Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia
Fall is a busy time of year for Nova Scotians. For the government, it means heading back to the House of Assembly.
I’m guessing most people aren’t following the daily business at the Legislature. I get it. Watching bills become law is not exactly riveting television. But there are exciting things happening in this session that are worth sharing.
It’s no secret Nova Scotia is experiencing a housing shortage. We’re addressing this issue head-on. We have invested close to $300 million in housing and affordability. That includes 222 new public housing units and many more affordable units across the province, 3,000 new rent supplements to help people pay their rent, shelters for people experiencing homelessness and more money for the Senior’s Care Grant.
But building takes time. In the meantime, houses and apartments that could be long-term homes are being rented out short-term. So we’re making changes to short-term rentals like Airbnbs, including higher registration fees based on community size, that will help make more long-term housing available.
In Halifax Regional Municipality, where the housing shortage is most severe, we’re taking bold action to get more housing built faster. Changes to the HRM Charter will speed up approvals and reduce barriers to building housing.
We remain focused on healthcare. We’re cementing our commitment to universal mental health and addictions care for all Nova Scotians with changes to the Health Services and Insurance Act. This bill brings us one step closer to all Nova Scotians – not just those who can afford it – being able to access mental health and addictions care.
We’re also holding opioid companies accountable for deceptive practices that have led to opioid-related injuries or illnesses with new legislation this session.
Every day, first responders place themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. That’s why we’re making May 1 First Responders’ Day in Nova Scotia.
These heroes deserve recognition for the essential role they play in the safety of our communities.
This session is also a historic one. Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West, was elected the first female Speaker of the House of Assembly. Twila Grosse, recently elected MLA for Preston, took her seat as the first female African Nova Scotian cabinet minister. It took far too long to get here but my government is proud to see these remarkable women breaking down barriers and making history.
Your government is honoured to be in the House of Assembly representing Nova Scotians. We will continue to work year-round on your behalf.