Government of Nova Scotia, Canada
2013 Budget Highlights

Budget Overview

Budget 2013–2014 is balanced. This year, the government will continue to make strategic investments to create good jobs, grow the economy, and help make life better for families.

Budget 2013–2014 includes $9.5 billion in revenues, $9.5 billion in total spending, and a bottom-line surplus of $16.4 million.

With the province’s finances now back to balance, Nova Scotia is poised to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Creating good jobs and growing the economy

Nova Scotia is beginning to turn the corner toward greater prosperity and game-changing opportunities. jobsHere is helping hundreds of small businesses get started, expand into new markets, make productivity upgrades, and train employees now and for the future. Budget 2013 will:

  • introduce single-window, streamlined access to current small-business programs, ensuring that business owners can easily find and connect with the help they need to grow, hire, and succeed
  • reduce the rate of corporate income tax for small businesses to three per cent as of January 1, 2014. Over four years, that is a drop of two percentage points in income tax and almost $78 million in savings for small business that can be reinvested to compete, grow, and hire. The small business limit threshold will also be lowered to $350,000. The combined impact of these reductions mean that 93 per cent of small businesses will save $26 million in 2013–2014, and over $33 million per year when the changes are fully implemented.
  • maintain a suite of innovation and learning programs to support small businesses that want to train employees, develop new products, and improve productivity—$13.9 million
  • help fund new equipment, clean technology, software, and hardware for businesses—$14.5 million
  • provide ongoing support for apprentices through in-class and online training opportunities—$4.5 million
  • build and maintain roads and structures—$248.4 million

Providing better care sooner

The province’s Better Care Sooner plan is working. Budget 2013 makes new investments to keep emergency rooms open, to better meet patients’ needs, and to improve children’s health. Budget 2013 will:

  • open Collaborative Emergency Centres in more Nova Scotian communities this year
  • fund insulin pumps and supplies for youth up to age 19 and supplies for insulin pumps for people under the age of 25—$5.3 million
  • expand dental coverage for children by four years: starting in 2013–2014, children age 13 and under will be able to receive universal dental coverage for check-ups and treatments—$2.1 million
  • expand newborn screening to include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and eight additional conditions—$1.3 million
  • partner with other provinces across Canada to reduce the price of six common generic drugs used by many Nova Scotians
  • fund Nova Scotia’s first mental health and addictions strategy, Together We Can—$2.5 million

Making life more affordable for Nova Scotians

The province is committed to making life more affordable for families. Budget 2013 puts more money back into the hands of families, seniors, low-income Nova Scotians, and students. Budget 2013 will:

  • continue to help Nova Scotians with the rising cost of home energy through the Heating Assistance Rebate Program ($12.4 million) and Your Energy Rebate ($104 million)
  • increase the maximum property tax rebate by $200, bringing the total up to $800. About 15,000 seniors qualify for the rebate. Of those, 4,000 will benefit from the increase to help them stay in their homes
  • exempt more of the province’s low-income seniors from paying provincial income tax, and return a greater portion of income tax to more seniors. In the last four years, many low-income seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefited from not having to pay provincial income tax. This put an average of $450 back into the hands of 17,000 seniors who needed it most. Starting January 1, 2014, that number will increase to 25,000. An additional 4,000 seniors will also have a portion of their income tax returned to them through a new provincial $1,000 non-refundable Age Amount tax credit. In total, 29,000 seniors will receive more income tax relief
  • invest more in the Graduate Retention Rebate Program for new graduates—$6 million
  • increase the personal allowance rates for income assistance beneficiaries by $17 per month, bringing the total increase over four years to $47 each month—a 22 per cent increase
  • provide more Nova Scotians with safe, affordable housing options through the province’s first Housing Strategy

Putting kids and learning first

Nova Scotia has a plan to help every student succeed. Together with teachers, parents, school boards, communities, and children, the province’s Kids & Learning First plan is preparing our young people for success through a greater focus on the early years, the basics, and safer, better schools. Budget 2013 will:

  • establish children’s centres to make it easier for families to access support services for young children and help them make a successful transition to elementary school—$1.2 million
  • continue to cap class sizes for grades primary to three at 25 students, ensuring that average class sizes remain the smallest in a generation
  • enable school boards to hire 25 new program support staff, psychologists, and speech–language pathologists to help children with special needs, and provide funding for 15 teachers’ assistants—$3.7 million
  • help students succeed in math by giving them more time to focus on fewer topics in more depth through curriculum improvements in grades primary to three, and double the time that grade 10 students learn math—$3 million
  • support students in small and rural communities by tripling the number of students who can participate in courses ?through online virtual classrooms—$252,000

Focus on women

Budget 2013 makes strategic investments in areas that benefit women’s health, protect the most vulnerable women in society, and continue to support the creation of good jobs throughout Nova Scotia. Budget 2013 will:

  • increase and stabilize funding for transition houses and women’s centres
  • target groups that are under-represented in the workforce, as part of the province’s ongoing Workforce Strategy
  • continue support for Techsploration, an innovative program designed to introduce girls to career development opportunities in science, trades, and technical and technology-related fields—$75,000
  • support Cybersafe Girl to keep girls safe online—$20,000
  • continue to support the Domestic Violence Court, work on the province’s Domestic Violence Plan, and develop a Sexual Violence Framework

Back to balance

Nova Scotia’s fiscal plan is working. Spending restraint is the cornerstone of Back to Balance, even in light of bet-ter-than-expected revenues. Everyone shared in the challenge of getting Nova Scotia back to balance. Our fiscal discipline will allow the province to reduce the HST by one percentage point in 2014 and by another in 2015.

