FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government today released a report outlining the choices being considered as part of the Strategic Program Review.

“The choices presented in this report were brought forward by New Brunswickers through the review process,” said Health Minister, Victor Boudreau, who is also minister responsible for Strategic Program Review. “Not all choices contained in the report will be implemented; these are for consideration and discussion as we near the end of the review process.”

The review was launched in January 2015 with the goal of finding $500 million to $600 million to address the province’s financial situation. By looking internally first and taking action on some options immediately, the government has already identified $115 million.

“The Strategic Program Review is about more than finding savings, we are also looking at ways to increase revenues,” said Boudreau. “We need to take a balanced approach to repairing our finances so that we can reinvest in our priorities and restore confidence in our province’s economy.”

Potential initiatives to find savings include:

  • consolidating government-operated customer contact centres;
  • consolidating non-medical lab services;
  • reshaping the civil service;
  • reducing teachers to reflect the decline in the student population;
  • outsourcing highway maintenance;
  • improving the motor vehicle registration process; and
  • transforming the health-care system.

Potential initiatives to increase revenues include:

  • monetizing naming privileges and data registries;
  • targeting the illegal trade of tobacco;
  • increasing the harmonized sales tax;
  • increasing the corporate tax;
  • leasing or selling parks and attractions;
  • introducing highway tolls; and
  • increasing tobacco taxes.

“By making tough choices in the coming budget, we will be better able to deliver on our priorities, which include creating jobs and helping families through investments in health care and education,” said Boudreau.

Decisions will be announced as part of the 2016-17 provincial budget. Once the review concludes, continuous process improvements will be implemented to help ensure public finances are spent wisely.