List of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the third periodic report of Canada : United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (June 10, 1998)
--
New Brunswick Government Response to the List of Issues
 

3. What is the opinion of federal, provincial and municipal governments as to the effect of current or proposed trade and investment agreements such as NAFTA, FTAA and the MAI on their ability to fulfill obligations under the Covenant and what processes have been put in place to review this question?

There is no recorded official position on the matter.
 
 

4. Please provide details as to how the government responded in cases where plaintiffs invoked their rights under the Covenant to interpret Charter rights and provide any information about cases in which the government or the Court interpreted the Charter in light of the Covenant. Please include information about: Masses v. Attorney General of Ontario, Clarke v. Peterborough Utilities Commission, Falkiner v. Attorney General of Ontario and Gosselin v. Quebec.

We are not aware of any cases relevant to this question involving the government of New Brunswick, except perhaps Godin v. Minister of Health and Community Services, et al., and in that case no mention was made of the Convention. In Godin, a parent (mother) claimed the right to state-funded counsel on an application by the Minister of Health for interim custody under the Family Services Act. The applicant based her claim, inter alia, on the ground that her liberty interests (as a parent to retain custody and control of her children) under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been impaired: the Minister was represented by counsel, as were the children. The Court of Queen's Bench refused the claim by the applicant and a majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal. The appeal is scheduled to be heard on November 10, 1998. A number of provinces and other parties have intervened.

New Brunswick does not in practice become involved in litigation in the courts of other provinces and was not involved in the cases to which you referred (Mase; Clarke; Falkiner; and Gosselin).
 
 

10. Please provide an estimate of the percentage of human rights complaints filed with each Human Rights Commission in Canada which are adjudicated and explain how this is consistent with the Committee's General Comment No. 3, para. 5. Can the Government of Quebec explain how its system is different and provide an estimate of the percentage of human rights complaints in Quebec that are not dismissed?

Pursuant to s. 12 and 18 of the New Brunswick Human Rights Act the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is required to fully manage all complaints made to it. As reflected in recent annual reports of the Commission, this function has become a very busy one.

For example, in 1994-95, the Human Rights Commission managed 580 informal and 101 formal complaints; in 1995-96, 421 informal and 122 formal complaints; and in 1996-97, 399 informal and 189 formal complaints.
 
 

12. What is the Federal Government?s and each provincial government?s position with respect to whether ?workfare? programs discriminate against welfare recipients and are contrary to article 2 of the Covenant? Please explain the Government of Quebec?s position in the Lambert case.

The Government of New Brunswick does not have an official position on workfare, nor does it currently practice workfare.
 
 

14. What is the position of each Human Rights Commission (with the exception of Quebec's) on whether ?social condition? should be added as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the light of article 2 of the Covenant, and what is the position of the provincial and federal governments on this question?

To date, neither the Government of New Brunswick nor the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission has taken a position with respect to this issue. This issue was addressed in a 1989 report entitled ?Towards a World Family: A Report and Recommendations Respecting Human Rights in New Brunswick?, wherein it was recommended that ?consideration be given to the inclusion of social condition or social origin as a prohibited ground of discrimination? in the New Brunswick legislation. The Report also recommended ?source of income? be a prohibited ground of discrimination in the New Brunswick Act.
 
 

18. Have provinces responded by cutting social assistance rates or entitlements? Please provide information from each province about changes which have occurred from April 1995 to the present day, and any effect on the extent or depth of poverty.

New Brunswick has not cut social assistance rates since April of 1995. In fact, the Province has introduced several initiatives which strongly support clients:

Household Income Policy: This policy allows eligible clients to share accommodations without a reduction in benefit for either client.

New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit and Working Income Supplement: As of October, 1997, low income families with children (including those families on social assistance) are eligible to receive the NB Child Tax Benefit, equivalent to $250 per year per child and delivered monthly via the federal child tax benefit cheque. In addition, low income earners with children are eligible to receive the NB Working Income Supplement, a benefit of up to $250 per year per family.

