. HARRISON: Do I have enough time for this last one? This is a toughie.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: You’re okay.
MR. HARRISON: Are we able determine how much project and grant funding is allocated to rural areas as opposed to urban areas?
MR. GLAVINE: That’s a great question that you’re asking. We’re now reaching a point in time where about half of the population in our province is in HRM. We may think that, therefore, we need a 50-50 split, if you wish, if you also include some other larger communities as rural or geographically away from the main centre of our province. But we can break it down more by region, and as we know, some regions are almost entirely rural by nature. We can probably get some of that information; by region is pretty easy to determine.
MR. HARRISON: Okay. I appreciate that.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Mr. Harrison, less than a minute - much less.
MR. HARRISON: Well, I’m not going to get a question in or an answer. That’s for sure. Hang in there. I will get to see you in an hour’s time. Thank you.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Order. We will hand it over to the NDP for one hour. Ms. Leblanc.
MS. SUSAN LEBLANC: I also wanted to echo Mr. Harrison’s applause of the staff at CCH. In my old life, my former life, I had the pleasure of working with many of them, in particular Arts Nova Scotia in the Culture division. I know the work that they put into what they’re doing in particular. I even sat on the board of Theatre Nova Scotia when Chris Shore was Executive Director of Theatre Nova Scotia. We were very happy that he was named Director of Arts Nova Scotia when that was formed. So, yes, I have a long history with some of the staff there. I’m going to focus most of my questions, I think, on the Culture division - Culture and Heritage - but not necessarily all of them.
I’m just going to get right to it, acknowledging that Minister Glavine is a wonderful question answerer with lots of background information. I’m going to ask some short snappers first and see if we can get through a few.
MR. GLAVINE: We’ll do our best.
MS. LEBLANC: I’m going to go through some of the budget numbers, first of all, so just some basic questions about budget lines. On Page 5.3 is the Office of the Minister and Deputy Minister. I’m just wondering if there are any programs that come directly out of that office, or is that money administrative money only and staffing money?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Before we move to the minister, just a reminder to the members not to refer to other members by their proper name. We operate by the Rules of the House in the Red Room, so it would be the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage rather than minister such-and-such.
MR. GLAVINE: There would be no programs that would be coming out of that budget line item.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Actually, I may have been wrong there because there was a reference to Ms. Leblanc, so perhaps . . .
MS. LEBLANC: That’s why I did it.
MR. GLAVINE: It’s a little more relaxed here.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, let’s go back to Ms. Leblanc.
MS. LEBLANC: There’s a small increase in the line for Arts Nova Scotia. Is that earmarked for something in particular or is that sort of a general increase across the board in programming?
MR. GLAVINE: I guess there will be a number of occasions where it will be a little bit perhaps repetitive in that we would have some due to wage increase. We also have a transfer of the publishing program from the Department of Business, which accounts for $160,000.
MS. LEBLANC: Then you mentioned in your opening remarks and it’s really clear in the budget that there’s an increase of about $2 million in Support4Culture. I just wanted to go through the different programs in Support4Culture and find out how much money is earmarked for each one of those programs, and if you can talk about what the plans are.
The first one, as I understand it, is the Artistic Innovation Program. I’ve heard a lot about this program from people in the department and everyone is very excited about it. Of that $2 million increase, how much is going to the Artistic Innovation Program?
MR. GLAVINE: In terms of the Artistic Innovation Program in 2017-18, there will be $84,000 going into the program. The program will provide one-time innovation grants to all of Arts Nova Scotia’s current operating clients, which number 26, with the requirement that the funds be used for growing opportunities for excellence in artistic development. That’s the driving caveat there.
Also, to put some emphasis on ways in which we can engage the public to a higher degree, that’s the essence of what that funding is about. I know that when we brought on something like the Creative Industries Fund, these have gotten great pickup and great enthusiasm for this additional funding.
MS. LEBLANC: Can you just clarify, I just missed that one part - you said it’s $84,000, a one-time grant, did you say that it’s for operational clients?
MR. GLAVINE: It’s for the existing 26 clients that are in the . . .
MS. LEBLANC: To access that.
MR. GLAVINE: Yes.
MS. LEBLANC: Then the next program under Support4Culture is artsVest. I’m just wondering how much is earmarked for artsVest this year.
MR. GLAVINE: So, artsVest will have $75,000 going toward that group this year. It will be in partnership with Business for the Arts that will introduce the artsVest program, which helps arts and culture organizations form funding partnerships with the business community. Probably you are familiar with some of that work - so artsVest, $75,000.
MS. LEBLANC: Of the $75,000, is that all the contributions - is that all matching funds or is that also to pay for some administrative parts of that program?
MR. GLAVINE: It’s really designed, from my understanding, to leverage with the business community, so it’s matching as much as possible to advance and expand upon that artsVest work.
There was just one matching last year that occurred for artsVest - okay, I’m just making sure here.
MS. LEBLANC: I guess what my question is, the whole $75,000, is that all matching funds? Is that going directly to the clients or is some of that money going to pay for administrative fees in that program?
MR. GLAVINE: No, it’s designed and earmarked to be a matching program.
MS. LEBLANC: The next program is the Arts Equity Funding Initiative, which I think is new. I was wondering how much is earmarked for that.
MR. GLAVINE: Yes, $75,000 earmarked for that program. It will support artists in the areas of creation, production, professional development, and funding for special travel. It will be managed by Arts Nova Scotia.
MS. LEBLANC: And then Creative Collaborations, how much of the $2 million - I’m just getting back to the original question - how much of the $2 million is earmarked for that?
MR. GLAVINE: Yes, $216,000 will go for that particular area. Again, it seeks to implement a set of strategic initiatives designed to be integrated into the peer assessment process, so $216,000.
MS. LEBLANC: These are community programs - and then the Diversity and Community Capacity Fund?
MR. GLAVINE: The Diversity and Community Capacity Fund is earmarked at $200,000 and the program supports diversity promotion and social equity activities, as well as the capacity-building efforts of organizations that will receive these grant dollars.
MS. LEBLANC: The Mi’kmaq Cultural Activities Program.
MR. GLAVINE: For the Mi’kmaq Cultural Activities Program, it’s $100,000, and it’s to foster Mi’kmaq artistic and community cultural development. This panel-reviewed, application-based program will support Mi’kmaq community groups and organizations, especially around preserving their culture and heritage.
MS. LEBLANC: The Heritage Development Fund?
MR. GLAVINE: This program has $150,000 and will provide conservation work grants and conservation device grants to owners of properties registered under the Heritage Property Act.
MS. LEBLANC: Then finally, the One-Time Emerging Culture and Heritage Initiatives Program.
MR. GLAVINE: This program will have $60,000. It’s a new program and designed for culture and heritage organizations or organizations partnering with specific culture and heritage interest to build capacity, develop innovative projects, and support our diverse communities.
MS. LEBLANC: Thank you for outlining all those numbers, that’s very helpful.
I’m wondering about the Culture Innovation Fund. Again, I’m very interested in that fund. I kind of asked a similar question yesterday to the Minister of Business about how he defines innovation. How is the Culture Division defining innovation for this fund?
MR. GLAVINE: As this fund gets under way in the department, perhaps taking a little bit of time here to outline that culture and creative expression have the potential to directly impact people by building pride and opportunities and providing outlets for expression. This fund will support innovation and new approaches to creating, partnering, and experiencing our diverse and vibrant culture in the province. The Culture Innovation Fund aims to enhance creative use of our culture and support the role that culture plays in our communities.
I guess one of the driving directions of this is to actually have culture work to tackle some of our persistent social issues. That’s going to take some of our artists bringing forth creative possibilities for doing this.
One of the areas that we’re seeing grow immensely in our province, and especially I know as an educator, is to see how our libraries are refocusing and rebuilding. Also, some of our museums are important community hubs. Again, the Culture Innovation Fund will enable these institutions to strengthen their roles in the community.
When I spoke last Saturday evening to the library association of the province, there was certainly a great deal of enthusiasm that was very evident and quite pronounced in my conversations. It’s interesting that our libraries attract maybe not that traditional librarian who was all about making sure the books were in the stacks. It’s really now embracing very creative people who are using the library hub as a place to strongly exhibit a wide variety of iterations of our culture. Librarians said they would be coming forward with a number of proposals to be able to use this fund based on the creativity that’s happening in our libraries.
