Nfld. & Labrador

'Low uptake and demand' cited for multiple government closures, cancellations

A wide-ranging review of public services in Newfoundland and Labrador has already led to the closure and scaling-back of a variety of programs, from post-secondary support offices to walk-in services for MCP.

Budget casualties include post-secondary support offices and walk-in services for MCP

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is cancelling or deferring several high-profile projects. (John Gushue/CBC)

A wide-ranging review of public services in Newfoundland and Labrador has already led to the closure and scaling-back of a variety of programs, from post-secondary support offices to walk-in services for MCP.

While government is trimming line-by-line spending across the board, it also noted in several circumstances that "low uptake for services" and/or "low demand for programming" guided the decisions to cut or close.

Budget documents released Thursday show that eight offices with the Department of Advanced Education and Skills will close, saving about $330,000 this fiscal year, and $450,000 every year thereafter.

Government also cited the same reasoning of low uptake and low demand while trimming funding to visitor information centres. Whereas the government spent $971,000 last year, the province expects to spend $224,000 less this year.

Without spelling out details Thursday, government said low demand is the reason for changing ferry schedules. It will cut $1 million this year from its $16.175-million ferry budget, and $2 million on an annual basis thereafter.

Similarly, Confederation Building plans to phase out the Agriculture and Agri-Foods Development Fund, which had a budget of $2.55 million last year. Funding will be cut by just over $1 million this year, with the rest wound down over four years.

The Workplace Adjustment Program will be cut by $350,000, from its budget last year of $843,000.

Government said too few people needing help with medicare are using the walk-in service at the MCP office in Grand Falls-Windsor, which will now be removed.

Finally, government will be cutting $10,000 from the e-Therapeutics subscription service for pharmacies.

The government said that locations affected by the closures or reorganization of government departments or units will be informed by Friday at the latest.

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