20. With respect to the negotiations by the Ministerial Council on Social Policy Reform and Renewal mentioned in paragraph 86 or the Report, are the federal and provincial governments committed to restoring legal enforceability of the right to adequate social assistance?

The right to assistance in New Brunswick is established under subsection 3(2) of the Family Income Security Act. This right also existed under the Social Welfare Act and continues to exist, independently of any Federal legislation.
 
 

21. Describe any monitoring procedures established by government as well as non-governmental agencies to measure the effect of the 40% ($6 billion) cut in the amount of cash transferred by the Federal Government for social assistance, health and post-secondary education between April 1995 and the end of fiscal year 1999-2000. What common effects have become evident throughout Canada?

No official monitoring procedures have been established by the government with the specific purpose of measuring the effect of the cut in the amount transferred by the Federal Government for post-secondary education.

University sector

With respect to post-secondary education at the universities, the reduction of Federal transfers was not passed on. For the most part, the Province maintained the funding level to universities. In 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99, the provincial operating grants to New Brunswick universities, allocated by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), were reduced by only 2% each year.

The universities were concerned even with this level of reduction and raised tuition fees - in two instances generating an increase in revenue considerably in excess of the operating grant reduction. This has, as a result, affected student debt load. The MPHEC has just completed a major study on access which identifies a concern that rising tuition fee levels are impinging on the decision of whether or not to pursue university education by students from lower income families.

New Brunswick Community College

With respect to the New Brunswick Community College system, reductions in Federal transfers were felt in the form of elimination of direct-seat purchases for Human Resource Development Canada (HRDC) clients, and in reductions in contract training (complete "blocks" of training, of varying lengths and in various occupational areas, on a full-cost recovery basis).
 
 

Although there has been no "formal" study done on the impact of same, a quick look at these two funding sources indicates a loss of revenue of over $2.5M annually in direct-seat purchases, and gross reductions in contract training of approximately $14M-$15M from 1993-94 to 1997-98. Eighty percent of this reduction can be attributed directly or indirectly to the reductions in federal involvement.

Since 1995 the Province has maintained the level of funding for health, social assistance and post-secondary education. Given the cuts in the amount of cash transferred by the federal government, reduction in funding for other areas of government have been necessary. In addition, efficiency in the delivery of social programs has also been improved through better methods and technology.
 
 

24. Please provide information on any provinces which require participation in workfare? or similar programs and describe the appeal procedures in place with respect to any disentitlement from basic necessities on this ground. Are these programs applied to single parents, and if so, what exceptions apply? Is the Committee correct to assume that these programs would have been illegal under CAP?

Workfare does not exist in New Brunswick.
 
 

25. For province applying a ?work for welfare? scheme, such as Quebec and Ontario, please provide information concerning the application of labour standards, including minimum wage, and any discriminatory criteria that are applied, such as age.

Not applicable.
 
 

27. According to Statistics Canada in 1991 over 40% of people with disabilities received no employment income compared to 18.5% for people without disabilities and the unemployment statistics for people with disabilities are among the highest of all minority groups. What are the steps taken by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to remedy this situation?

In terms of tax policy, New Brunswick has provided a tax credit for vehicles modified to accommodate wheelchairs or auxiliary controls which facilitate the operation of a vehicle by disabled persons.
 
 
 
 

28. Please provide information as to the minimum wage rate in various provinces and territories and any changes in its real value over the last few years. Please indicate how the income from a full time job at minimum wage compares with the poverty line. What do the federal and provincial governments intend to do to ensure that minimum wages are adequate?

Following is a breakdown for different areas of the Province.
Jurisdiction
Income at Minimum Wage 
(min.wage x full-time week) x 52
Low-income cut-off(1) 

(family of four)

Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton
($5.50 x 44) x 52 weeks= $12,584
$27,338
Bathurst, Edmundstom, 

Fredericton

($5.50 x 44) x 52 weeks= $12,584
$24,922
Rural areas
($5.50 x 44) x 52 weeks= $12,584
$21,690
 
 
 

The Department relies on the Minimum Wage Board, (which consists of three employer representatives, three employee representatives, and a chairman,) to ensure that a fair minimum wage is maintained for all New Brunswickers.
 
