zoom Italian company Fincantieri has received an approval from a South Korean court making it the preferred bidder for Saint-Nazaire-based shipbuilder STX France, according to Reuters.The announcement was made only days after Italy’s shipbuilding and ship designing firm was unveiled as the only bidder for the French yard.Fincantieri confirmed that it was notified by Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers, advisor appointed by STX Europe, that the company was selected as preferred bidder in the sale of the 66.66 percent stake in STX France.If completed, the acquisition of STX France, which specializes in building cruise ships, is expected to boost Fincantieri’s position in the cruise segment.As part of the South Korean STX Offshore and Shipbuilding, the company was put up for sale after the financially troubled conglomerate decided to file for a court-led restructuring in May 2016.Earlier reports suggested that four parties expressed interest in acquiring the controlling stake in the French shipbuilder.The French state, which holds a minority stake of 33 percent in the firm, reportedly informed that it would not acquire the majority share, however, it indicated that it would have a say in the selection of the buyer.World Maritime News Staff
zoom Although demolition levels declined year-on-year in 2017 so far, with a range of factors at play, recycling volumes are likely to remain at elevated levels in the medium term, Clarksons Research said.In the year to date, 743 vessels of a combined 32.7 million dwt have been sold for scrap. In tonnage terms, demolition volumes have declined year-on-year by 20% on an annualised basis, from a firm total of 44.5 million dwt in 2016, despite an increase in scrap prices.“This reflects an improvement in market sentiment, with some sectors beginning to move away from the bottom of the cycle,” Clarksons informed.Bulk carrier recycling levels have declined following an extremely strong first half of 2016, when 22.6 million dwt was sold for scrap, compared to 211 units of a combined 14.1 million dwt in 2017 so far. This represents a 50% year-on-year decline in dwt terms, against a backdrop of improving bulk carrier earnings.Meanwhile, demolition volumes in the tanker sector surged from around 2.3 million dwt in 2016, to 95 vessels of 9.5 million dwt in the year to date, due to a weaker earnings environment.Containership demolition in 2016 reached 194 vessels of a combined 0.7 million TEU, the largest annual volume on record in capacity terms, driven in part by continued weak boxship earnings. In TEU terms, 46% of containerships recycled last year were ‘old Panamax’ vessels, rendered less competitive following the opening of the expanded Panama Canal locks in June 2016. Recycling levels in the sector have declined year-on-year by 35% in TEU terms to 137 units of a combined 0.4 million TEU in the year to date, but remain historically high.Global demolition volumes have generally declined year-on-year, driven primarily by the bulkcarrier and containership sectors. However, Clarksons said that scrapping activity remains at historically elevated levels, and the costs of complying with upcoming environmental regulation “are likely to sustain this trend in the medium term.”This could continue to drive supply side rebalancing, potentially helping shipping markets to transition into the next stage of the cycle.
Young people in the Halifax region (HRM) and in the Cape BretonRegional Municipality (CBRM) who appear in court will now go to acourtroom specially set aside for youths ages 12 to 17 in theProvincial Court in each of those communities. The courtroom consolidation, which comes into effect today, Dec.1, means youth aged 12 to 15 will no longer have their casesheard in the Family Division of the Supreme Court. “A dedicated youth court is a real advantage,” said JusticeMinister Michael Baker. “It also means the Family Division of theSupreme Court can now more appropriately focus on family matters,not criminal cases.” At the Halifax courthouse on Spring Garden Road, the move to aspecialized youth court required renovations to courtroom numberfive, the construction of three new holding cells, upgrades totwo other cells, new interview rooms and a new waiting room foryouth only. Improvements were also made to the ventilationsystem. Total costs are estimated at $225,000. In Sydney, whereall courts operate in the Sydney Justice Centre, no renovationswere required. In rural areas outside HRM and CBRM, youths from 16 to 17 willcontinue to appear in Provincial Court, while youths aged 12 to15 will attend Family Court. In a typical year, nearly 3,000 youth cases are brought beforethe courts in Nova Scotia. On April 1, 2003, the federalgovernment’s new Youth Criminal Justice Act took effect,replacing the Young Offender’s Act. The new legislation is basedon the principle of keeping young offenders separate from adults. “Nova Scotia is known as a safe place to live and raise afamily,” said Mr. Baker. “New approaches to help our young peopleavoid future confrontations can only be seen as positive.” The court services division of the Department of Justice providesadministrative and operational support to all the courts of NovaScotia. It also manages the restorative justice and maintenanceenforcement programs and provides services to help familiesreduce conflict and litigation in legal disputes. For more information on the courts of Nova Scotia, see thewebsite at www.courts.ns.ca .