What I like about this is that it’s going to be a fund to stimulate innovation and creativity and deliver some celebration of our culture, and our museums and libraries will certainly be one of those focal points for this particular fund.
MS. LEBLANC: I wanted to ask about federal money for cultural infrastructure. Does that appear in this budget, and if so, where? That’s my first question.
MR. GLAVINE: This is my shortest answer of the day: no.
MS. LEBLANC: Will it ever appear in this budget?
MR. GLAVINE: We’re talking about federal dollars here, so it wouldn’t be money that we would present for its accounting.
MS. LEBLANC: There is federal money for cultural infrastructure. Generally, my understanding with those types of funds is that they are levered - organizations or groups leverage provincial and municipal money with that federal money, so is there any avenue for that to happen?
I ask because there are many, many arts organizations and cultural institutions, I’m sure, all over the province, but I know for sure in HRM, that are facing - well, there’s a severe lack of physical infrastructure for arts organizations, visual artists and performing artists. People are desperate, buildings are literally falling around. I know of a theatre show that had to delay its cue-to-cue dress rehearsal the other night because there was work being done on the theatre’s roof that was taking more time because they found rotten wood everywhere so they had to delay everything - literally falling apart.
I’m wondering, how is the province able to assist in fixing the cultural infrastructure?
MR. GLAVINE: What I can say in terms of addressing your question is the province is negotiating now on terms around federal infrastructure, and funding culture and infrastructure certainly is part of the federal programs. Of course, we saw the most recent announcement from Minister Joly probably taking a very different direction, with a tremendous investment in the digital world in particular, but I do certainly take the point that you are bringing forward.
Our Community Facilities Improvement Program - CFIP - has a dollar value of $958,000. This program supports community projects initiated by local not-for-profit community organizations, and projects approved for funding are eligible for up to $50,000.
I know that you are certainly focusing on some infrastructure that is part of that federal responsibility.
MS. LEBLANC: Can you clarify what the name of that fund is, the $958,000 fund?
MR. GLAVINE: It’s CFIP, which is Community Facilities Improvement Program, and there’s $958,200 in that program. It supports community projects for the not-for-profit organizations, and they would be eligible to receive up to $50,000 under that current project.
MS. LEBLANC: You’ve twice emphasized not-for-profit. Most arts organizations in the province are not-for-profit, whether they are professional arts organizations or community arts organizations. I just want to clarify, could professional arts organizations that use cultural infrastructure apply for that funding?
MR. GLAVINE: As long as they met the criteria of not-for-profit, and many of those particular organizations are registered not-for-profits so that’s where some of the determination would centre around, I guess. Those are the essential criteria that we would be using, in terms of that grant of up to $50,000.
MS. LEBLANC: Can you tell me who might facilitate that grant, the name of the person who’d be like the grant officer?
MR. GLAVINE: These would be outlined most likely on our website in terms of the contact and criteria information and would come into the department for evaluation.
MS. LEBLANC: I understand that the website is quite informative. I only ask because I know of several groups that have had trouble accessing funding for this exact type of thing and are told that there is no place for that kind of funding. I just want to go back to those people with some more information, that’s all.
MR. GLAVINE: I know very often in CCH, we make every effort to sort of go down the hallway, if you wish, and identify a person who can help. We can get an actual name for you that could help an organization work through the application and outline the criteria and their eligibility. We can give you a name for you and any of the organizations that you have association with.
MS. LEBLANC: Can you provide the details of all the operational funding streams administered by Communities, Culture and Heritage, and where they appear in the budget?
MR. GLAVINE: It’s both an easy and a tough question that you ask. Almost 70 per cent of our budget will go out through an enormous array of grants. They’re totally throughout the work of our department. It was a bit like a question that Mr. Harrison asked around the scope of our grants. He was referring a lot to sport and recreation. If there is a particular fund that you want to drill down on, then we would certainly work on that. We would be going through anywhere from $50 million to $60 million and literally hundreds of grant programs that are covered by CCH.
Of course, we’ve added a significant number just in the last couple of years. When we reorganized the Health Department, we took grants that were traditionally in the Health Department under Thrive! and the Wellness component. We moved those over to CCH. To give you the best information about a particular grant or fund, identifying that fund to take you through what aspects it would cover in terms of culture and arts or recreation funding.
MS. LEBLANC: I guess I was specifically referring to operating grants - so for organizations that have sustained operating funding, not just project grants. I totally appreciate how much money it is that we’re talking about, although frankly, I wish it was more money that we were talking about. But I get that.
I just wanted to be clear that I’m talking about operational funding. It’s fine if you can’t answer it right now, but I would love to see that at some point if you could forward that to our caucus office, I guess. That would be helpful. I’m assuming it might be too hard to answer at this moment what percentage of your department’s overall budget is earmarked for operational funding, so operating grants.
MR. GLAVINE: I would refer to one of those areas. I know that you have a real strong, deep, and abiding interest in Arts Nova Scotia. There’s $1.3 million that will be distributed there for maybe around 25 organizations such as 2b theatre, Atlantic Flamenco Productions, Debut Atlantic. Take, for example, one of the ones that’s really renewing itself and gaining prominence, especially in China - Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. They will get an operating grant. We have hundreds of those organizations that we’re supporting, so we can get you some more details around what’s covered under the Arts Nova Scotia grants that we would be providing.
Many of those are small, but you take the Ship’s Company Theatre - again, which do wonderful productions. They get $50,000 a year. In the Valley, one of the ones I’m familiar with do phenomenal work - Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. We help them with whatever production they are doing, year over year.
We can get you a list of some of that detailed for you. Also, the Culture and Heritage Development Division has a development program of anchor organizations to provide to the culture sector. Again, these are a tremendous list of organizations, whether it be Acadia University, Acadia Cinema Cooperative Ltd., Anne Murray Centre, the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre, and on we go with many of these organizations. I’m sure organizations like the Kings Theatre Society - whether it’s $25,000 or $50,000, it’s a significant grant for each of those small theatre groups and their work.
In addition, there’s another whole long list of Community Museum Assistance Program grants. If I start listing all these off, I think your time for questioning is going to be quite limited, so we’ll get you some of that detailed information.
MS. LEBLANC: In terms of operational funding, I come from a place where, when I decided to take theatre at Dalhousie - I will admit that it was probably 1994 - when I first took my first theatre class, perhaps two days into the year, Dalhousie had decided that they were going to cut the music and theatre programs. I don’t know if you remember this, but it was a massive issue at the time.
There was a huge protest from the professional communities of music and theatre in Nova Scotia, because it was really the anchor training institution, except for Acadia, which was doing music and a little bit of theatre at the time. It was terrible.
Anyway, they brought it back. They managed to not cut it, but they implemented a whole bunch of restrictions around those programs.
From the very beginning of my career, I have been up against cuts to arts funding. I have to tell you that most of the professional artists I know, including the wonderful people at Ross Creek, including the wonderful people at Ship’s Company Theatre, are able to manage with levels of funding because they are creative and tenacious people.
I’ve done a quick survey of the salaries of the full-time employees of just a couple of local theatre companies. The full-time people who are running those companies are making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. If you compare that to a not-for-profit organization in another sector, for instance, a not-for-profit organization that’s funded by Community Services or any other - and again, I am not one for dividing and conquering, but if you look at a cross-sectoral analysis, arts organizations are underfunded and artists are underpaid, by a long shot, I would say.
Now again, I think people make it work. Artists rely on other sources of income and that kind of thing, but it’s very difficult to make a living as a professional artist. I obviously don’t think that the government should be - actually, I might regret saying that. But obviously there needs to be other sources, like private sector investment and that kind of thing.
Operational funding for organizations, when you look at it and go, oh, $50,000 for Ship’s Company Theatre, that is a lot of money. But at the same time, that is not really enough even to fund - I guess it would be a nice salary for the artistic producer of Ship’s Company Theatre, and then there’s no money for programs. While I understand that there are some significant grants that are given out in the department, I just want to be on the record in saying that what is a small amount of money for an overall government budget could make a massive difference to this department and to the organizations in the department.
