Non-profit groups slam bud­get cuts

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCIAL - BY MICHAEL MAC­DON­ALD HAL­I­FAX

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.

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