Thursday, June 07, 2012 AT 11:26AM | Posted by: PCNB
Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise in the House today to report on a very successful meeting of the Council of Atlantic Premiers, held yesterday in Brudenell,PEI.
We agreed on the important contribution that Atlantic Canadians make to the Canadian economy, and in particular employers and workers engaged in rural and seasonal industries.
It is important that the federal government recognize this contribution and ensure that changes to the Employment Insurance program do not disadvantage our seasonal industries or impede regional growth.
Mr. Speaker, my fellow Premiers agree that clarity is needed on the federal government’s EI changes, which our government is currently studying.
We have asked the Prime Minister to work with us in providing clarity so that we can continue to build and strengthen our economy.
Atlantic Canada has significant potential for growth, which can be achieved through regional collaboration.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that we agreed to work collaboratively on two initiatives designed to strengthen our economy and provide more cost-effective services to Atlantic Canadians.
The Premiers agreed to establish an Atlantic Work Force Partnership. This will see provinces working together to improve skills training, promote apprenticeship opportunities, recruit and retain immigrants and build on one another’s strengths to meet new economic challenges.
We have also directed our Ministers responsible for procurement to develop an action plan on joint procurement that will maximize opportunities to leverage our buying power and reduce costs. This is in keeping with the Procurement Act introduced during this session. I am pleased by the support of my colleagues in advancing this initiative.
It is clear, Mr. Speaker, that the spirit of regional collaboration is alive and well in Atlantic Canada. I firmly believe that by working together, we can improve services to Atlantic Canadians while strengthening our unique provinces.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thursday, June 07, 2012 AT 9:46AM | Posted by: PCNB
Pictured: Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr.
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government unveiled today a new, three-year $38-million action plan, Putting Children First, which will better prepare young children for the future.
"We are making history in our province by changing the system as we know it into an innovative model for early childhood services that is unique in Canada," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr. "Our goal is that as we implement this plan, each child and his or her family will receive the support they need, regardless of the location in New Brunswick. This integrated network, which will provide a learning continuum from birth to high school graduation, is based on a child-centred approach, a common vision and existing strengths and leadership in our communities."
The integration of early childhood services and the school system will enable the provincial government to provide more timely and specialized transition and intervention services, running from birth to eight years of age.
"Our decision is guided by the knowledge and research that this is a time of remarkable brain growth, laying the foundation for subsequent learning and development," said Carr.
More than $38 million will be allocated to this initiative over three years that will address the provincial government’s commitment to improve the quality, affordability, accessibility and inclusivity of early childhood services. Highlights:
● $16.7 million to create new early learning and childcare spaces, bringing the total increase to 10,000.
● $850,000 to build capacity for inclusion in early learning and childcare facilities.
● $1.26 million to increase in the number of support workers by 50 to make early learning and childcare facilities more inclusive.
● $4.11 million to support wage subsidies for childcare workers. The trained staff wage top-up will increase to $5 per hour from $4.50. The action plan also provides for the re-establishment of wage subsidies of $2.75 per hour for untrained staff. This initiative supports the pay equity activities for early learning and childcare staff.
● $4.4 million to be invested in the Day Care Assistance Program to enhance affordability of childcare for families. Enhancements include: increasing the ceiling for maximum day care subsidy to an income of less than $30,000 a year; raising the annual income limit to $55,000; and increasing the daily maximum subsidies to $4 per day for infants and $1.75 per day for preschoolers.
● $2.25 million to establish a new early childhood services director in each school district.
● $5.25 million to support the training in Early Childhood Education for childcare staff.
● $250,000 to run an awareness campaign for the creation of new childcare spaces; to provide materials to support parents in choosing quality early learning and childcare services; and to promote workplace childcare strategy to employers.
● $3 million to provide services for preschool children with autism spectrum disorders.
The changes will be supported by measures based on the co-ordinated, ongoing collaboration of all early childhood partners, designed to offer support services and provide a continuum of learning for children and their families from the time the child is born until he or she completes high school.
Carr said the provincial government will provide "strong, committed leadership" to undertake the following actions to integrate early childhood services and education to enhance support to vulnerable children and their families:
● A broadening of the mandate of early intervention agencies from zero to five years to zero to eight years in co-operation with the school system.
● The development of two provincial networks of early childhood services, one for each linguistic community, which will be tasked with implementing the strategic framework for early childhood.
● A new early childhood services director in each of the seven school district boundaries. These persons will work closely with the school district management team and their partners for management and integration of early childhood services in the various locations.
● The development of local early childhood service networks operating in the same areas as the school districts, which will work together to identify and respond to the needs of families in their communities.