A popular Inverness County tourist drive will soon receive a $1-million upgrade. A contract has been awarded to repave 7.1 kilometres of Route 395 and repair the Trout Brook Bridge. “The province recognizes the importance of tourism in CapeBreton,” said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and PublicWorks. “This work will help strengthen this popular tourist routeand help make it safer for visitors and residents alike.” The repaving project runs from one kilometre north of West LakeAinslie Road to the bridge. The contract was awarded to Cumberland Paving and ContractingLtd. The deadline for completion is Oct. 31. The department has recently completed a $1.2-million project toupgrade nine kilometres of the Cabot Trail and for other work inInverness County. The Department of Transportation and Public Works highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia. It maintains an inventory of 4,100 bridges and operatesseven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from districtoffices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney. TRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS–Tenders Awarded for Inverness CountyRoadwork
FOR BROADCAST USE There’s more funding and support for community health projects. The Cape Breton District Health Authority is receiving almost 58-thousand dollars to distribute to its six community health boards. Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald says that supporting people at a local level is an important part of the plan to build a healthier Nova Scotia. The community health boards will use the funds to support local projects that will make their communities healthier by boosting physical activity, encouraging healthy eating, injury and addiction prevention and healthy sexuality and tobacco control. -30- Cape Breton residents can look forward to healthier communitiesthanks to a boost of almost $58,000 from the Office of HealthPromotion. The funds are being shared by the Cape Breton District HealthAuthority’s six community health boards. Each board will use itsportion of the funding to award Wellness Initiative grants tosuccessful applicants in their communities. “Community health boards engage people at the local level andhelp create healthier communities,” said Health PromotionMinister Rodney MacDonald. “Supporting the people and projects onthe front line is an important part of our plan to build ahealthier Nova Scotia.” The support comes from Health Promotion’s $348,000 provincial Wellness Fund and will be directed toward projects that encouragephysical activity, healthy eating, injury prevention, addictionprevention, healthy sexuality and tobacco control. The Wellness Fund helps non-profit community groups andorganizations develop local health promotion and illnessprevention projects and programs. “Our community health boards help to identify the needs in acommunity through initiatives like this,” said Barbara LeBlanc,chair of the North Inverness community health board. “This moneyfrom Health Promotion is helping us reach our goal of making CapeBreton one of the healthiest places to live.” Ms. LeBlanc said community health boards in the Cape Bretondistrict have received numerous requests for support from groupsand organizations. The community health boards recently advertised for proposals andare now reviewing almost 100 applications from groups eager topromote healthier lifestyles. Decisions will be made before theend of March. “Community health boards have an important role. They are theeyes ears and voice of communities across the province and theymake a difference at the ground level,” said the minister. Community health boards work with district health authorities toidentify community health challenges. Their volunteer memberssupport initiatives that promote healthier living and illnessprevention. HEALTH PROMOTION–Wellness Fund Provides Boost to Cape BretonProjects
The Arnold’s Brook Bridge on Trunk 28 near South Bar in Cape Breton County is being replaced. While a permanent bridge is being built at the same location, both the bridge and the highway will be out of service from Monday, July 18 to Sunday, Aug. 28. The contract to build the new bridge, valued at $980,000, has been awarded to J&T Van Zutphen Construction Inc. The contractor has agreed to an accelerated schedule to build the steel arch bridge to minimize inconvenience to the public. The highway will remain open on both sides of the bridge but drivers wishing to cross will have to use a posted detour via Lingan Road. Engineers with the Department of Transportation and Public Works determined that a temporary bridge is not an option, due to high costs. The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.
