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March 27, 2013
For immediate release

Budget 2013-2014 continues plan to invest in healthcare, education and growing the Island economy

Finance and Energy

With this budget, Government continues its plan to modernize health care services, build a more effective education system, and grow the Island economy, says Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs Minister Wes Sheridan.

“Our Government has had a solid plan to improve our economy, now and into the long term,” said Minister Sheridan. “This budget will protect the gains we’ve made, and ensure Prince Edward Island continues to be well positioned for growth and prosperity.

Prince Edward Island was one of the few jurisdictions in Canada to improve its deficit target for 2012-2013, with spending forecast to be slightly less than budgeted, even though revenues have been slower to recover from the global downturn.

“During pre-Budget consultations, I heard very clearly that Islanders recognize that the future success of our economy is tied to a solid plan for our finances,” said Minister Sheridan. “They were equally clear that such a plan should not include drastic cuts to important programs and services. As a result, we decided that the target date for balance will be pushed out a year, to 2015-2016.”

This year, most government departments will hold their expenditures at current levels. The two exceptions are Community Services and Seniors (4.6%) and Health PEI (2.9%).

Highlights from the Budget include:

• An investment in ambulances with an inter-facility transfer unit and two rapid response units. These will have an annual operating cost of $748,000.

• Access to timely health care will be greatly improved, with the introduction of an 8-1-1 service. This budget includes $200,000 to cover operating costs this year.

• Investment to expand home and long-term care services by $1.5 million.

• An additional $60,000 for the Best Start Program to expand service to include children up to 36 months of age, an improvement over the current 24 months.

• Government will increase its commitment to the Early Years Centres by $250,000.

• A Smartforce PEI program will provide $240,000 to Holland College to allow businesses and individuals access to online learning to enhance their skills.

• The Self Employment Program will have a budget in 2013-2014 of $2 million to assist unemployed Islanders who want to establish their own businesses.

• Continued investment in the Atlantic Beef Products plant will be supported by the launch of a new certified Prince Edward Island beef brand.

• A further $700,000 will be provided to the Alternative Land Use Services Program to encourage modern environmentally sustainable farm practices.

• Government will dedicate additional resources to support the PEI Aquaculture Alliance’s implementation of a three-year strategic plan.

• This budget will see further allocations to the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.

To view the budget documents, please visit www.gov.pe.ca/budget.

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Media Contact: Jennifer MacDonald-Donovan
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