"With Putting Children First, we will build a model to enable early childhood and education partners to work together toward a single objective," Carr said. "I extend my sincere thanks to all stakeholders who helped us develop this action plan, especially the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Early Learning and Childcare and Action Group for the Commission on Francophone Schools. Together with our partners, we will put together a system of which our province can be proud."
● Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 AT 2:24PM | Posted by: PCNB
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
• As Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, I rise today to announce that International Roadcheck, a 72-hour commercial vehicle inspection blitz, will take place June 5 – 7th.
• The event is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and is held throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
• My department’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers will hold the event at the eastbound scales at St-Jacques. Their Quebec counterparts will do their checks at the westbound scales in Cabano, Quebec.
• As in previous years, Nova Scotia will take part at Amherst in the east bound direction.
• In addition to commercial vehicles, we will also have a team of specially trained inspectors who will perform motor coach inspections.
• Partnering with other jurisdictions sends a clear message that we’re all committed to the shared goal of safer highways.
• Other participants include RCMP, Canada Food Inspection Agency, Transport Canada inspectors, Edmundston Police Department, National Safety Code auditors, and trucking industry representatives.
• Mr. Speaker, highway safety is a crucial component of my department’s efforts to work together for a safe New Brunswick.
• The Department of Public Safety and its partners do a great job of identifying safety infractions on commercial vehicles throughout the year.
• An International Roadcheck is a good reminder to commercial vehicle operators of their responsibilities. It also helps to raise public awareness on what we are doing to make our highways safer.
• During last year’s event, 232 vehicles were inspected in New Brunswick, as well as 34 motor coaches. Nearly 7,600 inspections were performed throughout Canada.
• I applaud everyone taking part in the important initiative and I have no doubt it will be very successful.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 AT 1:00PM | Posted by: PCNB
Mr. Speaker, it gives great pleasure to rise in the Legislature this afternoon to inform members of the Legislative Assembly that Elite, a Thomson Reuters business is expanding its workforce in Moncton, creating 25 new full-time jobs in the Hub City.
Elite is a leading provider of integrated information solutions to professional services firms worldwide. This company is a premier provider of financial and practice management systems to the legal industry and to other professional services markets, including accounting, marketing services, and management and IT consulting.
Through a payroll rebate program offered through Invest New Brunswick, the Province of New Brunswick is providing $495,000 to Elite for this project. The investment will contribute $1.3 million annually to the province's gross domestic product.
Mr. Speaker, today’s announcement falls in line with our Rebuilding New Brunswick, our economic development action plan. Investing in the information and communication technology industry is one of the six areas of focus for our government to drive economic progress in New Brunswick.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Patrick Langlais, director of Data Transformation for Elite, and his company for expanding its operations in Moncton.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 AT 12:53PM | Posted by: PCNB
Earlier today I announced our action plan in response to Strengthening Inclusion, Strengthening Schools, a report prepared by two experts in inclusive education, Dr. Gordon Porter and Dr. Angela Aucoin. The report, received by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in December 2011, is intended to serve as a blueprint to improving inclusive education.
We believe that every child deserves to have their individual needs met in our education and early learning systems. We are committed to ensuring every child, regardless of where they live or challenges they face, has the opportunity to learn and grow together in positive learning environments. Our inclusion agenda is part of a bigger strategy to provide safe and healthy learning environments in our schools.
Children and students of all backgrounds, including those new to Canada, First Nations, those with socioeconomic challenges, struggling learners, gifted learners, those with behavior issues and those with disabilities benefit from inclusive, positive learning environments.
Today is the beginning of a new era in inclusive education. Our investments in additional intervention supports and services will benefit all children in our province. We are providing new resources to better support student success and achievement with the goal of ensuring every child reaches their full potential.
I am pleased to announce an investment of $62 Million dollars over the next three years to provide further support to our students, teachers, support staff and our entire education system in order to achieve better success for each student.
$18.81 million will be invested to support the action plan in 2012-2013.
Over the following two years, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, as a minimum, we will make a further investment of $43.26 million to continue the implementation of the action plan.
This action plan is just the beginning. We'll continue to work to implement the recommendations in Strengthening Inclusion, Strengthening Schools and continue to support and promote the learning and success of every child and student in an inclusive positive learning environment.
I would like to thank Dr. Porter and Dr. Aucoin for their comprehensive review and recommendations, and all of our partners and stakeholders for their input during the review and for working in collaboration with us.
We look forward to continuing to work with them as we lay the right foundations to improve the quality of life for all New Brunswickers including our children.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.