 

29. Please provide information as to the transformation of women?s work to more precarious forms (part-time, homework, etc.) and the economic consequences of these changes on the poverty of women, particularly young single women with dependant children.

Women in the labour force is an important issue for the Department. There are several items of interest, including(2);

In 1997, women made up 72.3% of all part-time workers in New Brunswick.

! Part-time work has increased over the last decade, especially for young women. For those women aged 15-24, part-time employment now accounts for over half (51%) of all employment, compared to 39% for men the same age.

! Women were more likely than men to choose part-time work because of family or personal reasons, and were more likely than men to choose part-time work because they could not find full-time work. Women also tended to spend more time than men in unpaid child care.

Part-time work usually equates to less earnings, and less benefits. For young women with children, this could mean significant economic consequences. The Department has tried to address these concerns through several initiatives, including;

! Child Care Leave, where the provincial Employment Standards Act was amended to entitle working parents a 12 week child care leave to help them care for a newborn or newly adopted child.

! NB Works program, where parents on social assistance are provided the opportunity to upgrade their education and skills to help them compete on the labour market.

! Summer Mentorship Program for Female Students, where female students are provided the opportunity to be mentored by civil servants working in non-traditional or senior level jobs.

The Department of Labour is represented on the Interdepartmental Committee on the Status of Women, where womens? issues are discussed.
 
 

31. Please provide information regarding the rights of farmers and domestic workers to organize and bargain collectively and identify any changes in provincial labour legislation which has affected these rights. Is there any justification for denying these workers collective bargaining rights accorded to other workers?

There is nothing in our current Provincial labour legislation that prohibits farmers and domestic workers from organizing and bargaining collectively.
 
 

35. Are there provinces in Canada in which a person in need of financial assistance may have such assistance discontinued without a hearing or be denied interim assistance for basic necessities pending a hearing before an impartial adjudicator? Please provide information as to any cases in which this issue has been considered by the court and the positions taken by responding governments in these cases.

Clients or applicants may request a review and appeal of any decision affecting their level of assistance with the exception of emergency items of special need. The appeal is before the Regional Family Income security Appeal Board, an independent quasi judicial tribunal charged with rendering decisions under the Family Income Security Act. The Department has never provide bridging assistance pending the outcome of an appeal hearing.
 
 

36. Please estimate what it costs on average to meet the special needs arising from pregnancy and caring for a newborn, including special dietary needs, etc. Are these special needs provided for in social assistance rates for pregnant women? Please provide information about any changes in these benefits.

The Department of Human Resources Development - New Brunswick does not provide special dietary supplements for pregnant women. However, at 7 months of pregnancy, the mother is eligible for a rate increase to whatever rate applies to the new family size. The Department also provides infant formula for the 5th and 6th months of the baby?s life. Public Health pays for some special formula for children under age 18, and through the Early Childhood Initiatives Program (Department of Health and Community Services), formula is provided for children under 5 months. The Department of Health and Community Services also promotes breastfeeding through various program initiatives.
 
 

37. The Committee has received information that food bank use has continued to increase in Canada and has approximately doubled over the last ten years. Can the Government explain why the number and use of food banks has continued to increase? Does the Government consider the need for food banks in so affluent a country as Canada consistent with article 11 in the Covenant?

While New Brunswick does not promote the use of food banks, it also recognizes that food banks have arisen at the community level to meet a perceived need. The Province funds 49 Community Voluntary Agencies, many of which are food banks, by approximately $1 million per year.
 
 

38. Please provide information as to the number of people paying more than their shelter allowance for housing and indicate whether paying for housing out of money needed for food may lead to hunger in these households.

The Department of Human Resources Development has introduced to the Income Supplement Program to assist families who spend more than 30% of their basic assistance on shelter expenses. This supplement, $90 per month for 6 months of the year and $60 per year for the remainder, goes a long way in assisting families with high shelter expenses.
 