As the Minister of Business yesterday reminded us, Nova Scotia has a thriving tourism industry, with good reason. We have an amazing place to live, and we have amazing things happening here. Part of that tourism is talking about our cultural sector. We make a lot of money on the cultural sector, yet the people who are making the work and creating that sector aren’t making any money, or they’re barely making ends meet.
I delayed having a family for years and years and years. I was like, oh, one day, something will happen, and there will be an increase. Then I finally thought, I can’t wait any longer, so I finally just did it anyway. I’ll tell you, many, many people can’t put down roots, and we need the young creative people to put down roots in this province. If I keep going, I’ll get emotional, so I’m going to stop talking about that.
Sorry, minister; I understand that you appreciate what I’m saying. I want to reiterate that I appreciate the work that the department is doing and the re-thinking about the funding that is going on.
I wanted to talk for a minute about the film industry. When the Film Tax Credit was cut a couple of years ago and replaced by the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund in the Department of Business, something that wasn’t replaced or re-funded, as it were, was the money for equity development and local film production. We still don’t have anything that’s funding the sort of homegrown under-$25,000 film budgets. I’m wondering, can you talk a little bit about if there’s any funding that is in your department or if there are any plans for that kind of funding in the future?
MR. GLAVINE: I would like to go back for a moment and relate a little bit to your comment, which I think is very valid, very valuable, and important to our conversation here - not just in estimates but for us as a government and also for those who are truly invested in the arts and culture of our province.
I guess the real challenge is to distribute the pie as equitably as possible. When I came into the department and started to hear a little bit about what the $2 million Creative Industries Fund did in its inaugural year, it was really one of those moments where you want to say hallelujah. We found both the support and the cultivation of our artists and artisans while at the same time, we could delight that, my gosh, it had economic generation, so when you can combine those two, it really is a wow moment.
I just wanted to share a couple of little things here with you, and maybe you were here for the opening. What the publishers accomplished with their 13 projects, they produced 167 books and created 15 new jobs. It was an increase by 23 per cent of employment in their sector.
Then we invested $15,000 in the Craft Alliance Atlantic Association, and they went to a New York International Gift Fair, and from that, six Nova Scotia craft producers generated $181,000 of business on site.
Then I take a look at what Mermaid Theatre has been able to accomplish with the investment we made and just how they’ve been embraced by China and a number of performances they did in a month-long tour and the invitations back. Again, there’s tickets being sold and they’re getting part of those profits that they could take back and continue to invest in Mermaid Theatre. The example, their debut tour, it did three cities, 10 shows, for a new family show, Guess How Much I Love You, and I Love My Little Storybook. In the People’s Republic of China, they asked for a five-week return engagement.
I think we’re onto something here but you’re right, the more we can spread it across that whole arts and culture community and this year we’ll certainly have another $2 million and perhaps that can be that seed money so that a number of our artists can have an opportunity.
I look at some of our musicians who got a small grant to go to New Zealand or Australia, and all of a sudden they’re in the top 10 on the charts. Nova Scotians discover them by way of New Zealand or Australia. I’m hoping this $2 million will see a lot of that blossoming, like the three examples I just gave you.
I know the question you had in particular is around the film industry, and I don’t want to skirt that for a moment. This year there will be $238,000, Screen Nova Scotia operating money. It’s additional funding available through an application-based program. Its whole goal is to support emerging and established screenwriters and producers.
We know that our filmmakers, writers, and producers of local content are eligible to apply for a variety of funding programs, including those offered by Arts Nova Scotia, as well as the Creative Industries Fund, which is that new fund of $2 million. It’s very inclusive of a whole range of artists and it could be, as well, for our filmmakers and our screen producers.
We’re committed to work with Screen Nova Scotia to strengthen our film and TV industry. We know what has been able to be accomplished here - the more we support the filmmakers, the writers, the directors, the producers, and get those grants out to them for their development.
I’m really interested in those who can emerge from very small, meagre beginnings, and sometimes in a totally either not-for-profit or even sometimes in our schools we give our students an opportunity to discover how they can produce a film. There’s a couple of examples from the school where I taught, West Kings District High School, where about 20 years ago we started to produce a film every year for Remembrance Day. I mentioned this before, a few students discovered that oh my gosh, this is something that I not only like but I’ve got an affinity for. People gave me accolades for the work that was done and for actors doing a 15-minute production for what happens just happens to be, perhaps, one of the strongest and best Remembrance Day programs in the country - again, giving opportunity.
I think this particular fund, it’s not big dollars, but it can open the door especially for an emerging filmmaker, writer, and producer. Last year in 2016-17, CCH invested in Nova Scotia screenwriters and producers through various programs, $231,000, which included the Arts Nova Scotia program, totalling $114,000, comprised of 14 grants to individuals and eight grants to organizations and small groups; Creative Industries, $94,000 for four investments; and Support4Culture’s Creative Collaborations, $22,000 through three investments.
I feel that’s the kind of money that really helps the beginnings and shows possibilities to individuals. We can provide a breakdown of actually the grants to individuals who received some of those dollars. Just to give you a couple of examples: Rebecca Parker, an exhibition for the Toronto Animated Image Society; Dawn George, a wilderness film expedition; Heather Young, a short fiction film called MILK; Jake Ivany, Trans Canada Documentary - and on we can go. You may have an interest in some of those artists who benefited from money to support, in many cases, their first film.
MS. LEBLANC: I just wanted to clarify, that $238,000 - which is new money, I believe, for Screen Nova Scotia - how much of it is for administration? How much of it is for grant programs? Or is there additional money for administration of the organization?
MR. GLAVINE: Yes, it’s for the actual realization of the grant, and operations are picked up within the department. The $238,000 is for operations of Screen Nova Scotia. Because we have the Creative Industries Fund and Support4Culture, we have about four other programs where screen-related industries would be supported.
MS. LEBLANC: Screen Nova Scotia won’t be running any granting programs from their organization with that money because $238,000 is a lot of money for an operating grant for an organization with two full-time employees. I’m just wondering if they’re using some of that money to run programs for emerging filmmakers.
MR. GLAVINE: They also provide dollars for funding. We’d have to get a breakdown for you to show the distribution of last year’s $231,000, and $238,000 will go out in this fiscal year, of course.
MS. LEBLANC: I would love to see a breakdown of that, that would be great. Thank you.
I was wondering about the Creative Industries Fund, which I agree is an excellent fund. When it was being administered through NSBI, I was part of many consultations about the fund and how it would work. One of the things that was challenging to get across, I guess, and to figure out how to make it work was the difference between different types of arts product, for instance, as you were saying, like books, craft. The return on investment for certain things is much quicker and easier for certain types of cultural product - I hate using that word when we talk about culture, but there it is. You can go to a craft with a $15,000 investment, and you can come out with $158, or whatever that amount was.
Certain things like dance or theatre, and I would say even visual arts like painting and that kind of thing, when those types of products are taken to export trade shows, for lack of a better word but they do exist, or when there’s investment made on the export of - even for something like Mermaid, the return can be much, much slower. It takes years for relationships to be built in the sector, especially international commitments and that kind of thing, and the actual dollar amounts because the product is more expensive to produce because it’s a lot more people. The return is less and slower.
I’m wondering, when the fund is administered, are there sort of safeguards within the fund and the way it’s distributed to account for that kind of thing? I know that in the application process you have to have measurable outcomes and that kind of thing, but I’m wondering, is there a way to safeguard against a comparison of apples to oranges, so the ones that are slower and more difficult for the investment to return if they don’t lose out?
MR. GLAVINE: I guess what I am struck on and see tremendous intrinsic strength in this program is the diversity of artists, artisans, performers, and to have 50 Nova Scotia cultural organizations and businesses that benefited from the $2 million. Yes, there are sectors of the arts that are much more tangible and easier to see the results. One of the goals - and I know having just talked to a number of people in the publishing business, Nimbus in particular when I was at the launch of the 150 Books of Influence in our province, and how thrilled they are to have us work with them to see the industry double in size over the next five years. There’s a goal. There’s now some money there for them.
I would love to see this the same in music and film design and throughout our whole creative sector to make it more sustainable. I think the tremendous opportunities are, indeed, not only at home, but in the export market. This year the ECMAs will be held here in the province as they celebrate their 30th Anniversary. There’s an invitation of European countries, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and across the country to come here and engage in what we would call an export expo that will allow those artists an opportunity to then go to those countries - producing a product at home, gaining from it here, but the international exposure again is of immense importance to them.