Residents of New Glasgow and Stellarton will soon have improved wastewater systems thanks to funding made available through the Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund. Funding of $450,000 for the projects was announced today, March 8, by the government of Canada and the province of Nova Scotia. The towns of Stellarton and New Glasgow will fund the balance of the project costs, after formal acceptance of the agreement. The projects respond to municipal and program priorities. The Stellarton project includes the design and installation of the first phase of the combined sewer overflow reduction program, which will remove stormwater from the sanitary system to allow the sewage treatment plant to operate more efficiently. The New Glasgow project includes the design and construction of a stormwater sewer on Cameron Avenue, between Abercrombie Road and Terrace Street. It will remove stormwater from the sanitary system, increasing the capacity of the East River Abatement System wastewater facility. “Canada’s government is working in partnership with its provincial and municipal counterparts to get things done for the people of New Glasgow and Stellarton,” said Peter MacKay, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “Investments in community infrastructure like we are making today improves the environment and the quality of life of families.” Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, said the investment is helping build safer communities and stronger infrastructure. “Today’s investment is an excellent example of how the Nova Scotia government is helping our communities plan for the future,” said Mr. Muir. “We are committed to helping provide a high quality of life for all our citizens and protecting the environment.” Russell Walker, president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, said he is pleased the important projects are moving forward. “With each new infrastructure project announced, we see the results of the hard work community partners and municipal staff have invested in developing these project proposals,” said Mr. Walker. The $111-million, six-year Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is administered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities are members of the Program management committee. The Fund supports community infrastructure improvements, such as water, wastewater, and solid waste management.
Business savvy Nova Scotia exporters with excellent export records and a competitive edge, are invited to submit applications for the 25th annual Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards. The exporter-recognition event will be held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax on Thursday, May 22. Seven Nova Scotia companies will be recognized for skill and dedication through outstanding exporting achievements. The awards honour exporters’ growth, innovation, partnerships and business volume and recognizes the contributions exporters make to Nova Scotia’s economy. Award winners will be featured in promotional brochures, newspaper advertising, video presentations, on cable television and on several websites. Winning companies will receive the 2008 Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards logo to use for promotional purposes. A unique, handcrafted award is presented to each winner at the award ceremony. Past winners said they gained lasting and significant recognition as a result of winning an Export Achievement Award. The award helps raise a company’s profile at home, attracts new foreign customers and boosts employee morale. “Awards such as the Nova Scotia Export Achievement Award can bring your company instant credibility in a new market and it can also raise your profile in your own backyard,” said Earle Hickey, vice president, international at Jacques Whitford, winner of the Export Growth Through Partnership Award, 2006. Applications must be received by Friday, Feb. 29. For applications and more information visit the website www.exportachievementawards.com . Applications are also available by calling Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) at 902-424-6814. In 2006, Nova Scotia’s export industry for international goods and services was valued at $7.6 billion. The province is also home to more than 950 international exporters. The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards are presented by NSBI, the province’s business development agency, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. NSBI works to attract new businesses to the province and help those already in Nova Scotia expand through services such as trade development and financing.
Nova Scotia farmers will get more support to achieve profitability and incorporate innovation with new programs announced by the federal and Nova Scotia agriculture ministers today, April 6. The program details come after the signing of the Growing Forward agreement between the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia. “The Growing Forward programs focus on supporting innovation, commercialization and profitability for our farmers,” said Mark Parent, Minister of Agriculture. “The Department of Agriculture, in partnership with our agriculture and agri-food industry, will continue to support flexible program development that will meet the unique needs and opportunities of Nova Scotia.” “Farmers expect all levels of government to work together to drive Canadian agriculture and this agreement is making that happen,” said federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Growing Forward delivers stable and bankable programs that work for farmers. The agreement we signed will kick-start the rollout of these essential programs in Nova Scotia.” Growing Forward is a national agriculture framework to co-ordinate federal and provincial agriculture policy. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are delivering $1.3 billion for farm families over five years. The agreement with Nova Scotia will deliver almost $25 million for agriculture in the province. The funding is cost-shared 60-40 between the federal and provincial governments. Growing Forward programs are tailored, with input from farmers, to meet Nova Scotia’s diverse regional requirements. For information on Growing Forward, visit www.gov.ns.ca/agri or www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward .
Anyone with a hook, a line and a little hope can fish without a licence in Nova Scotia during the 15th annual sportfishing weekend June 6-7. “Fishing creates a strong connection with nature, teaching future stewards about the importance of our natural resources as they participate in a great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by a range of ages and fitness levels,” said Murray Hill, director of inland fisheries, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “It is an inexpensive, easily accessible outdoor activity that can foster strong family and social relationships.” The sportfishing weekend is set aside every spring to allow residents and non-residents to fish for most species without a general sportfishing licence. All bag limits and fishing regulations apply. Licence requirements and regulations apply for fishing Atlantic salmon. A second free fishing weekend will be held during the winter season on Feb. 20-21. Sportfishing is one of the most-popular active outdoor sports in Nova Scotia. Worth about $92 million a year to the province’s economy, close to 100,000 Nova Scotians sportfish each year and thousands more visit the province to fish. For more information visit www.gov.ns.ca/fish/sportfishing/, or call 902-485-5056.
Alicia Kennedy has been appointed a Crown attorney for the Halifax office of the Public Prosecution Service. The appointment was announced today, Sept. 2, by Martin Herschorn, director of Public Prosecutions. “I am very pleased to welcome a lawyer with Ms. Kennedy’s energy and experience to the Public Prosecution Service,” said Mr. Herschorn. A native of Shubenacadie, Ms. Kennedy graduated from the University of Ottawa as a dean’s list student in 2003 with an honours bachelor of social sciences. She went on to Dalhousie law school, graduating in 2007. At convocation she received the prestigious Muriel Duckworth Award. Ms. Kennedy articled with Saskatchewan Legal Aid in Meadow Lake before joining Saskatchewan Legal Aid on a permanent basis. Her focus at legal aid was almost entirely on criminal law. Ms. Kennedy is active in her community. She has volunteered with the Dalhousie Association of Women and the Law and with Big Sisters in Ottawa. More recently, she coached youth soccer in Meadow Lake, Sask.
COLCHESTER COUNTY: Dunlop Bridge Dunlop Bridge, 20.5 kilometres east of Trunk 2 on Route 289, will be reduced to one lane for replacement of bridge rail until Thursday, March 4. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-893-6194 INVERNESS COUNTY: Murrays Hill Bridge Murrays Hill Bridge, which crosses the Mabou River near Rankinville Road, is closed until further notice. Local Area Office: 902-625-4388 GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Melford Brook Bridge The Melford Brook Bridge on Route 344 at Middle Melford is closed. A two-lane detour bridge is in place until a permanent bridge is built. The speed limit has been reduced to 60 km/h and warning signs are in place. Reduced weight restrictions are no longer in effect at this crossing. Local Area Office: 902-533-2771 CONTINUING WORK KINGS COUNTY: Bridge Closure The Busby McMahon Bridge on Brooklyn Street, near Aylesford, is open to one lane until further notice. Traffic lights are in place. There is a detour available on New Road, Route 221 and Morden Road. Local Area Office: 902-679-4979 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Fairview Overpass Traffic on Joseph Howe Drive under the Fairview Overpass will have periodic lane closures from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice. Traffic control people will be onsite, but delays are expected. Drivers should use alternate routes if possible. Local Area Office: 902-424-0054 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 102, Larry Uteck Interchange Detour ramps are open for traffic on Highway 102 (Bicentennial Highway) at the Larry Uteck Interchange. The detour provides two lanes in each direction around the construction site. Speed limit on the detour is 80 km/h. Local Area Office: 902-424-5591 KINGS COUNTY: Hantsport Kates Bridge, on Tannery Road in Hantsport, is closed for repairs until further notice. A detour is available on Avon Street. Local Area Office: 902-527-5448 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Sydney River Bridge The Sydney River Bridge on Keltic Drive is reduced to one lane until Wednesday, March 31, for repairs. Residents of Coxheath and Westmount are encouraged to use the interchange on Coxheath Road to get to Highway 125 during the construction period. Local Area Office: 902-563-2245 KINGS COUNTY: Hillaton Road Hillaton Road is closed until further notice to allow for bridge repairs. A detour is available from Route 221 to Route 358 to Saxon Street. Local Area Office: 902-679-4308 PICTOU COUNTY: Elgin Road, Garys Mill Bridge Garys Mill Bridge on Elgin Road will be reduced to one lane to allow for bridge rail replacement from Wednesday, Feb. 17, until Friday, March 12. Traffic signals will be in place. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-893-6194 VICTORIA COUNTY: Corsen Bridge Corsen Bridge, two kilometres before Ingonish, continues to be reduced to one lane. Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 -30-