 
 
 

39. What proportion of children who use food banks go hungry and how often do parents go hungry?

There is no recorded official position on this issue.
 
 

40. Explain how school food programs fit into federal and provincial strategies to address hunger and how the government intends to ensure that the dignity of children and their parents is respected in those programs?
 
 

The report of the Commission on Excellence in Education, released in May 1992, recommended that: mothers who are ?young, poor and single have access to good pre-natal care and nutrition? and that ?nutrition programs be made available to children in need as they move through pre-school programs and into the school system?.

Provincial programs delivered through the Department of Health and Community Services which were implemented or enhanced in response to these recommendations include: enhanced Pre- and Post-Natal Screening, the Pre-Natal Nutrition Program (providing nutrition education, counselling and nutrition supplements (milk and vitamin-mineral supplements) for ?at-risk? pregnant women) and the Post-Natal Nutrition Program (providing post-natal nutrition supplements for ?at-risk? breastfeeding mothers and infant formula for up to four months for infants not being breastfed).

Also under Excellence in Education, a sum of $300,000 annually has been budgeted since 1992 for nutrition initiatives within the New Brunswick public school system. These funds have assisted with the implementation or expansion of school-based breakfast and hot-lunch programs in elementary schools. Three follow-up surveys were conducted to evaluate the effect of this initiative on access to nutrition programs specifically for pupils in need.

Planning to ensure sustained benefits from the Excellence monies included:

? establishing a School District Food and Nutrition Committee in each district, responsible for implementation of the Department?s Food and Nutrition Policy (released in 1991 and currently under review) and

? focusing on partnerships with business, communities and the Department of Health and Community Services to meet local needs on a long-term basis.

In February 1992, the School Milk Program was launched in partnership with the New Brunswick Milk Marketing Board and the N.B. Milk Foundation. This partnership with the dairy industry has resulted in an agreement to supply milk to New Brunswick schools at a maximum cost of $0.35 for a 250ml carton of 2% plain or chocolate milk or $0.30 for a 207ml glass. Many schools have added their own initiatives to reduce the cost even further. In addition, over 100 milk coolers were supplied to New Brunswick schools in conjunction with this program.

In 1996, Premier Frank McKenna established the Provincial Advisory Committee on the Enhanced Nutrition Education for New Brunswickers. The mandate of this interdisciplinary working group was to develop and implement a strategy to improve access to nutrition education to low income families. Recent activities have included: organization of a two-day workshop for professionals on food security, completion of a draft of a nutrition education train-the-trainer program, a breastfeeding train-the-trainer program, release of a new Health and Community Services policy statement on breastfeeding and establishment of a provincial breast-feeding advisory committee. Breastfeeding is the most important guarantee of food security.

An ongoing, supportive relationship between Health and Community Services and Education has resulted in the organization of an annual, province-wide school health campaign as well as work within individual schools.

Key strategies in Canada?s national nutrition plan document (Nutrition for Health: An Agenda for Action, 1996) are being considered by the Department of Education.

Our schools use varied approaches to ensuring that the dignity of pupils and parents is maintained. Generally, when lunch and breakfast programs are established, these serve all pupils. In some cases, pupils who are not able to pay for food have the opportunity to earn money through employment at the school. In other schools, nutritious snacks are made available to any pupil who is hungry; due to financial need or otherwise. Some schools have developed partnerships with community groups and are able to routinely supply snacks at recess time to all pupils.
 
 

42. Please provide information on any disparities between Aboriginal housing and other housing with respect to piped water, flush toilets, need for repairs and other indicators of adequacy.

The provincial government does not have responsibility for housing on Indian reserves; see the federal response regarding on-reserve housing. With regard to housing for Aboriginal people who do not live on Indian reserves, the provincial Department of Municipalities and Housing does target the off-reserve Aboriginal population in the delivery of its social housing programs. Program delivery for this component of the provincial social housing programs is carried out by an Aboriginal housing agency.
 
