Nova Scotia Provincial Budget 2021-2022 – Impact on Construction Industry

On Thursday, March 25, 2021, the government of Nova Scotia released its 2021-2022 budget. The budget details government’s plan for managing the province’s finances. It outlines estimates of revenue and expenditures (expenses) for the 2021 to 2022 fiscal year and 4-year fiscal projections. Click here to view the budget documents. There are a number of news announcements relevant to our industry:

Budget 2021-2022 includes:

  • $3.7 million increase to the operating grant for universities to train and educate our workforce of the future
  • $1 million to continue the NSBI Digital Adoption Program that supports Nova Scotia businesses to rapidly adopt digital tools and innovations
  • $252,000 to expand the Office of Immigration and Population Growth to attract and retain more newcomers to the province
  • Setting a new target to reduce government’s regulatory burden on business by $10 million in 2021, which is in addition to the $50 million in net annual savings for business since 2017
  • An additional Business Navigator at the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness
  • $7.6 million in focused funding for active transportation and public transit initiatives under new Department of Transportation and Active Transit
Modernizing Healthcare —

Mental Health Support and Health System Improvements

  • $12.3 million increase for new mental health programming

Long Term Care and Home Care

  • $8.6 million for the first year of the multi-year Long Term Care Infrastructure Renewal Plan to replace or significantly renovate seven nursing homes and add more than 230 beds across the province by 2025

Healthcare Infrastructure

  • $178.2 million to continue support for the largest healthcare redevelopment projects in the province’s history
    • QEII New Generation project
      • new and renovated operating rooms
      • new cancer care centre ~ new community outpatient centre
    • CBRM Healthcare Redevelopment project
      • expanded emergency departments at Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Glace Bay Hospital
      • improved cancer care centre
      • new enhanced critical care ward
      • community-based paramedic program
  • $95.5 million for construction, repair, and renewal of hospitals and medical facilities across the province
  • $6.3 million to continue the Dartmouth General Expansion Project
  • $1.5 million to support the new dialysis units in Dartmouth, Glace Bay, Digby, and Kentville
Economic Recovery and Environment, Climate Action —
  • $1.8 million to expand the Apprenticeship START Program to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 and help connect more apprentices to the workforce
  • More than $80 million this year to fight climate change and create jobs by growing the green economy through new and continued initiatives at the departments of Energy and Mines, Environment and Climate Change, and Municipal Affairs
  • $16.4 million this year for green infrastructure stream projects to help reduce GHG emissions while ensuring citizens are protected from higher fuel and electricity costs

A Connected, Affordable, Inclusive Nova Scotia —

Equity and Inclusion

  • $2 million to create and fund six positions at the new Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives to address systemic racism, promote diversity, and improve the economic, social, educational, and health outcomes of all Nova Scotians

Infrastructure in Every Region

  • $217.2 million for school capital construction projects, including major design, build, and renovation projects for schools, and for the purchase of four P-3 schools
  •  $467 million for Nova Scotia’s roads, highways, and bridges, and equipment with continued work on multi-year projects to twin 100-series highways, including Highway 101 (Three Miles Plains to Falmouth), Highway 103 (Ingramport to Hubbards), and Highway 104 (Sutherlands River to Antigonish), and to complete the Highway 107 Extension Sackville- Bedford-Burnside Connector
  • $285,000 increase for maintenance on Nova Scotia highways, for a total of $119.6 million
  • Continued funding to build the NSCC Marconi Campus on the Sydney waterfront

CANS has and continues to work on your behalf to advance our priorities. I am pleased to report that many of those efforts are reflected in this budget.

Earlier today, the Canadian Construction Association issued a press release calling for greater investment in sustainable infrastructure to build Canada’s clean economy. The research paper they released highlights the benefits of sustainable and resilient infrastructure that can withstand the effects of climate change and stresses the imperative of investing in sustainable infrastructure, particularly as COVID-19 economic recovery efforts are underway. This information echo’s several items announced today in the 2021-2022 NS provincial budget, and are priority issues CANS will continue to advocate for on behalf of industry.

As always, we want to hear from you. We want to know what is keeping you up at night as a member firm.Please reach out to me or any of our CANS team at any time.


Duncan P. Williams

President & CEO, Construction Association of Nova Scotia