From solar to tidal, Nova Scotia is at the forefront of clean technology. Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau visited a number of cleantech projects today, Oct. 12, in Halifax Regional Municipality. Tour stops included the Seaport Farmers’ Market, Halifax Water Commission, Halifax C&D Recycling, and Carbon Sense Solutions. “Nova Scotia businesses are developing and implementing some incredibly progressive environmental technologies,” said Mr. Belliveau. “Cleantech is not only making this province more globally competitive, it’s making life better for residents and municipalities through cost savings and an improved environment.” The Seaport Farmers’ Market, supported in part by the ecoNova Scotia fund for Clean Air and Climate Change, is considered a major victory in the green movement and one of the most energy efficient buildings in North America. The green roof, rainwater collection system, geothermal wells, and a living wall are among the highlights at the market. Carbon Sense Solutions, also supported by ecoNova Scotia, has developed technology to produce low carbon concrete. The Halifax Water Commission plans to install turbines to recover waste energy and generate electricity. Halifax C&D Recycling is an example of the green economy at work by reusing and recycling waste products for profit. Clean technology or cleantech is technology that helps grow the economy while addressing energy and environmental challenges. The cleantech sector in Nova Scotia is creating good jobs, developing new products for the province and export, and helping Nova Scotia businesses become more globally competitive. Clean technologies also improve the environment and reduce operating costs. These cost savings often translate into improved programs and services for municipalities and community organizations. Over the past three years, the $42.5-million ecoNova Scotia Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change, a grant from the federal government, has funded more than 140 clean technology projects. By supporting projects that reduce greenhouse-gas and air-pollutant emissions, ecoNova Scotia is helping the province meet the objectives of the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act and the Climate Change Action Plan. For more information, visit www.gov.ns.ca/ecoNovaScotia.
A 1.99-megawatt large wind project in Wedgeport, near Yarmouth, owned by Scotian Wind, Scotian Windfields and WEB Wind Energy North America. A two-megawatt large wind project in Bayswater, near Chester, owned by Watts Wind Energy Inc., Brookfield Asset Management and Katalyst Wind. A 0.9-megawatt large wind project in Cheticamp, Inverness Co., owned by Celtic Current and Zutphen Wind. A 4.6-megawatt large wind project on Lake Major Road in North Preston, owned by the Halifax Regional Water Commission. A 50 kW small-wind project at the Spiddle Hill Wind Farm, owned by the Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field Community Economic Development Corporation. The 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan introduced the COMFIT concept to help provide a secure supply of clean energy at stable prices, build community support for renewable energy projects and create jobs. “More and more we are hearing good news about the government’s highly successful renewable energy policy,” said David Stevenson, president of Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field. “It promotes electricity from wind power, which reduces the burning of imported coal. Our company is a partner in the progressive harnessing of a sustainable and clean resource.” More than 20 community groups have submitted over 90 locally based renewable energy development proposals under the COMFIT program. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the COMFIT administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss projects. “The enthusiasm of communities coming together to develop local renewable electricity projects demonstrates the importance of the COMFIT program,” said Mr. Parker. “Communities are empowered to be creative and use local resources to create jobs, meet their energy needs and reduce our environmental footprint.” COMFIT provides eligible groups an established price per kilowatt hour for projects producing electricity from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, in-stream tidal and run-of-the-river tidal developments. The feed-in tariff rates were established by the Utilities and Review Board in September. Eligible groups include municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, universities, community economic development funds and not-for-profit groups. The COMFIT program will help the province reach its targets of 25 per cent renewable electricity by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. The province expects 100 megawatts to be produced through the COMFIT. For more information