Brian Gallant unveils $261M education, new economy fund
Education and New Economy Fund was touted in January speech but no details were released until Tuesday
Premier Brian Gallant offered new details on Tuesday over how the provincial government will hand out cash in the new Education and New Economy Fund, which will see nearly $1 billion spent in the next three years.
The premier revealed the details of the fund at a news conference in Fredericton with all of his Liberal MLAs standing behind him. The government said it will invest $261 million this year and nearly $1 billion over the next three years.
Gallant said in a statement that education is a solid investment in future economic growth but it is also "the best social equalizer."
"This is why we will be investing more in education than ever before in the history of the province," Gallant's statement said.
"We will also be investing $250 million of new money during the next three years to provide a strong education system and a highly-skilled workforce while helping industries innovate and businesses increase productivity."
The announcement of the fund was a highlight of Gallant's state of the province speech in January.
In February, the provincial government was still balking at releasing information about what department would be responsible for the fund or how it would be spent.
Budget documents showed that existing programs in the departments of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries; Education and Early Childhood Development; Environment and Local Government; Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; and the Regional Development Corporation will be part of the new fund.
The money will be used to help fund initiatives for students, entrepreneurs, businesses and scientists.
"By strategically co-ordinating new and existing investments in education, training and innovation we can eliminate silos within government to provide the greatest positive impact for our province's people and economy," Gallant said in the statement.
Most of the $261 million fund is money for existing programs, though the Liberals are budgeting $8.8 million in the coming year and $15 million in the following year to implement their education plan.
They've also committed $4.5 million for a new literacy strategy.
The Liberal government announced more than a dozen different types of initiatives that could be covered by this fund, including research and development, innovation and the green economy, helping under-represented groups join the workforce and improving accessibility to post-secondary education.