Nova Scotia Budget 2023-24 Highlights

Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Allan MacMaster delivered the 2023-24 provincial budget earlier this afternoon. Revenues are estimated at $14.2 billion and expenses at $14.4 billion, with a deficit estimation of $278.9 million once consolidated.


As the PC government led by Premier Tim Houston campaigned on in 2021, healthcare was the dominant focus on the budget plan again this year, aptly titled “More Healthcare, Faster.”  The health budget will be $6.5 billion, up more than $1.2 billion from two years ago. Given the sheer number of health and senior care-related announcements, a select list is provided below, and a backgrounder with the full list is attached:

  • More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program will expand to include eligible nurses – those under the age of 30 will receive a refund of the provincial income tax paid on the first $50,000 of income. The program will open to applications in 2024 based on 2023 tax filings.
  • $110 million for the second year of retention incentives for nurses who commit to staying in the publicly-funded system and sign a two-year return of service agreement
  • $22.2 million for new healthcare workforce strategy initiatives under Action for Health
  • $2.8 million, as part of a $22.7 million four-year commitment announced in Budget 2022–23, to increase nursing training seats by 200 at Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University and NSCC
  • a 30-seat practical nursing cohort at the NSCC Pictou campus customized for Mi’kmaw learners, beginning this academic year.
  • $66.3 million in ongoing funding for increased wages for CCAs announced in 2022–23
  • 6 million more to perform more surgeries and continue to address the backlog
  • $34 million for patient movement initiatives to help improve access to care 
  • $15 million for initiatives to improve emergency care
  • $22.6 million for Emergency Health Services initiatives such as adding more emergency transport units and a new fixed-wing service for the LifeFlight program
  • $7.3 million more for Emergency Health Services to help with growing volume
  • $11.3 million for a range of improvements to cancer care services,
  • $25.9 million more for home care and direct funding programs to provide flexible supports for seniors, tailored to their individual needs
  • $10.7 million more to help long-term care homes move toward the 4.1 hours of care standard
  • 7 million more to provide high-dose flu vaccine for all seniors aged 65+ for free
  • $1.1 million to plan for a new Wound Care Centre of Excellence
  • $25 million more in one-time capital funding for equipment, upgrades and repairs to help extend the life of current long-term care homes
  • $13.5 million to open 240 spaces this year at Mahone Bay Nursing Home, Villa Acadienne in Meteghan and Kiknu in Eskasoni (93 new and 147 replacement spaces), as part of government’s plan to add 1,200 new long-term care spaces by 2027
  • $44 million to fund permanent and temporary long-term care spaces for people waiting to move from acute care to long-term care
  • $1.1 million more for dementia services programming to help meet the needs of more people with dementia and their caregivers
  • $29.1 million in continued funding for the Seniors Care Grant to provide support to older Nova Scotians in their homes and communities

Economic measures announced by the Houston government include:

  • $20.9 million to deliver the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program, which provides workers in eligible skilled trades and film and video occupations under the age of 30 a refund on the provincial income tax paid on the first $50,000 of income
  • $13.2 million to provide funding to small- and medium-sized employers to hire first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades
  • $3.4 million for year two of a four-year $13-million commitment with Mitacs to create up to 3,200 more paid internship opportunities for post-secondary students
  • $6.2 million more to expand life and job skills programs, as part of Community Services’ efforts to reduce child poverty and prepare youth at risk for education and employment success.
  • $14 million more, for a total of $39 million in 2023–24, for the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund
  • $3.7 million more for silviculture and archeological work
  • $3 million for energy and resources development initiatives

Housing-related announcements include:

  • New housing and student housing strategies
  • $21.6 million more to create 1,000 new rent supplements, for a total of 8,000 rent supplements
  • $15.3 million more for public housing repairs, for a total of $21 million
  • $13.1 million more to address the waitlist for home repair and adaptation programs, helping over 800 additional homeowners
  • $2.5 million for initiatives to accelerate housing developments of all types and at all income levels in the Halifax Regional Municipality
  • $8.2 million more for homelessness and supportive housing initiatives
  • $8 million to increase the Nova Scotia Child Benefit for families with incomes below $34,000 in support of reducing childhood poverty

In education, the following was noted:

  • $42.1 million increase in child care funding to lower fees for families, create more spaces and enhance after-school care (fully recoverable from the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement)
  • $40 million to pay early childhood educators more, help stabilize and grow the workforce and help licensed centers offer more care
  • $47.1 million more for our public schools to address growing enrolment, hire more teachers and address inflationary pressures
  • $6 million more to refresh classroom technology, including Chromebooks for students
  • $240.8 million to build and renovate schools across the province, including $24 million more for capital repairs and $40 million for new modular learning spaces


Link to the budget documentation:

Link to the budget press release:

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