FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Social Development’s 2023-24 budget, tabled today in the legislative assembly, has increased by $166 million.

The department’s budget increased from $1.467 billion to $1.633 billion. It includes another increase to wages for special care homes and home care workers, as well as the first operating cost increase for home support agencies since 2012.

Wages for those working in the care sector will increase by up to $2.50 an hour, while funding to home support agencies will increase by $2.50 per hour. The budget also contains increased social assistance rates, indexed to reflect annual increases to the cost of living.

“This year’s budget demonstrates our government’s commitment to helping those most in need,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We want to make sure every New Brunswicker has their best chance at health and happiness, at all stages of life.”

Investments from the department include:

  • $5.9 million in additional funding to support clients through social assistance reforms.
  • $13.4 million to fund an increase in social assistance rates of 7.3 per cent under the Transitional Assistance Program and the Extended Benefits Program, benefitting about 26,000 households.
  • $12.6 million to support the work outlined in the 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan, which includes adding to the supply of nursing home beds in the province.
  • $44.9 million to increase wages for personal support workers in home support and special care homes.
  • $9.7 million to fund wage increases for group homes, community residences, family support and attendant care.
  • $8.8 million to support the increased operating costs for home support agencies which provide long-term care and disability support services.
  • $13.7 million to offset travel costs for approved caregivers, including foster parents and partner agencies.

“We continue to work to ensure every New Brunswicker has access to the right kind of care, at the right place and at the right time,” said Shephard. “The department is grateful for the incredible work of staff and the continued partnership with agencies including the New Brunswick Home Support Association, the New Brunswick Special Care Home Association, municipalities, advocacy organizations and other departments across all levels of government. We are united in our goals to improve the lives of New Brunswickers, and I am confident we will continue to succeed together.”

More information about the overall 2023-24 provincial budget is available online.