on the program and to apply, visit www.nsrenewables.ca . Nova Scotians are breathing cleaner air, and are well on their way to meeting the province’s aggressive renewable electricity targets, said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. Mr. Parker announced the latest round of Community-Feed-in Tariff approvals today, Feb. 27, for renewable electricity projects proposed for Spiddle Hill, Wedgeport, Bayswater, Cheticamp and North Preston. These projects are now able to proceed to the next stage of development. “It is important for us to celebrate our successes along the way during this energy transformation,” said Mr. Parker at the Tatamagouche announcement. “That’s why I’m pleased to announce that Nova Scotia Power has met, and slightly exceeded, our legislated renewable electricity target for 2011. We are also meeting our green-house gas reduction targets.” Details of the projects moving forward are:
Nova Scotia is closer to becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to exclusively use energy-efficient LED roadway lighting. Energy Minister Charlie Parker finalized amendments to the Energy-Efficient Appliances Regulations today, Sept. 12, that require all road and highway lighting in Nova Scotia must be converted to LED. “With LED road lighting, Nova Scotia will save millions of dollars by using about half the energy of current lighting, and improve our air quality while reducing our carbon footprint,” said Mr. Parker. “This only serves to strengthen Nova Scotia’s position as a leader in combining fiscal and environmental responsibility.” The regulations require Nova Scotia Power to complete its conversion by Dec. 31, 2019. Municipalities will have until Dec. 31, 2022, and now have one year to outline the conversion. The regulations are expected to save Nova Scotians about $5 million a year in energy costs alone after all the lights have been converted. Nova Scotia Power is proposing a new rate plan for streetlight customers which will not increase annual costs for seven years and offer a rate reduction if they use Nova Scotia Power-owned lights. Depending on maintenance, there could be additional savings. Municipalities that choose to own their own lights could also benefit from lower financing costs. “Many of our municipalities have already switched over to LED roadway lights and are reporting operational savings,” said Mr. Parker. “The province is also making low-cost financing available so more municipalities can take advantage of these savings sooner.” The regulations were drafted by the Department of Energy after public consultations and meetings with the LED Working Group that includes Halifax Regional Municipality, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, Efficiency Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Power. The regulations are available at www.gov.ns.ca/just/regulations/rxaa-l.htm#enapp .
Nova Scotia’s youngest students will continue to receive the support and attention they need in school as the province keeps class sizes low. Class sizes in grades 4 through 6 will be capped at 25, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Ramona Jennex announced today, Aug. 30. “Keeping class sizes low continues to be important to parents, teachers, and students. That’s why we’re following through on our commitment through Kids and Learning First to extend the class-size cap to more grades,” said Ms. Jennex. “Now that we have a balanced budget, the province is able to invest even more in the initiatives that are most important to families, like education.” School boards must phase in the class-size cap in grades 4 to 6 over the next three years, beginning with Grade 4 classes in 2014-15. The province will invest $6.5 million over three years to support the cap by hiring as many as 100 new teachers. “Parents know what a tremendous difference it makes to their children when teachers are able to give them more time and attention in the classroom,” said Ms. Jennex. “Our class sizes are already at the lowest levels they have been in a generation, and government is going to keep them that way.” A class-size maximum of 25 was established in 2012-13 for grades primary to 3 and resulted in the hiring of more than 70 teachers. “I applaud the province for extending the class cap guidelines to Grade 6,” said Gin Yee, chairman of the Halifax Regional School Board. “I have heard from parents, guardians and teachers who have told me smaller class sizes provide for better learning and teaching opportunities, especially in the younger grades.” Information collected from the boards indicates that the average class size in grades Primary to 6 across the province last school year ranged from 20-23 students, about the same as 2011-12. Kids and Learning First includes a number of initiatives to help students in younger grades. More young students are getting early literacy help under Succeeding in Reading and a revised math curriculum for all elementary grades will give students more time to learn the basics and build a strong math foundation for future years.
