The province will be on the hook for a lot of money to cover wages for the new February holiday, including a total cost of about $3 million for the district health authorities, alone.
At $1.1 million, the Capital District Health Authority accounts for nearly a third of that total estimate. Cecil Snow, the director of finance for the CDHA, said it's a "big cost across the province" that health authorities will have to deal with.
Cost of February holiday:
- Capital District Health Authority — $1,100,000.
- Cape Breton District Health Authority — $700,000.
- IWK Health Centre — $300,000.
- Annapolis Valley Health Authority — $231,000.
- South West Health — $165,000.
- South Shore Health — $143,000.
- Cumberland Health Authority — $133,900.
- Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority — $125,000.
- Pictou County Health Authority — $112,000.
- Colchester East Hants Health Authority — $82,000.
"It's an added cost pressure to us, so it's something that the health authorities have to absorb in their budgets," said Snow.
"It is a significant cost pressure, but we've worked with government the past year or so to identify opportunities to cover off that cost pressures."
The estimated costs across the health authorities include premiums, overtime and extra costs for employees, which differ depending on union agreements.
"We looked carefully at the costs of other holidays throughout the year — other statutory holidays — and things like over time costs that might have to be paid out, holiday premiums," said Fraser Moody, spokesperson for South West Health.
The South West district totals its wage costs at $165,000 for that day, which is an average based on the "other holidays throughout the year."
The totals are approximate, but could fluctuate depending on whether more staff are called in or are required to work overtime. Other districts used similar calculations to come up with their estimated costs.
"It's a fairly good estimate but it's all subject to change," said Snow.
Some of the other larger totals include the Cape Breton District Health Authority at $700,000 and the IWK Health Centre at $300,000.
In June, the province decided to call the new holiday Nova Scotia Heritage Day and the first one will recognize Viola Desmond. It will fall on the third Monday of February.