Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives are planning to introduce a tax credit of up to $200 per child to help parents and teachers cover the cost of school supplies if the party forms the next provincial government.
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie made the promise Tuesday morning at a campaign-style announcement and cited the Bank of Montreal's annual Back to School survey, which suggests parents in Atlantic Canada spend an average of $450 on items such as school supplies, clothing and technology as their kids head back to class.
The survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, said Canadians shell out an average of $428 per child to get them ready for school.
"Under the NDP, the cost of living and even getting ready for a new school year has become unaffordable for too many families," Baillie said in a statement.
"A Progressive Conservative government will put money back in parents' pockets so they can focus on helping their children soar as high as their abilities can take them."
Baillie said the $200 tax credit — per child — would cost an estimated $3.9 million annually.
Teresa Orser, a parent of two and president of the Westmount Elementary Home and School Association, told reporters she spent about $600 this year — including sneakers — on the required supplies for her children, who are going into Grades 4 and 7.
"I'm hearing from parents that it's getting harder and harder to afford school supplies for their kids," Orser said in a statement.
"This tax credit will help take some of the pressure off parents at back to school time."
Orser said the school supply lists have been getting longer and more detailed in recent years, demanding specific colours of binders and including pricier items such as flash drives.
"You're spending more money every year because the cost of the school supplies is also increasing as well as the quantity of things you're required to buy," she told reporters.