 
 
 

44. According to information provided to the Committee from Statistics Canada, the percentage of government expenditure on housing has declined since 1993. There has been extensive media coverage of a growing crisis of homelessness in Toronto, Vancouver and elsewhere, emphasizing primarily charity-based efforts to address the problems. Is the Government applying the ?maximum of available resources? to eliminating homelessness and does it agree that guaranteeing the right to housing is a core responsibility of governments and a matter of the highest priority?

The purpose of housing legislation and the principles upon which it is founded continues to be based on the following premise: to ensure that Canadians in all parts of the country have equitable access to suitable and adequate shelter at a price they can afford.

Housing in Canada is primarily provided through the private market system. Households access housing either through purchase of property or access of rental accommodation leased from private owners. Both forms of tenure are protected under provincial legislation relating to property and civil rights. Within the private housing market, the role of government housing policy has been primarily to assist and facilitate the effective functioning of the private market. In this regard, programs have been developed by the province to stimulate private construction and to assist potential owners in accessing sufficient down payment requirements in order to obtain conventional mortgage financing. Where the private market system has been unable to meet the need then programs for assisted housing have been developed.

In 1994 federal and provincial budgets for new social housing development were constrained at existing levels, with a few exceptions. New Brunswick continues to fund new commitments under the Rent Supplement and Basic Shelter programs and in 1997 signed the Social Housing Agreement transferring full responsibility of the federal and provincial social housing portfolio to the province.

New Brunswick also continues to cost share and deliver the RRAP program to households in need. A specific allocation has been identified to rehabilitate existing rooming house accommodation, a stock which typically houses individuals at risk of homelessness.
 
 

48. According to the 1996 Report of the National Council of Welfare (Poverty Profile 1996), 91.3% of families led by single-parent mothers under 25 live below the level of poverty. Child poverty is at a 17 year high of 20.9% meaning that nearly 1.5 million children live in poverty in Canada. Although the last recession ended in 1991, poverty rates have risen steadily since then. Please provide to the Committee the most up to date information on single parents, children, people with disabilities and Aboriginal people and explain how this unacceptable situation has been allowed to occur?

The National Council of Welfare use Statistics Canada?s Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) as their official measure of poverty. Given that Statistics Canada itself does not recognize these cut-offs as poverty lines per se, New Brunswick does not either.

Following are the applicable statistics for New Brunswick?s social assistance caseload (July 1998):

Single Parents 10,993

Children 0-17yrs 23,734

Certified Blind or Disabled 5,942
 
 

50. What measures did the federal and provincial governments take to follow up on the recommendations of the Committee in 1993 to reduce the gap between welfare rates and the poverty line? Has this gap been reduced? If not, what is the explanation for the government?s failure to address this pressing need during a time of relative economic prosperity?

Since 1996, the disposable income for one- and two-parent families on social assistance has exceeded the increase in the Consumer Price Index for food clothing and shelter. This represents a modest improvement for these families.
 
 

51. It has been reported that in Canada, close to one in four persons with disabilities lives below the poverty lone. What are the steps being taken by the federal, provincial and territorial government to remedy this situation?

HRD-NB recognizes that disabled persons have special requirements and expenses that do not apply to the rest of the population. To that end, the Department has introduced an exemption to the Household Income Policy for clients designated Blind or Disabled or who meet the eligibility criteria for long term designation. This allows these individuals to pool resources without having their individual cheques reduced.

The Department continues to provide education, employment and training opportunities for disabled clients to become ready to pursue career goals through the TESS (Training and Employment Support Services Program).

Provincially, issues concerning persons with disabilities are addressed through the Premier?s Council on the Status of Disabled Persons. The Council reports, and advises, directly to the Premier on these issues, and promotes areas which include the prevention of disabling conditions and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The Department of Labour offers Employment Services for Persons with Disabilities. These services include researching and developing marketing strategies to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in New Brunswick's labour force. Specifically, we provide a data bank of qualified candidates and consultation services for employers, as well as employment counselling, referrals and placements for persons with disabilities. We have also established a website at http://www.gnb.ca/aelempl-va-hv.
 
