Labour leaders sit around a table as they watch provincial budget announcement.

2024 Provincial Budget

March 21, 2024

Labour leaders gathered in St. John’s today to review the 2024 provincial budget. 

In previous years, union representatives would participate in a budget lock-in and receive a briefing from Finance Department officials in advance of the budget being tabled in the House of Assembly. Due to the ongoing protests outside Confederation Building, the government cancelled stakeholder briefings. 

The NLFL is still reviewing and analyzing the budget as we did not have access to documents in advance nor did we have the opportunity to ask questions of Finance officials. 

NLFL’s Highlights: 

  • No layoffs, major cuts or closures.
  • Affordability – No major new investments in affordability measures. Rather, government is maintaining existing programs, such as the reduction in the gas tax, reduction of vehicle registration fees, and home heating supplement, which have proven insufficient to address the cost of living crisis facing many working people.
  • Government will establish a “Jobs of the Future” council, composed of labour, industry, government and PSE representatives. The objective is to align economic strategies, education, and skills development, as well as improve labour market data and analysis. This measure is a response to the NLFL’s recommendation to establish a sustainable jobs partnership council to provide a forum for social dialogue and advice to relevant ministers on sustainable jobs. This is a good step towards giving workers a say in the development of sustainable jobs of the future.
  • Renewable Energy Development – While the budget highlights the potential jobs created through wind-hydrogen development, it remains silent on requirements for strong project labour agreements and community benefits agreements that guarantee good, unionized jobs for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
  • Early Childhood Education – No additional funding to improve wages for ECEs and no funding for pensions or benefits. Better working conditions, compensation and benefits for ECEs is critical to addressing the lack of child care spaces in NL.
  • Housing – $44 million in new funding for affordable housing development. The provincial Housing Corporation will be integrated into core government. Government says this will not result in any job losses.
  • Healthcare – $4.1 billion in total health funding in this budget including $30 million to hire additional health care workers for the existing 19 family care teams and the creation of new teams in Baie Verte and Springdale, Lewisporte, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, and downtown St. John’s. Additional funding for recruitment and retention efforts, the addition of 20 new drugs to the provincial drug program, amongst other measures. 

We will continue to review the budget and seek clarification and further details from government. 

Positive announcements included in this budget, in particular the Jobs of the Future Council, are a direct result of the organizing, lobbying and advocacy of workers and their unions. 

The NLFL will continue to push government to introduce measures that address the cost of living crisis. We must keep the pressure on government to improve workers’ rights including making it easier to join a union and by banning the use of replacement workers in strikes and lockouts. 

Have your say! Tell government to make life affordable for working people!

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