Community groups that rely on financial help from Nova Scotia's Department of Health are facing cuts, despite the fact their work is aimed at keeping people healthy and active.
The department has focused on wellness programs for years, as a way to keep rising health care costs in check. It's seen as an investment in the future.
The groups include:
- Aids Coalition Cape Breton
- Kids First
- St George's YouthNet
- Chebucto Connections
- Antigonish Resource Centre
- Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding
- Split Rock Learning Centre
- Eating Disorders Nova Scotia
- Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia
- Alzheimer's Society
- Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
- Rainbow ConneXtions
- LGBTI support in rural Cape Breton
- Hope Blooms
- Supporting Knowledge Mobilization and Capacity Building
- Be, Think, Feel Aboriginal Mental Health
- Resiliency and Youth
- High-risk youth recreation therapy
Minister of Health Leo Glavine called this a "belt-tightening year."
He hopes funding can be restored next year.
The cuts are not across the board, but targeted.
For example, community health boards are going to have to make do with $250,000 less for wellness projects this year, a budget of $450,000 instead of $700,000.
Glavine doesn't think projects will be shelved
The Recreational Facilities Development Fund, which provides up to $150,000 to build or help upgrade sports fields, arenas or playgrounds, is facing a major reduction.
Last year there was $2.3 million in the fund. This year, that's being reduced by $1 million to $1.3 million.
Glavine doesn't think that will mean projects will be shelved.
"It is a big number, but I think we will be able to look after a number of these," says the minister. "It's not turning our back on these projects, it's simply delaying some that aren't quite ready to go."
Community grants for groups that are involved in mental health or addictions work are being cut by 40 per cent overall.
The department won't be processing any new requests for community grants this year, as a result.
Nineteen other groups funded by the department are all seeing their funding cut by almost 25 per cent.
Those groups include, Aid Coalition of Cape Breton, Antigonish Resource Centre, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, Hope Blooms, Alzheimer's Society and the Immigrant Services Association.
Glavine said if the cut is too deep, his department will review any appeal.
"That means that if we have an organization that, and there are many who do great work in our communities and you know if their work is going to falter because of the cuts then you know we can do some review through the year," said Glavine.
In the department of seniors, which is also part of Glavine's cabinet responsibilities, all grant programs being reduced by 25 per cent overall.
Most are one-time, application-based grant programs, with the exception of the Senior Safety Grant. The reduction will mean fewer projects will be funded.