 

52. What are the implications of removing civil legal aid from federal-provincial cost-sharing which was previously under CAP? Do restrictions on civil legal aid deny the right to benefit from effective remedies in the case of violation of their economic and social rights or result in a ?hierarchy of rights? with respect to access to justice?

New Brunswick did not qualify for CAP funding because our Domestic Legal Aid Program has no financial criteria. However, the scope of the Program could be made broader if funds were available.

53. In 1993 the Government informed the Committee that section 7 of the Charter at least guaranteed that people are not to be deprived of basis necessities and may be interpreted to include rights under the Covenant, such as rights under article 11. Is that still the position of all governments in Canada?

This is still the position of the Government of New Brunswick.
 
 

55. The Committee understands that a high percentage of discharged psychiatric patients are ending up homeless. Please provide as accurate evidence as is available in relation to this problem and explain what is being done to address it.

Patients are either discharged from the psychiatric hospital setting or from the psychiatric units of the region hospital corporations.

Patients discharged from the psychiatric hospital setting undergo a screening and evaluation process to ensure their needs are appropriately being met at the location where they will reside in the future. According to the Discharge Report from one of the two psychiatric hospitals for April 1, 1993 to March 31, 1998, the discharge breakdown is as follows: 70% of patients were discharged to a Residential Facility, 12% were deceased, 6% returned to a family member or relative, 5% were discharged to another hospital, 3% were discharged to some other location, and 3% were discharged to a community residence.

Psychiatrists are responsible for discharging patients who are admitted to the hospital psychiatric units.

An initiative is currently underway by the Mental Health Services Division to ensure mental health workers from the community sector are involved in the admitting and discharge processes at the hospital. The mental health worker would be involved at the point of entry (Emergency Department) to assess and redirect the patient to a community mental health centre, where appropriate. Also, the mental health worker would be involved in the discharge of patients from the hospitals? psychiatric units to ensure appropriate services are in place once discharged.

New Brunswick is a relatively small province whose population is primarily living in rural areas or small to medium-sized cities. This, in addition to the fact that almost 50% of the total mental health resources are devoted to community programs, facilitates the identification, assessment, and follow-up with the at-risk groups such as the homeless.
 
 
 
 

56. Please provide any information available on the particular health problems of the homeless, including tuberculosis rates and identify any barriers faced by the homeless in getting access to appropriate health care.

No data available.
 
 
 
 

57. To what extent is increased reliance on expensive drug therapy for HIV/AIDS and other illnesses eroding universal access to healthcare? Will programs such as pharmacare be introduced to cover drug cost?

The Department of Health and Community Services provides prescription drug coverage to those New Brunswickers who can least afford the cost of medications. This program, the Prescription Drug Program (PDP), provides coverage to the following groups of individuals:

- senior citizens who receive Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or who will qualify for benefits based on annual income;

- nursing home residents;

- clients of Human Resources Development - New Brunswick;

- children in care of the Minister;

- eligible individuals registered with the PDP:

C who have cystic fibrosis;

C are organ transplant recipients;

C require human growth hormone; or

C who are HIV positive.
 
 

58. What steps are being taken in Canada to ensure that changes in health service delivery do not adversely affect the most vulnerable groups in society?

The Department of Health and Community Services has developed a Corporate Plan which guides program development and modification. The Vision of the Corporate Plan speaks to the commitment of the department to the well-being of New Brunswickers. The department also adheres to the following eight principles:

The department will:

C provide services consistent with available resources:

C be efficient and effective in fulfilling its mission;

C provide services which are appropriate to need;

C implement selective programming;

C provide programs on an equitable basis;

C adopt a provincial planning framework with decentralized delivery;

C provide a coordinated approach to planning, design and delivery of programs and services; and

C be results-oriented.

59. The Committee has received information that between 1990 and 1995, the average tuition fees for post-secondary education rose by 62% in real terms. The average student debt at graduation seems to have tripled since 1990. What are the steps taken to ensure that post-secondary education remains equally accessible to all, regardless of income?

Tuition Fees:

Since 1990, New Brunswick?s average tuition fee increase is 60%. Most of the increases have taken place in the last 3 years which coincides with an annual 2% reduction in provincial operating grant to universities.

