New Brunswick’s finance minister is scheduled to table a provincial budget today as the government grapples with problems in health care and housing and the effects of a population surge.
Last year, the budget featured $11.3 billion in spending, with $3.2 billion set aside for health care and a one-year cap of 3.8 per cent on allowable rent increases.
Finance Minister Ernie Steeves said Monday this year’s version will be a “great budget” for the most vulnerable.
But he concedes “it’s hard to plan in New Brunswick” because the province is unaccustomed to the population growth it has seen recently.
A government news release from March 2022 says the province’s population topped 800,000, adding more than 40,000 people over the previous five years.
Data from Statistics Canada showed New Brunswick’s retention rate dropped slightly from 48.7 per cent in 2010 to 48 per cent in 2015, which means that newcomers to the province don’t tend to stay long.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.
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