Getting back to balance, and staying there, is critical to ensuring that the services Nova Scotia’s families rely on are there when they need them, now and for generations to come. The province has:

  • analyzed government and school board procurement to find savings, better prices, and improved contracts for products and services, saving the province $14.8 million in 2013–2014 alone
  • held salary increases below previous levels, generating nearly $200 million in annual savings for taxpayers
  • ended March Madness and end-of-year spending
  • reduced the size of the civil service by more than 600
  • reined in growing health-care spending; efforts such as merging district health authorities and IWK administrative services have held DHA budget increases on average to only 1.6 per cent a year since 2009–2010
  • increased per-student funding to $10,762, the highest amount in a generation, and worked with school boards to reduce administrative costs

Net Debt to GDP (in Billions)
Fiscal Year08-0909-1010-1111-1212-13(f)13-1414-1515-1616-17
Net Debt 12.31812.99212.75813.24413.88413.98914.09314.34214.41
Nominal GDP 35.39234.92136.35137.01638.22739.09940.28342.05443.099
Net Debt to GDP34.80%37.20%35.10%35.80%36.30%35.80%35.00%34.10%33.40%


NS Economic Forecast - Data in per cent change unless otherwise noted

Nominal GDP
Real GDP ($2007, chained)3.32.33
Compensation of Employees23.33.8
Household Final Consumption3.73.83.8
Retail Sales1.0a3.83.7
Consumer Price Index2.0a1.52.1
Residential Investment55.35.2
Net Operating Surplus: Corporations8.97.55.6
Exports of Goods to Other Countries -
Population (000s) 948.7a947.9947.8
Employment 0.6a-0.20
Unemployment Rate 9.0a9.19.2

a - Actual

Budget Summary - (in thousands)
Total Revenues9,270,3139,180,3349,481,173
Total Expenses9,561,3329,605,5709,524,191
Consolidation Adjustments79,81968,83059,407
Provincial Surplus (Deficit)-211,200-356,40616,389
Provincial Revenue Sources
Personal Income Tax2,195,3002,133,6862,278,408
Corporate Income Tax398,450437,129473,946
Harmonized Sales Tax1,642,9001,658,2511,721,788
Motive Fuel Tax254,100246,633251,019
Tobacco Tax211,000210,329227,883
Other Tax Revenue157,640151,100151,418
Registry of Motor Vehicles110,279117,527121,239
Royalties — Petroleum27,67222,71920,090
Other Provincial Sources124,576129,421140,229
TCA Cost Shared Revenue3,6254,3058,260
Other Fees and Charges67,59866,20861,707
Prior Years’ Adjustments---42,407---
Interest Revenues74,07069,80768,841
Sinking Fund Earnings108,348108,767107,102
Ordinary Recoveries 276,422285,697266,919
Net Income from Government Business Enterprises350,993350,431350,313
Total — Provincial Sources6,002,9736,034,4176,249,162
Federal Sources
Equalization Payments1,593,8201,578,8291,703,711
Canada Health Transfer796,959795,017833,125
Canada Social Transfer321,943322,957329,101
Offshore Oil and Gas Payments146,059146,05989,461
Crown Share19,62811,6969,358
Other Federal Sources23,71218,64518,616
TCA Cost Shared Revenue73,15126,15122,682
Prior Years’ Adjustments  --- -840--- 
Ordinary Recoveries  292,068247,403225,957
Total — Federal Sources3,267,3403,145,9173,232,011
Communities, Culture and Heritage58,66557,30560,009
Community Services977,924937,615896,573
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism187,353176,106130,060
Education and Early Child Development1,112,8301,118,8071,105,659
Fisheries and Aquaculture8,7998,7989,044
Health and Wellness3,861,5133,859,7233,910,819
Labour and Advanced Education 346,208346,688353,412
Assistance to Universities347,619381,697337,152
Natural Resources95,68599,50085,072
Public Service174,314163,614165,931
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations275,909274,909247,315
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal421,617420,744425,458
Restructuring Costs198,724165,234202,480
Refundable Tax Credits73,500123,529129,356
Pension Valuation Adjustment71,485104,062110,793
Debt Servicing Costs881,701896,814888,891
Total — Expenses9,561,3329,605,5709,524,191