eliminating the requirement for sex reassignment surgery to change the sex designation on a birth certificate requiring a self-declaration from the applicant stating that they have assumed, identify with, and intend to live in a gender identity that corresponds with the desired sex designation requiring a letter of support from a person with a professional designation as defined in regulation (like a doctor, nurse, social worker or psychologist) requiring minors under 16 to have parental consent. The letter of support must be from a doctor or psychologist that has treated or evaluated the applicant and must include a professional opinion that the minor is able to understand the impact of the decision. “In the fall, a petition signed by over 600 Nova Scotians who wanted to see a change to the Nova Scotia Vital Statistic Act was tabled in the legislature,” said Service Nova Scotia Minister Mark Furey. “That same day, I made a commitment to taking a stand on this issue, and I am delivering on that promise. “This is the right thing to do to ensure that transgender Nova Scotians are further protected from harassment and discrimination.” An amendment to the Change of Name Act will reduce the age requirement for parental consent to age 15 to align with the Vital Statistics Act. Amendments to the Vital Statistics Act will further protect transgender Nova Scotians from harassment and discrimination. Amendments introduced today, April 8, will remove the requirement for Nova Scotians to have sex reassignment surgery to change the sex designation on their birth certificate. “Carrying documents that do not match your identified gender can create stress and the potential for harassment and violence,” said Kate Shewan, executive director at The Youth Project. “This legislation is an important step forward in recognizing gender identity and making it easier for transgender Nova Scotians to obtain documents aligned with their gender.” Amendments include:
Every Woman’s Centre in Sydney has signed a three-year contract to offer expanded sexual assault nurse examiner service to residents of Cape Breton. Louise Smith-MacDonald, centre co-coordinator, said the service includes physical examination and support immediately following a sexual assault, offered by specially trained nurses. It will also offer followup support from a co-ordinator who will help link people to the services they may need, from the day after the sexual assault until months later. “There’s a whole range of emotions people go through after a sexual assault – blaming themselves, wondering what they could have done differently,” said Ms. Smith-MacDonald. “They may not feel comfortable living in the same place; they may have issues with employment. There has to be some kind of support for them, and this service will provide it.” Two specially trained nurses will respond within 1.5 hours, around the clock, most often at the request of emergency departments but sometimes community clinics. Nurses can perform physical examinations, ensure forensic evidence is protected in case the victim decides to make a criminal complaint, and provide crisis intervention and emotional support. In the coming months, Every Woman’s Centre will hire on-call nurses to respond to sexual assaults when called by an emergency department. They will train the nurses and a co-ordinator, develop agreements with service locations and community support groups, and set up protocols and training with emergency department staff. Expanded service is expected to begin in January. The province will invest $700,000 per year to expand the service in Cape Breton, as well as southwestern Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore. “This is an important service that will provide continued support, for Cape Bretoners who have been sexually assaulted,” said Sydney-Whitney Pier MLA Derek Mombourquette, on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. Sexual assault nurse examiners are specially trained to provide crisis intervention, medical care and emotional support to those who have been sexually assaulted. This support is available to anyone who has been sexually assaulted, of all gender identities and sexual orientations. “This expansion of service is a positive enhancement to the services we are able to offer to those who experience sexual assault,” said Lindsay Peach, vice-president of Integrated Health Services Community Support and Management, Nova Scotia Health Authority. “We are pleased to be able to work with these community partners in establishing expanded access to the sexual assault nurse examiner service.” A request for proposals was issued in mid-April. There are two groups offering provincially funded sexual assault nurse examiner service in the province – the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, which provides service in the Halifax area, and the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association, which covers New Glasgow to Port Hawkesbury. The expansion of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program is part of Breaking the Silence: A Co-ordinated Response to Sexual Violence in Nova Scotia, the first provincewide sexual violence strategy launched in June 2015.
Finance and Treasury Board Minister Randy Delorey said tax relief is coming for small businesses in a balanced budget to be delivered next month. The small business income threshold will rise to $500,000 from $350,000, Mr. Delorey told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce event today, March. 28. The result will be more small businesses paying the lower small business corporate tax rate of three per cent. Government will also continue its concerted effort to reduce red tape. This commitment will be worth $25 million to business in 2017-18, saving them time and money they can reinvest in their enterprises. “Less tax and less red tape means small businesses will create more jobs,” said Mr. Delorey. “We are focused on investing in opportunities for growth. “On budget day Nova Scotians will see the province is forecasting ending one fiscal year in surplus and beginning another in balance.” It will be the first time in almost 10 years that back-to-back balanced budgets will be tabled in the legislature. “We got to this point by sticking to our plan, making strategic decisions and by finding new ways to address long-standing problems,” said Mr. Delorey. “This has allowed government to invest in key sectors of our economy, expand opportunities for young Nova Scotians, increase exports and social infrastructure.” Budget 2017-18 will be tabled on April 27 in the House of Assembly.
As we head into Labour Day weekend, I welcome this opportunity to commemorate the hard-working Nova Scotians who contribute to our province’s communities and economy each and every day. It’s an occasion to recognize, honour and celebrate the workers across our province, and our efforts to promote and provide safe and healthy workplaces. Nova Scotia is a province that thrives on the strong work ethic of workers and the collaboration between employers, unions, and associations that support them. Together, we are contributing to our province’s economic growth that will create opportunity for all Nova Scotians. I wish all Nova Scotians a safe, happy Labour Day weekend, and thank you for your contributions to our province. I hope you will be able to enjoy the holiday and take this time to celebrate with family and friends. -30-