Amendments to the Special Places Protection Act were passed in the House of Assembly on Monday, May 16. The changes make it easier to designate nature reserves for Nova Scotians to enjoy. “Passing these amendments will help us meet commitments in our green plan to protect more of Nova Scotia’s natural environment,” said Kerry Morash, Minister of Environment and Labour. “They’ll make it easier for us to designate new nature reserves that Nova Scotians will enjoy for generations to come.” Nature reserves preserve and protect typical and special ecosystems, plants and animals. They also offer research and education opportunities. The province has 11 nature reserves totalling 3,180 hectares. With the amendments, management plans are no longer required before nature reserves are designated. Instead, management plans will be developed as necessary, such as for highly visited nature reserves that may need special measures for protection. The amendments re-establish the special places advisory committee with an updated membership structure. The committee will provide advice on all aspects of nature reserves. It is no longer required to help develop management plans. Instead, the committee will assist when requested. “These changes streamline our process for designation,,” said Mr. Morash. “This simpler approach is much more attractive to land owners who are interested in offering their natural treasures to be protected as nature reserves for Nova Scotians to enjoy.” About 8.2 per cent of land in Nova Scotia is protected through the combined efforts of the provincial and federal governments, and organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. All of Nova Scotia’s nature reserves are described on the department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/pareas .
Nova Scotians are being encouraged to permanently cut their energy bills and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through an information campaign launched today, Oct. 10. The province’s energy-efficiency agency, Conserve Nova Scotia, launched the campaign to coincide with home renovation month. The campaign will feature the Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program. “Thirty-nine per cent of homeowners intend to make energy-efficient improvements to their home this year,” said Minister responsible for Conserve Nova Scotia, Bill Dooks. “This campaign is designed for homeowners already considering upgrades and those who may not have considered them yet. The EnerGuide program allows homeowners to make better energy-efficiency decisions based on unbiased recommendations from certified energy advisors.” Homeowners in the EnerGuide program can cut energy bills by up to 30 per cent and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 4.6 tonnes, on average. Mr. Dooks said the program is one way government is working towards a environmentally sustainable province. “Energy efficiency is one of the most effective tools individuals have to cut greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Mr. Dooks. “Increasing participation in the EnerGuide for Houses program will contribute to our goal of having one of the cleanest and most sustainable environments in the world by 2020.” The Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program was revised in April to coincide with the federal government’s ecoENERGY Home Energy Retrofit program. Under the program, homeowners can qualify for a maximum of $6,500 in rebates. The maximum provincial rebate is $1,500. Based on previous energy-efficiency programs, the combined provincial and federal average rebate is $1,600. Actual amounts depend on the work completed on the home. The information campaign will be featured in radio, print and cable television. More information, including a rebate guide, is available at www.itstartswithme.ca. Under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, Nova Scotia has a goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 to at least 10 per cent below 1990 levels.
The efforts of occupational safety, health and environmental professionals to protect Nova Scotians from workplace injury and illness were recognized today, May 7. Nova Scotia is marking the inaugural national Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day, which will be held annually on the Wednesday of North American Occupational Health and Safety Week. “Nova Scotia has come a long way toward creating a safe work culture,” said Mark Parent, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. “Today provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of occupational safety and health professionals in Nova Scotia,” Mr. Parent said. “Through their continued dedication to ensuring safer workplaces, the quality of life for workers in this province is being improved.” May 4-10 is North American Occupational Health and Safety Week. This year’s theme, Start Today! Live It Every Day!, draws attention to the need to focus on preventing workplace injury and illness everyday. For more information on occupational health and safety in Nova Scotia and to protect yourself at work, see the department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/healthandsafety .