The Government has no legislative authority over university tuition fees. During the period 1990-1995, tuition fees were stable following consultation between the universities and government.

Average student debt load:

Graduates of: 1990 - $12,010

1991 - $12,200

1992 - $12,330

1993 - $12,550

1994 - $12,850

1995 - $13,610

1996 - $14,410

Projected: 1997 - $15,073

1998 - $15,766

1999 - $16,491

2000 - $17,250

2001 - $18,044

2005 - $21,600

Measures to Address Equitable Access to Post-Secondary Education:

A major review of accessibility has been undertaken by the Maritimes Higher Education Commission (November 1997). This study indicated there is a widening gap in growth in post-secondary participation rates according to socio-economic background. Persons from lower income backgrounds are having increased problems accessing post-secondary education.

Actions being taken include:

? The Province is engaged in on-going discussions with Human Resources Development Canada in efforts to create a harmonized federal-provincial single loan product. The seven principles of harmonization developed by the federal government with the provinces are: accessibility for students in need/informed choice; quality and equity of service to students; partnerships and shared responsibility of stakeholders; portability across educational institutions, respecting principles of accreditation, at least within Canada; results-based accountability; affordability for governments and student borrowers combined with administrative efficiency; and, assistance for borrowers experiencing financial difficulties during repayment.

? New Brunswick is cooperating with the federal government on establishing the Canada Millennium Fund. The purpose of the Canada Millennium Scholarships is to increase access to post-secondary education for more low and middle income Canadians. A $2.5 billion dollar fund has been established that will generate approximately $325 million dollars a year for scholarships. This will translate into more than 100,000 scholarships averaging $3,000 a year, for full- and part-time students. Individuals can receive up to $15,000 over a maximum of four academic years of study towards undergraduate degrees, diplomas or certificates. It is believed that these scholarships will significantly reduce the recipients? debt load.

Scholarships will be awarded to individuals who need help financing their studies and who demonstrate merit. Scholarships will begin to be awarded in the year 2000.

The Foundation?s goals are to award scholarships to individuals in a manner that avoids duplication in any province, to build on existing provincial needs assessment processes, to complement existing provincial programs and, most importantly, to significantly increase access to post-secondary education everywhere in Canada for low- and middle-income students.

Student organizations and provincial\territorial governments have indicated that the Millennium Scholarships should be primarily needs-based and integrated into the overall framework of student financial assistance programs.

? Student aid is available to post-secondary students in the form of Canada Student Loans, Provincial Student Loans, Canada Study Grants and provincial bursaries. In the early 1990?s, changes were made to the New Brunswick student aid program, resulting in more student aid being provided by loan rather than by bursary or grant. Because student aid is a need-tested program, those with the highest need get the largest loans. Since then, a sizable increase in student indebtedness has taken place, particularly in high cost programs such as private sector programs where the education or training provider is not supported by operating grants. In December, 1997 New Brunswick announced two measures to address debt:

1. An Income-Based Rebate program to be implemented on August 1, 1999.

2. An Interest Relief program to come into effect on August 1, 1998. New Brunswick has designed its provincial Interest Relief to match the existing federal Interest Relief Plan.

3. A multi-year university funding study is to be completed by fall 1998.
 
 

60. At paragraph 372 of the Report, the Government reports on the results of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) conducted in 1994 in Canada. Almost half of Canadians would appear to lack the minimal literacy skills necessary for coping and managing in such basic activities as, for example, comprehending a bus schedule. Can the Government provide the Committee with an estimate of the number of Canadians who are currently receiving literacy training and describe any strategies that are being considered to deal with this problem?
 
 

In New Brunswick approximately 3,500 - 4,000 adults are receiving literacy (grade 0-9) training each year. Since 1991, twenty thousand (20,000) training opportunities were created for New Brunswickers through the Community Academic Services Program.