This was only developed in consultation with the cultural industries. Therefore, I think the hallmark will naturally be their evaluation as to how they see where these dollars have been invested, and being able to see for their sector that return or advancement and growth both here at home and through the export market.
This was not done on a whim. This really came out of that wider discussion and analysis of creating breadth and depth within the cultural sector.
I think there is an emergence in our province of enormous opportunity, both for individual artists to grow in their professions and in their creative areas, as well as for a real infusion into our economy. There’s no reason it can’t move from 3 to 5 per cent. It’s almost touching 3 per cent of our GDP, and to move between 3 to 5 per cent is not unreasonable when we start to look at the potential here that we already have a great deal of knowledge about. I would leave that judgment not to a statistic in the Department of CCH, but from those in the cultural sector who asked for this infusion and then will also be those who measure its success and advancement over the next number of years.
MS. LEBLANC: How much time do I have left, Madam Chairman?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: You have about seven minutes.
MS. LEBLANC: Okay, I’m going to ask a couple of technical questions again. I’m wondering if you can tell me the job title and the salary of the lowest-paid employee in your department.
MR. GLAVINE: We will have to get back to you on that. But through the summer with the 150 events on, the minister didn’t make much per hour. (Laughter) Those 70 hours a week were very easily realized this summer.
MS. LEBLANC: I appreciate that very much, having produced many cultural events. I understand 70-hour workweeks.
I’ll go back to my comments on operating funding. I’m sure you probably can’t get me all this stuff right now, but I would like to have it as soon as possible. I’m wondering about the amount the department budgeted for temporary staff in the last fiscal year - how much was spent and how much is budgeted this year for temp employees - and how many current vacancies there are under the umbrella of the department.
MR. GLAVINE: Certainly, we can gather that information. I did this in a much bigger department.
You really opened the door for me to just take two highlights of my summer - when we had staff accompany me to the Canada Games, which provided two days of tremendous meetings with the federal minister and my colleagues across the country and how well I was prepared. I had only been a minister for a matter of weeks at that time.
It gives me an opportunity to speak to the expertise that has arrived at CCH. I’m finding that many of the staff there were in other areas of the civil service but had a desire and a goal to eventually get to CCH because they have an interest in the arts, and they have an interest in culture. They love the richness of our museums across the province.
When I went to the federal-provincial-territorial meeting with cultural Minister Joly in Orford, Quebec, again the preparation that I had because we had a number of lead documents that we were presenting there. The quality of the staff is what I really want to speak to. Again, it’s a very, very dynamic department, and as you can see, there’s a very broad range of involvements.
We would have a number of part-time staff, so having vacancies in our department is very common. We currently have 21 vacancies in CCH. We know that a number of these are advertised. Of course, a number are also summer positions where we will be focusing on a particular project or work that needs a more intensive time to address. It’s 21 vacancies at the moment. Remember, we’re speaking to a lot of personnel who would never be in our offices here in Halifax but are distributed across Nova Scotia.
MS. LEBLANC: I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about your view and the view of the whole government, actually, on the impact of professional art and culture to the health and well-being of the province.
MR. GLAVINE: I’m glad you asked that question because right from my own days as a teacher, I guess, in my very first year of teaching I was fortunate to be involved in our school musical, and I spent 25 years in a school that has produced 50 musicals in its 60-year history. That enrichment that I received there through my education - in my family of 10 there were a number of musicians, so I come from a background that first of all says that we must grow and expand and provide opportunity for our artists and artisans, amateur and professional, in this province.
My hope is that we will see our budget grow each year at least by a little, this year around $2.5 million. I mean the work that has gone into the Culture Action Plan, it is an absolutely outstanding blueprint for the future, those six themes, without getting lost in hundreds of actions, and a big document - I’ve seen too many sit on the shelf. Other jurisdictions are looking at what we focused on, and saying gosh, that’s at the heart of moving . . .
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Order, time has elapsed. We will turn it over to the Progressive Conservative Party for an hour. Mr. Harrison.
MR. LARRY HARRISON: How are we doing, minister?
MR. GLAVINE: We switch off and we’re doing fine, sir.
MR. HARRISON: Perfect. I know there is a lot of overlap with CCH and Seniors so some of my questions are going to kind of go into both territories.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: We’re still on Communities, Culture and Heritage.
MR. HARRISON: I realize that, I hear you. There is a goal of building the capacity of community and not-for-profit organizations to involve older adults in their diversity as community leaders and volunteers and clients. How does the department handle this particular goal?
MR. GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Harrison, for that question. I know I need to focus on the lens of CCH. First of all, I would like to make this statement, that in many ways the Department of Seniors was in the physical context of the Department of Health and Wellness, and maybe that alignment was very much based on the fact of where I was located as Minister of Health and Wellness, because I was both Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister of Seniors.
One of the very quick realizations I gathered when I went to the Department of Health and Wellness and also having the hat of Minister of Seniors was that there was going to be maybe a lot of tie-in, a lot of reference to seniors and their health needs. I wasn’t there very long and that phrase about the burden of seniors on the health care system wore pretty thin with me and it was one that I just did not subscribe to. I didn’t want Nova Scotians - despite being the oldest average-aged jurisdiction in the country along with New Brunswick, I wanted us to move very quickly to a place where seniors were seen, whether it be from the minister down or from the department, as much more relevant and related, and really belonging in Communities, Culture and Heritage. Working to have seniors as a significant part of our community programs to me was a very, very important statement to make.
I’m sure, Mr. Harrison, you had the opportunity to be part of a community event recognizing volunteers. When I go to the two major events in my riding, when we’re talking about volunteers, I know they may have a few youth, some middle-aged people, but a very, very big number of volunteers are seniors. When I look at our organizations across the province, I say every day, without our volunteers, and they comprise a very significant number of older adults, as many seniors now like to be called, I think the more work that we can do in supporting them in the voluntary sector in particular, and we’re investing about $426,000 to support Nova Scotia’s volunteer and not-for-profit organizations. Some of that obviously goes into the Provincial Volunteer Awards, the administration of the volunteer sector, but I find it needs a stronger place within the concept of Communities, Culture and Heritage because we want our seniors to be a vibrant part of that sector.
MR. HARRISON: Yes, volunteers are so vital to any community because we’re getting to a point in society, I think, where we’re expecting government to do just about everything. It’s an awful position to be in because they can’t. Government just can’t.
If communities are going to be healthy and survive well, they’re going to need volunteers to do a lot of the work. The older adults have taken on that responsibility for years and years and years - as teens and as young adults. They have carried that right through their whole life, and that’s extremely important to communities.
I’m worried that once that generation starts to really die off, it’s not getting replaced by the youth and by the middle-aged folks. I know times have changed, and we can’t expect the same things. But is there some kind of public awareness about the benefits of being active in community and how to get involved in community?
MR. GLAVINE: It’s a little bit difficult to embrace this question just from the point of view of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage because it’s also very intertwined with our work in the Department of Seniors. We are certainly working to have seniors engage in a very significant way and not see ageism as encumbering our seniors to be a part of our community. Even now as we look at filling those ranks in our agencies, boards, and commissions, having seniors who first of all have great career experience, enormous talents, have had involvements in the volunteer sector - they bring so many different skills and perspectives that we have to have that very deep appreciation of how we can keep them involved in our communities, especially in the voluntary sector.
We’re reaching out to them in a whole number of ways and hopefully at some point we’ll get to my work in the Department of Seniors because I think what we have established as a very basic position, through our document SHIFT, that that’s going to, I believe, kind of refocus where our seniors need to be placed in terms of the attention they receive from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Just to take a little bit of an actual look here, to build a culture of volunteerism through volunteer recognition and appreciation is one of the goals of our department, and to strengthen community connections and volunteer engagement for our seniors, as well as youth, Mi’kmaq, and African - some of our minorities, of course.
I believe if we continue and can create even a stronger culture of volunteerism, the group that you’re talking about that are into that last kind of one-third of the life cycle, and within a dozen years or so we’re going to reach almost 30 per cent of our population over 65. That’s certainly where the heart of our volunteer sector seems to be.
