Non-profit groups slam budget cuts
In the three months since the Nova Scotia government tabled a budget that will be remembered mainly for cutbacks to the film industry, non-profit groups have started speaking out about lesser-known cuts they say are hurting the province's most vulnerable people.
Linda Quigley, executive director of Deafness Advocacy Association Nova Scotia, says her organization will cease to exist within a year because the province eliminated the group's $34,200 annual grant.
“The services that they cut are pretty essential to the province and they did it without really understanding the impact,” says Quigley, whose organization has been around for 42 years. “We're done if we can't find funding in the next little while.”
Quigley had to close her office and lay off a full-time co-ordinator two years ago when the United Way cut their funding by $43,000.
Today, the organization is just Quigley working part-time out of her home. For the 55,000 people in Nova Scotia dealing with hearing loss and deafness, Quigley's association provides a range of services aimed at helping them become productive, employable citizens.
Among other things, the association helps employers defray the cost of hiring interpreters to provide deaf employees with training in first aid, health and safety rules and working with hazardous materials.
“If I was to say anything to the premier, I would ask him to take a look at what is being lost and to have a better understanding of the impact on each of these organizations,” Quigley says. “I don't think that government understands.”
Complaints from groups like Quigley's have started to register with the government. Health Minister Leo Glavine recently confirmed he will be reviewing his department's cutbacks to non-profit groups this fall.
As examples, he cited Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association, which helps children with special needs.