The province will donate $400,000 to the Salvation Army’s Good Neighbour Program to help some families to heat their homes this winter. “We know that even with home heating help through the Your Energy Rebate and the Heating Assistance Rebate programs, some people are still finding it hard to manage,” said Ramona Jennex, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “This is another way that government is helping to make life more affordable for Nova Scotia families across the province.” In 2008-09, the province donated $800,000 to the program. About $400,000 was still available this year, however, that is almost depleted. Thanks to donations from the province and others, the Salvation Army, through its Good Neighbour Program, has been able to help more people this year than any other. To date, about 1,500 families received $400 to help them heat their homes. Ms. Jennex applauded the great community work by the Salvation Army and thanked it for its caring and concern for Nova Scotians in need. “Today we celebrate knowing that more Nova Scotian households have been assisted in a very practical manner this winter than ever before,” said Diane Van der Horden, public relations & development director with the Maritime Salvation Army. “We applaud the government’s announcement to stand with us in meeting the needs of those struggling the most to heat their homes. The Good Neighbour Program will now be able to operate for its full period.” The Good Neighbour Program was established in 1997 by employees of Nova Scotia Power. The program assists with all forms of home heating including firewood, coal, oil, propane and electricity. The Your Energy Rebate and the Heating Assistance Rebate programs offer home heating help to make life better for Nova Scotia families.
Nova Scotia has earned its highest yet long-term credit rating from Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) in recognition of the province’s return to a balanced budget through strong fiscal discipline and steady improvement over four years. DBRS upgraded Nova Scotia to A (high) with a stable outlook, and short-term credit rating to R-1 (middle), saying Nova Scotia’s fiscal recovery is well ahead of many other provinces. “We kept our commitment to balance the budget while protecting and improving the public services Nova Scotians value most, and avoiding the $1.3-billion deficit we were headed for only four short years ago,” said Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Thanks to the help of all Nova Scotians we now have a stronger foundation to build a better future on.” DBRS says the upgrade reflects “relatively limited erosion encountered during the downturn, along with sustained fiscal discipline and prudent fiscal management demonstrated throughout the period of recovery.” “We are committed to maintaining fiscal discipline as we head into an era of unprecedented opportunity,” said Ms. MacDonald. DBRS reviews credit ratings annually.