FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has invited stakeholders to participate in a two-day Strategic Program Review Forum on May 20 and 21.

The forum is part of Engage NB, the public engagement portion of the Strategic Program Review Process.

“We need to take advantage of every opportunity to seek innovative ideas on how to improve our programs and services so that we can sustain programs like health and education into the future,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau, who is also minister responsible for Strategic Program Review. “As departments work diligently to find efficiencies, we are continuing to review the ideas raised by New Brunswickers and find creative solutions to address our fiscal challenges.”

This event will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders and speakers from inside and outside of New Brunswick to discuss the province’s fiscal challenges. Participants will also engage in themed working sessions related to:

  • the roles and responsibilities of government;
  • the state of the health-care system;
  • smart solutions with respect to the education system;
  • the cost of delivering social services; and
  • revenue sources.

The forum will also serve as an opportunity to explore, in more depth, the ideas raised during the provincial public dialogue sessions held in Phase I of Engage NB. A summary of the input received was released in the What Was Said report and is available online.

Keynote speaker John Bethel will join the forum via video conference. Bethel is a partner in Ernst & Young’s Vancouver office. He was previously a long-time civil servant with the British Columbia provincial government where he oversaw alternative service delivery at both the Ministry of Health and at Shared Services BC. Bethel’s will speak about the fiscal and service benefits of partnering with the private sector for the delivery of government services.

“We are looking forward to studying the ideas raised during the major public engagement process held earlier this year,” said Boudreau. “We believe the difficult decisions before us will be better addressed if all New Brunswickers participate. The forum is another way we are encouraging collaboration.”

The public are encouraged to watch the live stream of the forum on the website.

The third phase of public engagement will provide the public with an opportunity to provide input on specific options being considered. Decisions will be made in time to be implemented in the 2016-17 provincial budget.