In 1991, New Brunswick implemented a provincial community-based literacy initiative. Canada?s first Minister of State for Literacy was appointed and the Community Academic Services program and Literacy New Brunswick Inc. were established. Since 1991, one thousand (1,000) programs have been funded in over 135 communities throughout the province. These programs are made possible through financial and administrative partnerships with the private, volunteer , community and government sectors.

In 1994, a workplace literacy program the Competitive, Recognized and Educated Workforce, CREW was implemented in the mining, farming, fishing, hospitality, service and government sectors. To date over 60 programs have been funded. Programs have also been funded for individuals affected by the moratorium on cod, under The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy, TAGS.

Current activities include continuing with the community-based strategy and the promotion of community and family literacy, literacy-rich workplaces.
 
 

61. What steps have been taken in Canada to extend knowledge of, and respect for, the culture of Aboriginal people?
 
 

The Department of Education has taken the following steps ?to extend knowledge of, and respect for, the culture of Aboriginal people?:

The following legislative and policy initiatives have provided a clear direction for the positive development of Aboriginal education in New Brunswick.

? A provision has been included in the new Education Act which requires the Minister to provide and implement programs and services that ?foster an understanding of Aboriginal history and culture among all pupils? (Paragraph 7(b))

? The ?Policy Statement on Maliseet/Mi'kmaq Education in New Brunswick? states that Aboriginal histories and cultures will be included in the studies taken by New Brunswick students.

More specifically, the following initiatives have been adopted and implemented by the department:

? Native Studies courses are offered at the high school level;

? Maliseet language courses are offered in select public schools;

? Mi'kmaq language course are offered in select public schools;

? Units of study with Aboriginal content are developed or being developed for core subjects;

? Materials (written, audio-video, and computer software packages) with Maliseet and Mi'kmaq content have been and are being developed for use in the schools;

? The development and implementation of the Circle of Understanding Program introduces the Aboriginal perspective into the classrooms by inviting Elders and community members to the public schools;

? In-service sessions and summer institutes (e.g. Cultural Immersion for teachers and administrators of public schools) are provided;

? ?Native Awareness Week? is sponsored at various public schools throughout the school year; and,

? Cultural Immersion Summer Camps are sponsored for Native and non-Native students attending provincial and First Nation schools.

The Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs has developed an educational program for civil servants and the general public that will foster a better understanding of Maliseet and Micmac culture.

Current Status:

C Consultations are being carried with Chiefs and Councils, communities, individuals and provincial department

C Identification of resources and facilities is ongoing

C Public information kits are under development

C A Budget is being prepared.

Background:

This project is designed to promote a better understanding of Maliseet and Micmac culture and issues to the general public and civil servants by making accurate and appropriate information resources on the Maliseet and Micmac communities available to the general public and civil servants.

The benefits of this project include developing greater respect for cultural differences and learning how they affect working relationships with aboriginal peoples: fostering better decision-making in regards to policies and programs that affect Aboriginal people; and enhancing consultative and negotiation processes.

This project desires to develop a more meaningful and respectful relationship with the aboriginal people of New Brunswick.
 
 

73. The maximum amount of welfare that a single person can receive per month in New Brunswick is $277 dollars. (The average cost of housing in Canada is $513 dollars). Is this adequate to find adequate and appropriate housing?

A single person receiving this level of benefit falls within HRD-NB?s Interim Assistance Program. The Interim Assistance Program is designed to provide short-term, time-limited financial benefits for individuals who are in between jobs or who are awaiting Employment Insurance. Interim Assistance is not meant to be long-term financial support and as such, does not provide higher benefits. Single individual who are unable to work are eligible for $485 per month while single disabled individuals receive $558 per month.

1. 0 These figures were also taken from latest version of Statistics Canada=s publication Low Income Cut-offs, for a family of four. The three different totals reflect the different standards of Alow income@ in different areas of residence. Again, these figures are not recognized by the Province of New Brunswick, nor by Statistics Canada, as the Apoverty line,@ for each area, but are only a general figure used to help determine low-incomes in Canada.

2. 0Statistics from Labour Force Historical Review, Statistics Canada, Cat. No. 71f0004xcb, and Canada Labour Force Survey.


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