New Brunswick

Minister Rogers pleased with federal budget items for province

After a first quick look at the federal budget, New Brunswick Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says she's happy with what she sees so far.

Budget includes $75M for a healthy seniors project

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says she is happy with what she sees in her first look at the federal budget. (Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press)

After a first quick look at the federal budget, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says she's happy with what she sees so far.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented the 2018 federal budget, "Equality + Growth, A Strong Middle Class," the 367-page budget document in the House of Commons Tuesday. 

Rogers said there were four key items in the budget that will help New Brunswickers. 

"I was pleased to see New Brunswick has been given the $75 million for a healthy seniors project which I know our premier has been advocating for." 

The finance minister said the province has the oldest population proportionately making it a perfect opportunity to look at many issues and challenges affecting them to find good practices that can be shared with other provinces. 

"So we're happy to see this here (in the budget) because we want to have quality of life for our seniors and help them to stay at home with home care and community care as much as possible." 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau hands over the federal budget to a clerk in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb.27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Rogers said she was also happy to see specific investment for ACOA that is tailored to support women entrepreneurs. 

The finance minister said the funding will help address some gender barriers and help women entrepreneurs who face more challenges in their own businesses than male entrepreneurs. 

Help welcome

Rogers said she was pleased with a commitment to address some of the EI issues. Many seasonal workers in the province do not have enough benefits to assist them until seasonal industries start up again, leaving many in what is known as the "black hole."

In the short term, $10 million will be re-allocated from departmental resources to provide immediate income support and training to affected workers.

About 200 people gathered outside the Service Canada office in Richibucto in late February to protest employment insurance 'black holes.' (Radio-Canada / Nicolas Pelletier)

Another $230 million will be spent over the next two years through federal-provincial Labour Market Development Agreements.

The funds will be used to develop local solutions between the federal and provincial governments that can be tested to support workforce development.

"We're certainly happy that this was worthy of being part of the budget," Roger said. 

The spruce budworm program will see an investment and partnership, something Rogers said is key for the forest industry. 

"If we did not have a little federal help, I'd be worried about our forest loss and what our economic loss would be." 

Rogers said the two governments do share common goals in economic growth and employment, closing the gender gap and more.

"In general, my first impression is I'm pleased," she said.