I think in many ways we have to find and cultivate ways where they become the mentors for that next generation. I believe we need to actually cultivate programs that will allow that to happen because if it doesn’t, Mr. Harrison, you are on the mark, we will have missed out on a golden opportunity to really pass the torch. As a group, the millennials are not volunteering to the same degree. Again, whether it’s part of that age culture or whether it’s how much they have to work or it’s just not part of how they relate to their communities - because we know that our province has one of the highest rates of volunteerism in the country, one of the highest rates of people who financially give to campaigns, from that older age group of our population.
I thank you for raising that and I know we have to do more to attract seniors to not just our agencies, boards and commissions, but to keep them engaged in the life of their communities. I like to use the phrase because we do have some of those champions out there. We have some of our seniors and older adults who refer to themselves still as champions of change and involvement, and don’t want to just sit back but want to engage in still shaping the life of our province. But we’re going to have to work on that next generation.
MR. HARRISON: How am I doing crossing the line, Madam Chairman?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Well, you’re crossing the line, but you could switch over soon, it’s up to you. You have an hour, if you wish to fill that hour you may, or you may want to switch over to Seniors.
MR. HARRISON: Let me follow this line of thought with one more question. Working with partner organizations to promote mentorship opportunities for older adults, are the programs in place to help do that now?
MR. GLAVINE: I would say that we’re on the cusp of perhaps having to be much more proactive in having our seniors work on those areas. I know we’re speaking about seniors but we don’t have a specific program in Communities, Culture and Heritage that would work on that alignment of a younger person with a senior in the voluntary sector.
What I can say is that one of the areas that the Premier has tasked me with through my term and through my mandate is to work in some new ways with the voluntary sector. We cannot, by any means, let that go. We know, for example, and I think everybody in this Chamber, in this room, would take a look at one of our vital services that if we didn’t have volunteers - and again, there’s a lot of senior leadership there, and that’s our volunteer fire departments. Think of rural Nova Scotia without its volunteer fire departments. That may be one of those areas that not through any program, but we would have some of our older adults that do mentoring and take leadership roles there. Again, that would be a great example to clearly demonstrate that when the rookie comes in, there are some basics that the older members of that volunteer sector are tasked with in terms of training in particular, especially around the early weeks and months, safety being one the big ones that has to be imparted to that next generation.
I think there could be a little bit for us in the volunteer sector that we could actually through maybe a defined policy, that could help us bridge some of that gap that I think truly, as you stated, is starting to exist.
MR. HARRISON: Madam Chairman, could we make the shift nice and easy?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Shall Resolution E3 stand?
Resolution E3 stands.
Resolution E26 - Resolved, that a sum not exceeding $2,437,000 be granted to the Lieutenant Governor to defray expenses in respect of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry, pursuant to the Estimate.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Shall Resolution E26 carry?
The resolution is carried.
Minister, would you like a break at this time?
MR. GLAVINE: Yes, please.
[1:50 p.m. The subcommittee recessed.]
[1:53 p.m. The subcommittee reconvened.]
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Order. We will resume the subcommittee. We will switch ministries to Seniors.
Resolution E38 - Resolved, that a sum not exceeding $2,301,000 be granted to the Lieutenant Governor to defray expenses in respect of the Department of Seniors, pursuant to the Estimate.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: I will ask the minister to make opening remarks and introduce any staff.
The honourable Minister of Seniors.
HON. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. To my left is Deputy Minister Simon d’Entremont. We are a small department, so the remainder must remain at their desks. I just want to make a couple of very brief opening remarks.
Older Nova Scotians are a diverse population who represent a valuable source of knowledge and experience. It’s important that we continue to focus on the contributions older adults make in Nova Scotia. We have the highest volunteer rates among seniors in the country, with 44 per cent engaged in volunteer work, and 25 per cent of people between the ages of 65 and 69 are still in the workforce - that’s a really important stat: 25 per cent between the ages of 65 and 69. Of those, 25 per cent are self-employed entrepreneurs. Others are caregivers, leaders in our communities, and mentors.
Given our demographics, government’s focus on older adults is more important than ever. Really, probably a big part of my responses today will be around the fact that earlier this year, we launched SHIFT: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for an Aging Population, a government-wide initiative that focuses on the contribution older adults have made and continue to make to our province. This is the document if anybody hasn’t seen this. I can certainly say that all of us as MLAs - it doesn’t matter that it was produced under our government but this is getting much wider recognition than in Nova Scotia.
I’ll just leave it at that and we’ll get right to questions.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Ms. Masland.
MS. KIM MASLAND: I’ll start by saying you do have a small department here, minister, but you have a very important department. I thank you and all your staff for the work you’ve done so far and will continue to do because it’s a very important department to many lives in Nova Scotia, especially considering we have one of the highest aging populations in Canada.
I have a couple of questions for you. As you know, I was a senior safety coordinator prior to becoming involved in politics so my heart is very close to coordinators. I would like to go through a couple of things about senior safety. It did say to offer the Senior Safety Program in more communities - you’re looking to offer the Senior Safety Program in more communities. I’m just wondering how many we have now, are they full-time, part-time, and where else are you looking? Has there been any communication with anybody who is looking to start other programs?
MR. GLAVINE: I’m not sure if you want me to go through all the communities or counties that currently do have Senior Safety Grants coming to them, an organization and people like yourself who organized and orchestrated the program. We currently have 14 across the province. The counties that don’t are Colchester, Guysborough, Inverness, and Victoria.
This is a program that I put tremendous value on and I know the deputy minister as well has gone across the province. He’s actually had a voice from those counties to start to take a look at getting a coordinator, getting a program in place.
I know that during my time as an MLA, I’ve had a number of meetings with our senior safety officer in the Valley and have attended a few of the workshops that she has put on, and my goodness, I think the whole area that they encompass in their work brings a very high degree for seniors of ways in which they can remain safe in their home. Many come with questions around, you know, I got this call, and again very often involving money and transactions, and the kind of work that they’re able to bring to seniors in those workshops, give them very specific directions as to what they should and should not do.
I think that close alignment as well with the RCMP is extremely strong. What I saw when I first began my work as Minister of Seniors, I visited a number of the communities and actually did a bit of outreach with a senior safety coordinator so that I would actually know their work. One of the areas I was really impressed with was Yarmouth and just how they kind of linked and connected to the seniors in the community and those that would need a bit of a follow-up after a call to the RCMP, that the senior coordinator would then go and do a home visit. I saw so many strong ways in which they connected.
Seniors don’t always like just the voice on the phone, so if you can go in person - I know that happens sometimes. This is so significant that we’re now going to work on setting up three-year agreements so that these communities know with certainty that this funding is going to be in place.
MS. MASLAND: That’s fantastic. Thank you very much for that answer. That was actually my next question, so you’re ahead of me. I will echo your comments on the collaboration between Senior Safety Programs and the RCMP. It’s a wonderful program. They collaborate and complement each other very well, especially with the high diagnosis - or undiagnosed, because of a lack of physicians and geriatricians at times - of geriatric disease, whether it’s dementia, Alzheimer’s. They complement each other very well.
The amount of money that is given to senior safety coordinators to run a program is $20,000 max. I know we can’t give everything to everyone, but that is a very tight amount to try to run a program when some counties are very big. You try to use all your funding towards developing programs so that you can educate seniors on how to stay safe in their home.
I was only in senior safety for a year and a couple months, but it seems to me that senior safety is taking a real shift. It’s not just about teaching seniors how to be safe in their homes anymore. It’s also a real health component that’s involved. There is mental health. Seniors are socially isolated. Families are very transient - they pick up and leave because they’re looking for jobs.
I guess the scope of work of a senior safety coordinator is not just hosting information sessions on how to not fall in your homes and how to remain safe. It’s that whole medical component, so I think the department really needs to look at this funding. I think it does need to be increased. It’s an amazing program, and to be quite honest with you, before becoming involved in the program I would not have known the scope of what it does and the lives that it saves. I understand you’re making that commitment for three years, but to look at the increased funding too.
MR. GLAVINE: As I said earlier, my commitment as a minister and our government to this program is pretty strong. I believe that expanding it to the four other counties and getting this as a provincial-wide program is first and foremost the goal of the department.
We know that we’ll work on an ask to have a bit more money put into each of the grants that are given. I know the deputy minister did a deep dive on how the monies are used in what is a small department, but one that perhaps I’ll have to have a strong voice to make sure that we’re not overlooked at budget times, and that the Senior Safety Program in particular gets a bit more funding.
I believe also that it may be a time to look at the practice across the province and have the coordinators perhaps come together and look at some other partners in the community that could be a source of funding. Certainly, I know one of the areas, to bring people together - that in itself is a cost, but having some professional development. We all know - whether it’s coaches in our community or any positions, sometimes even in the voluntary sector - that having a bit of professional development goes a long way. These coordinators have taken on a very strong professional role in our communities. I think we have to invest some there and come together as a community of practice to make sure that we’re doing the best in each of the communities that are served by a senior safety coordinator.
MS. MASLAND: I will take that a little step further. I know last year the department did two really great days of information sessions. But again, going from the switch - a senior safety coordinator nowadays is not simply hosting information sessions. We’re involved in very complex cases. In my short time as a senior safety coordinator, I saved lives, but I actually discovered people who had passed away, and one in particular was very traumatic for me and has left a very deep impact. I just felt like I didn’t get there fast enough. What if I did? What if I did this or did that?
For an RCMP officer, police officer, first responder, there is someone to help you with mental health and training. There is nothing like that for senior safety coordinators. I really feel that it would be good if the department could offer something to senior safety coordinators for their mental health, to help them through some of those situations.
MR. GLAVINE: That is a role that takes on, as you said, complex cases. I got a bit of insight on a couple of tours across the province from a few of the coordinators. When they expounded on a few of the cases that they were dealing with, I knew they really were ones that came their way, and lots of professional expertise needed to be applied to the case. When you get cases like that, as you said, there are marks that are left with us as individuals, and it’s probably one of the areas that perhaps we haven’t addressed to the degree and even awareness that it’s an area that now we need to be more cognizant of and actually have something in our program that would do that kind of accommodation. It’s something that we will certainly take a look at, and I thank you for bringing it forward.
We all know that people who are working in the people-oriented jobs and professions - we have come to learn very painfully that care for the caregiver has to be part of our way of making sure that their health is not compromised as well. Bringing this forward as a real concern, I’m sure it is not just in your case, just from a few others that I’m familiar with, is something that we need to take into account.
MS. MASLAND: That word “caregiver” sparked my next question. I want to talk a little bit about caregiver burnout. We have a great support group here in Nova Scotia, Caregivers Nova Scotia, which is incredible. But caregiver burnout is huge amongst us. Seniors are going home from hospital, and seniors are trying to care for their husbands, wives, or loved ones. Then we can take it that next step further where extended family are trying to look after their parents because people are living longer, but unfortunately, they’re not living healthier. There’s a huge caregiver strain out there. Family members are exhausted. I guess I’m asking, what is the department’s strategy going forward? It’s not a strategy that we can talk about for the next six months or year. It’s something that needs to happen immediately. What are we doing, what supports are in place, to make sure that these caregivers are receiving the assistance they need?
MR. GLAVINE: I thank you for that question and comment around caregivers. More and more this is coming to our attention as something that we do have to address for sure. I like to cut across departments, and I guess perhaps we did that in a very big way with our SHIFT document that we actually have about eight departments involved with it. Looking after seniors is not cut and dried, black and white, and here’s the cookbook approach. I’m very pleased to say that our Caregiver Benefit program, while not a big amount of money at $400, certainly we’re the only ones in the country that have that. We’re aware that caregivers do need a bit of financial help, but I think preparation for the job when it has to be taken on, especially by a family member, I don’t think they can be left in isolation for the care that they need to give and again finding ways, whether it’s through new technologies and so forth that we can bring.
We’ve been very fortunate in our province, through the Centre on Aging at Mount Saint Vincent, to gain some great insights but also actions and technologies that they’ve actually gone out and worked with our seniors in the home, to be able to be monitored better, safer, when they are becoming more frail, or home after hospitalization. I think we’re moving in the right direction but we all know there’s always more that can obviously be done.
One of the areas that we started to, I guess, become exposed to a little bit stronger, this year we held a Silver Economy Summit in Pictou, and at that summit we have people who present and display technologies that help with seniors in a home. It’s an area that’s getting tremendous attention, again from individuals who want to come up with a product that’s going to make it safer for the senior in the home. I’m sure that this year when we have that Silver Economy Summit again we know that there are a few businesses and entrepreneurs that want to display a product that can support the caregiver by supporting the individual who has the needs, due to disease, frailty, fracture, whatever it may be.
I think we have an opportunity here in our province with that huge cohort of seniors to come up with ways of assisting seniors in a home and keep them there as long as possible. Anytime I talked about keeping seniors in their homes, I never lost sight of the fact that it had to be done safely. We have to have seniors, themselves, feeling safe, and family members feeling and knowing that they are safe while remaining in their homes. Also, in ways where they have some certainty that while they are staying in their homes longer, they’re doing it in a safe manner.
I believe a number of our communities across the province - I look at some of the work being done in a community like Mahone Bay, and I was just down to Baddeck to have Victoria County designated as an age-friendly municipality. I think these communities that are looking at how they can not just have a designation but the program of actions that identify them as age-friendly communities - it is a certification designation, and that’s another way of supporting caregivers and people who are remaining in their homes longer.
MS. MASLAND: My other question is concerning elder abuse. In my short time as a senior safety coordinator I discovered every level of elder abuse or abuse that exists, and I live in a pretty small community so it was very alarming to me. Senior safety coordinators have taken it upon themselves to really push that elder abuse awareness.
I really feel that the department needs to step up and really promote elder abuse awareness and to make sure that we have all the supports that are in the legislation, to make sure that we can deal with these things when they happen. Financial abuse is huge amongst our elder community right now, and so is neglect. I guess I’m looking for a response to where you see the department going with the elder abuse strategy.
MR. GLAVINE: Thank you, Ms. Masland, for the issue that you’re raising. I find any time that an MLA can bring that personal or professional experience to the table it gives us pause to take a real look at how we can improve our programs and what further we can do. It often starts with planting the seed and an idea.
You’re absolutely right - while there is currently information and occasionally a program that speaks to elder abuse, again with our tremendously fast growing cohort of seniors, it may be one of those areas where we need that annual program of awareness and education. When this happens, it’s pretty traumatizing for the seniors, and especially when it happens - and unfortunately this needs to be said - it’s more often from a family member as opposed to a neighbour or somebody unknown.
I know that the senior safety officer has intercepted on a number of occasions that I’m aware of, of what could have been probably a loss of most of their personal financial assets, especially in banking, as they have periods of confusion and are not keeping up on what may be happening to bank accounts and so forth. That’s only one area, of course, of elder abuse. I think having provincial programs linking to the RCMP, these have to be a must in our annual way of keeping seniors safer in their homes.
MS. MASLAND: My last question - on the actuals, there are a couple of things that I’m questioning. I’m just wondering, what was the Ecology Action Centre? It says a grant and contribution was to the Ecology Action Centre. Is that for seniors?
MR. GLAVINE: This was the Age-Friendly Food Box Program and it provided weekly delivery of fresh, local food to the homes of 25 CBRM seniors.
MS. MASLAND: My last one is on the actuals, under Other, Flextrack Inc., $19,175.
MR. GLAVINE: That’s a program where we would use consultants for work in developing a senior policy or program. I know I’d have to perhaps get a further bit of information if there’s something specific. I know we have used the Centre on Aging at Mount Saint Vincent on a couple of occasions to actually do work for us. In fact, they did some significant work as we developed the SHIFT document.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Are you switching now?
MS. MASLAND: I am. Can I just finish?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Okay, go ahead.
MS. MASLAND: Thank you, I would love to sit here and talk to you all afternoon but I have to share my time with my colleague, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Mr. Harrison.
MR. LARRY HARRISON: Minister, I have to tell you, my colleague next to me has a lot of experiences and she has told me a lot of the stories of her working career. I wish all the caregivers for elderly people were like her, I’ll tell you.
I want to go back to a couple of things that she referred to, one is the Caregiver Benefit program. I’m dealing with a family where the caregiver has stopped working in order to care for the person in the house. Because they are not working, there is not enough money coming in. Now the question was asked of me, if it costs so much money to bring in home care workers and so on, would it be better to have some of that money given to the person who would be there all the time, looking after the person, and the others would really not be needed? I don’t know whether the department has given any thought to that or not. If there is a way, I would like to know what it would be.
MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Harrison, you raise a very good point. Sometimes universal programs are challenging to accommodate some of those very real individual situations. I know the federal government has moved to support family members now that have to stay off work and look after a loved one. There’s a consciousness growing, I think, in our country and in our province, that when a family member can provide the care, it’s wonderful, compassionate, and loving care that is given. But to lose a salary for a period of time is certainly a very challenging place for them to be.
In our budget this year, there is $5.1 million more for home care initiatives, including an increase for a Self-Managed Care Program and expansion of the Caregiver Benefit program. How that will translate again, would it be more onto the $400 program that’s there now or whether we have a new initiative, but we know that what you have raised is a growing concern, so taking a look at this to better accommodation for families is certainly something our department is committed to, just by the very fact of that initiative of $400.
When I brought this up with the Seniors Ministers from across the country last year, they all raised their eyebrows. How can a little province like Nova Scotia afford to do this? But there are some things where we really must say, how can we afford not to start a process that provides a real help to the individual who is doing the caregiving in that family context?
MR. HARRISON: That would be something I would like to speak with you on further just to know what is in place right now.
Going back to another thing that my colleague mentioned is elder abuse. I want to take that out of the home context and put it into senior homes, period. I have had a couple of complaints about abuse of care workers in the institutions themselves. The people I talk to only want to carry that so far because of the possibility of losing their job or whatever if they made it public. Is there anything in place so that can be handled in a quiet way that’s going to be effective?
MR. GLAVINE: In many ways, you’re trying to bring my blood pressure up this afternoon. To a very high degree, that’s the domain of the Department of Health and Wellness, so putting on my old hat here, perhaps. We know that there are cases of elder abuse that creep into our nursing homes or our residential care facilities, RCFs. I know that those are brought to the attention of staff, and they are investigated. However, sometimes they can be looked after effectively by the staff of the particular home.
I don’t think we should ever refrain and be cautious about relating any kind of an incident brought to you in your past life as a minister or in your current life as a public figure. I don’t think we should ever be shy about bringing those to the supervisors of a home first, management.
Certainly, anything that is brought to the department - I know, because I got those reports when they went out to a home to investigate a particular incident. We all know that in serious incidents, we can actually bring them into a legal context and have an investigation done. I believe in exposing and making those known and not having them kept in a quiet context. They may be able to be done quietly, as you described, by going to those people who are responsible for the care and safety of people in our homes. When something has happened there, I certainly found it a pretty upsetting day when that kind of report came across my desk. No question about it.
MR. HARRISON: Does your department work closely with the Department of Health and Wellness or Community Services? You would be bringing the seniors’ concerns to those departments. Is there a conversation with those other departments to address some of these things?
MR. GLAVINE: That’s a great question. I know that the Department of Seniors currently resides with the Department of Health and Wellness, that’s where their offices are. The department, of course, has interrelationships with Community Services, as well, that we have to be cognizant of and having discussions with. We bring the seniors lens as much as possible to all of our programs and policies across departments.
One of the great developments in this particular document was to have in some of these areas as many as eight departments actually bringing expertise to the table. If we’re ever going to resolve some issues they can no longer be looked at through the eyes of one department. If you take a look at one of the big needs that seniors have to reduce social isolation - and I know Ms. Masland would have discovered that certainly in her work and perhaps you in your work in a previous life as well, and that’s why we will need a number of departments working on transportation that will bring us to a place where we’re able to do real, concrete measures to improve that transportation that is actually quite strong in a few areas of our province but not as widespread as what we need.
We have some great examples of where the transportation meeting seniors’ needs is being done in a very, very strong way. I know, for example, of where we have the alternate transportation systems that are getting contracts with school boards for disabled children, and some of that money flows over in being able to give a very, very low rate for a call to a senior’s home to take them for appointments and so forth.
I know there are ways in which we can improve that across departments. In fact, it is no secret because I think these letters - our mandate letters - are actually online. I know that all ministers in their mandate letters are involved with implementing SHIFT, so we all have a role to play in making sure that seniors get the due attention that they require.
MR. HARRISON: On transportation, there’s always that liability that a lot of volunteers are not doing work now, like with churches or whatever, even snowplowing, for instance. You can’t even go out and do a kind deed because of liability. I’m just wondering if any work can be done with the insurance sector to protect volunteer drivers from liability.
MR. GLAVINE: This is kind of recent, real, and breaking news, but the deputy minister in our department and in another department that has a high degree of volunteerism - Communities, Culture and Heritage, especially the volunteer sector - the deputy minister has met with insurance brokers and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. They’re going to be preparing a statement for all who are using their vehicles, especially for the transportation needs - in this case you’re raising with our seniors - and it’s really not as detrimental as what we may think that could be required for, whether it’s additional insurance or whatever the case may be.
I guess we’re going to get a very strong clarification so that people don’t have that hesitation about using their vehicle to transport people on a volunteer basis and take seniors from their home to an event, to banking, to an appointment, or even several seniors at a time. We’re going to get full clarification from the Insurance Bureau of Canada as to what you can and cannot do. Overall, the deputy is telling me that when the picture comes out, it’s not going to be as cumbersome, burdensome, or costly as what we may be thinking.
MR. HARRISON: That’s good news, I’m glad of that, because a lot of people hold off doing things just because of that.
I’m going to give a little bit of time here to my colleague.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Ms. Adams.
MS. BARBARA ADAMS: As a health professional who has worked with seniors my whole career, I have been waiting a long time to ask some of these questions. To start off, I do want to acknowledge that the SHIFT program and all the initiatives, they look absolutely wonderful, and I know all the committees and boards that I’m on totally support them.
The only question, and it was actually an article that came out on June 10th, it was by Bill Berryman, the Chair of the Seniors’ Advisory Council for Nova Scotia, who is worried that the government has not set aside enough money. I guess that would be my concern because I know that in writing they all look wonderful, and as you mentioned, you do have a small department. I’m just wondering, when you look at the SHIFT plan and how things are going to be implemented, which are the priorities that definitely are going to get done? Is there a priority list, outside of what has already been presented?
MR. GLAVINE: Thank you, Ms. Adams, for your opening remark about the SHIFT program and seniors’ programs in our province. I can assure you that’s an area where I see absolutely this is a totally non-partisan issue when we talk about seniors. I think we all want to be on the same page, the same wavelength, in fact, to contribute to solutions for our seniors.
One of the areas that we discovered when consultations were done around the province was that when people came forward with an area that they wanted to see improvements made, they didn’t really talk so much about priorities. They said there’s a number of areas in which our seniors have to have their issued addressed. So, what we’ve done with the SHIFT document is actually put it in the context for over the next three years to have kind of a report card system so that as each of these areas is addressed - and you may not have been here when I alluded to the fact that every minister in their mandate letter has been asked to work and be part of the SHIFT implementation.
One of the areas that I’ve already talked about that I know has to get strong consideration is absolutely the transportation area, but a lot of the departments are going to work on that. I believe that we got a small increase in our budget this year, but as minister, I’ll certainly be working hard to add more to our budget.
We’ve been a small department and by now having a full-time deputy minister who has reorganized the department, done an analysis of the programs that we have, wants to increase the work of the department and make sure that SHIFT is implemented and what dollars may go directly to Seniors or that may be distributed through other departments - you’re right: we do need more.
One of the areas that we’re seeing with our seniors is that more and more are working a bit longer. With roughly 23 per cent working part and full time, there isn’t that kind of automatic cut-in anymore at 60 or 65. There are now considerable needs that our seniors population needs to address. Those are being delayed and put off more into the 70-plus years.
I don’t disagree that if we’re going to do a good job on SHIFT, if we’re going to look after the needs of seniors, there has to be investment.
MS. ADAMS: One of the more vulnerable seniors populations is the Alzheimer’s patients and those with any kind of difficulties that affect memory or intellect. I know that three years ago there was a commitment to the Alzheimer’s Society for a dementia strategy, and they received a grant of approximately $400,000 a year, and that was a three-year commitment. I’m aware that they have applied for another three-year commitment to help expand what they’re doing across the province. I’m just wondering if you can share with us what those plans might be for that dementia strategy and if there’s a commitment to moving forward with either that same amount of grant or possibly something larger.
MR. GLAVINE: I thank you for that question. It does go much more back to my old department, or perhaps the current Minister of Health and Wellness can change places with me and give a fuller answer. That does come under the Department of Health and Wellness.
I can’t agree more with the premise that you’re putting forward, and that is the additional funding that may be required now as we keep that strategy going over the next three years beyond the current one. We’re fortunate to have, and I think you’re well-versed in knowing that, the Alzheimer’s Society - we couldn’t have asked for a better partner. In fact, I’m not sure we would have all the expertise and abilities within the Department of Health and Wellness to do the kind of on-the-ground job because they had already shown us a couple of programs that were actually working at the community level. I remember digging quite deeply into their work in Digby with the Community Links program and how valuable that was for our seniors experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
But again, supporting the caregivers, having training for those who are dealing with our seniors with dementia has to be absolutely an ongoing support. I like the fact now that there are programs that will actually help families, support families, educate families, especially in the early days and years of dementia. They can actually learn some very, very successful ways of dealing with their loved one and the changes that are taking place with them. You raise a great area, and it’s one that as a province we all have to remain committed to.
MS. ADAMS: Just to sort of drive home the point, I think what they have done in the three years with the extra funding has been quite extraordinary.
Here’s a statistic that some of you may not be aware of. A third of all seniors fall every year. If you fall and break a hip as a senior, you have a one in five chance of dying because of blood clots or pneumonia or other complications. Alzheimer’s patients fall twice as often as regular seniors. When we’re looking at prevention and needing hip surgeries, the programs that the Alzheimer’s Society is doing have direct impact on the Department of Health and Wellness so I’m glad I get to talk to both of you at the same time.
One of the other things that’s in the Budget Book, Opportunities for Growth on Page 74 was talking about how many of the baby boomers are going to be leaving the workforce, and it says approximately 49,000 are leaving the workforce over the next 10 years and they’re going to move from being the caregivers to needing care. I know from having worked in home care for many years that those needing that care are not necessarily going to get it from their children, because my own children - of the four I have, three are gone and one is about to leave to go to the States.
I’m just wondering, given the fact that so many are moving into the senior population in the next 20 years and so many of them are leaving the workforce - there was mention of a $30,000 budget for helping seniors remain in the workplace. I mentioned already in my speech at some point that $30,000 didn’t seem like much to help seniors stay in the workplace, but you alluded to them staying into their 70s. I’m just wondering where in the SHIFT program that $30,000 would get used, and is that enough to help seniors stay in the workplace?
MR. GLAVINE: Sometimes being informed by research does help in terms of public policy and what we will bring forward. We’ve tapped into the Centre on Aging on a number of occasions and we’ll continue to do so, making formal contracts with them to bring forth the information. That is not a lot of money, you’re absolutely right, but the Department of Labour and Advanced Education has a $10 million fund and they’re doing work with St. F.X. now to point to other ways in which we can support seniors.
In fact, we talk about age-friendly communities - we have to also develop age- friendly workplaces. I think some of those flexible arrangements that employers can make and also the environment in which they create for workers is pretty important and pretty critical to making sure workers who want to stay on part time or full time do have that opportunity.
MS. ADAMS: I would like to pass over the remaining time to the member for Sackville-Cobequid.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Mr. Wilson.
HON. DAVID WILSON: I’ll try to be quick. Just some more specific questions or detail questions around the budget and the programs that support the initiatives within the department. I know there are four areas: the action plan for aging, dementia strategy, the Continuing Care Strategy, and work related maybe to Pharmacare. Are you able to provide a breakdown of what budgets each of those four areas have?
MR. GLAVINE: There are a couple of those that you’ve mentioned that, in fact, embrace our whole budget because those are actually within the Department of Health and Wellness.
MR. DAVID WILSON: Maybe the minister across the way - the questions may have been asked. (Laughter) Just specifically, I know there were two additional FTEs in the department - I apologize if it was asked already - and I’m wondering if he could indicate what those positions were for.
MR. GLAVINE: Thank you for raising that question. This is a new development in the Department of Seniors as we work on a social innovation lab that will look at ways to address complex issues that are associated with aging. We’re pretty excited about this work and I think the expertise we have in the department is actually a physical, standalone setting for a lab that will bring in partners, run pilots on new ideas, and pick some of the best ones that will help to address aging in place, much around the whole safety and monitoring area.
MR. DAVID WILSON: We’ve noticed a definite increase in the budget and I’m sure the minister will be more than - you’re always happy to talk about an increase in your budget. There is a significant increase, we’d consider, so I’m just wondering if the minister could indicate exactly what that’s for and the total amount that has been increased for the year. That’s the Seniors’ Initiatives line item.
MR. GLAVINE: It’s spread over a number of areas. There’s going to be an increase in the age-friendly communities and positive aging programs. The Senior Safety Program will move up to $175,000, which represents a $30,000 development. There’s also a social innovation lab which starts out at $200,000 and goes to $300,000 over the next two years, two additional FTEs.
One of the areas that I think may be exciting for all of us perhaps to take in, we’re going to host a TEDx Aging Well conference. It’s going to be in the Spring. We were hoping to be able to do it this Fall. It’s going to be in the Spring and it’s going to connect at the same time when we do our next Silver Economy Summit.
Also, we’re partnering with a number of organizations on entrepreneurial education for seniors. It was perhaps one of the most enlightening experiences I know that the deputy minister had and I was able to experience for a short time, and that was going to the Silver Economy Summit in Pictou and seeing some of the ideas that people have for business opportunities. It’s interesting, many who had a particular career and decided on an idea that they had, a total departure from what they had done for a lifetime career but wanted to try to bring it to a business and an entrepreneurial level. I think we’re going to see a number of those kinds of initiatives that we’ll be seeing again in the next senior summit that we have.
We’ve already had an expression of interest from a few people who have new designs for monitoring seniors so I think putting some money into that area will prove to be valuable.
MR. DAVID WILSON: Could you give me the number, the budget for the aging conference - do you have that in front of you, what money is allocated for that?
To make it a little easier, maybe the minister could provide us that breakdown that you just gave us, what the budget for each of those is for and you can get that to me - you can give me a clean version of it.
MR. GLAVINE: That’s a good way for us to proceed with that specific information.
MR. DAVID WILSON: Just to the last area, can you provide information or the amount, if there is any, of federal money that may be funnelled into the department? Are there any federal transfers that land in the Department of Seniors? If so, what is that amount?
MR. GLAVINE: The big area that is going to be federal dollars coming forward is through Community Services for senior housing. This is going to be very specific to seniors’ needs and small community project concepts. There’s $20 million coming from the feds, and it will be leveraged with $6 million provincially. That’s just for senior housing only.
MR. DAVID WILSON: I would encourage the minister, if he hasn’t had a chance, to visit the seniors’ apartments in Sackville-Beaver Bank. It’s an apartment complex owned by the province and built by the province that brings the ability for seniors who might not qualify for seniors’ housing per se at 30 per cent of your income. It’s a little closer to market value but less. There’s a long wait-list. From what I heard, it’s not costing the province money. It’s at full capacity. It’s a great initiative to tap into an area of seniors who find themselves in housing difficulty. I encourage the minister to go there.
I know I only have a few minutes. The last thing is around elder abuse and emphasis. I know it’s often talked about and not just the physical abuse, but financial elder abuse is something I see unfortunately probably every year since I have been elected. We have family members and caregivers who take advantage of seniors and often deplete the funds that they have in the bank. Is there an initiative that you continue to enhance and make sure that message is getting to seniors so that they know there are opportunities to report financial abuse especially for our seniors?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Mr. Glavine, you have less than two minutes.
MR. GLAVINE: I thank Mr. Wilson for raising one of the most important questions and points made around senior abuse today. The Senior Safety Program has worked so well across the province that we’re now negotiating to expand it to the final four counties that have no program at this stage. I think adding money to that program is a great investment. But also, I think we’re going to need an awareness and education program as well.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Shall Resolution E38 stand?
Resolution E38 stands.
Thank you, Minister Glavine and staff. Thank you to all members for your participation today. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
[The committee adjourned at 2:58 p.m.]