Les mises en candidature sont invitées pour la nouvelle Médaille de la bravoure de la Nouvelle-Écosse. La médaille sera décernée à des personnes qui ont risqué leur bien-être pour protéger la vie ou les biens d’une autre personne. « Ce prix reconnaît les personnes qui se sont retrouvées dans des situations extraordinaires et qui ont réagi avec grand courage, » a dit le premier ministre Rodney MacDonald. « Elle rendra hommage aux personnes qui, face au danger, ont choisi d’agir. » Tout Néo-Écossais peut être mis en candidature pour le prix; il n’est pas limité aux personnes des secteurs du maintien de l’ordre et de la sécurité publique. Les formulaires de mise en candidature sont disponibles aux centres Accès Nouvelle-Écosse de la province. Ils sont également disponibles à Province House, aux bureaux des membres de l’Assemblée législative et en ligne sur le site Web de la Médaille de la bravoure à l’adresse www.gov.ns.ca/bravery. La date limite pour les mises en candidature est le 30 juin. Les récipiendaires de la médaille seront choisis par un comité consultatif présidé par Constance Glube, ancienne juge en chef de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Le comité est formé du sous-ministre de la Justice, du commissaire des incendies de la province, du président de l’Association des chefs de police de la Nouvelle-Écosse, du directeur général du Bureau de gestion des urgences, du commandant des Forces maritimes de l’Atlantique, de l’ancien membre de l’Assemblée législative Wayne Adams, et de M. John Cody. Pour plus d’information, communiquez avec Sharon Mitchell au ministère de la Justice au 424-0094 ou par courriel à l’adresse firstname.lastname@example.org. Vous pouvez aussi consulter le www.gov.ns.ca/bravery. Les formulaires de mise en candidature remplis doivent être envoyés au :Secrétaire provincial, Médaille de la bravoureMinistère de la Justice4e étage, 5151 chemin TerminalHalifax (N.-É.) B3J 2L6
PICTOU COUNTY: Route 256 Route 256, from Route 376 west for about three kilometres, will be reduced to one lane for paving from until Friday, Sept. 16. Traffic control is on site. Work takes place from dawn to dusk. Local Area Office: 902-893-5776 -30-
Starting Wednesday, May 9, drivers, cyclists, and truckers will enjoy the new, two-lane bridge over the Tusket River on Highway 3. “We appreciate the patience of drivers in the Tusket area during the construction of this bridge,” said Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “Road safety is always our prime concern and this new bridge will serve Yarmouth County well for many decades.” Work on the $3.8-million bridge began last fall. A dry spring allowed the bridge approaches to be completed this month as scheduled. The new bridge is 81 metres long and carries two lanes of traffic. The previous bridge had one lane. The department’s highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Government’s commitment to repairing rural roads is outlined in Nova Scotia’s 5-Year Highway Improvement Plan www.gov.ns.ca/tran/highways/5yearplan/Plan_2012-13.pdf .
Thousands of Nova Scotians will soon have better access to a family doctor. Twelve new family doctors have begun, or will soon start, seeing patients in several communities, including Yarmouth, Kentville, Elmsdale, Pugwash, Springhill, Parrsboro, Annapolis Royal, Berwick and Musquodoboit Harbour. “Too many Nova Scotians have had to wait too long to see a family doctor or go to their emergency department for basic care because they had no other choice,” said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. “Improving access to family doctors and other health care providers is an important part of our commitment to provide better care sooner.” This is welcome news for communities like Yarmouth that have experienced challenges with recruiting and retaining family doctors. “This is positive news for people in our community who do not currently have a family doctor and makes our area more attractive for families and businesses looking to relocate here,” said Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney. “The people of Yarmouth and surrounding areas look forward to welcoming these new physicians to our community and helping them feel at home.” The province’s recently released physician resource plan identified several ways to improve patient access to care through better planning and management. The province is working with district health authorities and other partners to increase the number of family doctors in rural areas. Some of the initiatives include expanding the Family Medicine Residency Training Program to the Annapolis Valley and more agreements that provide funding for medical education in exchange for a doctor’s commitment to work in a community in need. “Through these and other programs such as relocation allowances, debt assistance and our new emergency department coverage program, government is working to ensure Nova Scotia has the doctors it needs where it needs them,” said Mr. Wilson. “Our new collaborative emergency centres have also proven to be a valuable recruitment tool, with many doctors expressing interest in working in communities with CECs.” Dr. Alireza Shakib said the chance to be part of the All Saints Collaborative Emergency Centre was a positive opportunity. “When I was making my decision on where I would like to work, the idea of being part of the new CEC team was very attractive,” said Dr. Shakib, who recently began his family practice in Springhill. “Because the clinic is open evenings, we do work longer hours, but that means there are more appointments available for patients. Also, doctors do not have to work at night as there are paramedics and nurses providing emergency coverage.” Dr. Shakib is one of eight family doctors who recently accepted offers under the Clinician Assessment for Practice Program. The program assesses clinical skills of international medical graduate physicians to enter family practice without residency training in Canada. Two doctors will be in Yarmouth, with others in Kentville, Elmsdale, Pugwash, Springhill, Parrsboro and Musquodoboit Harbour. They will have guidance from an experienced physician mentor and are expected to begin seeing patients over the next few months. “We know it can be difficult for some areas of the province to recruit family doctors and are pleased that this program is helping to meet a growing need,” said Dr. Gus Grant, registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, which operates the program in partnership with the district health authorities, Doctors Nova Scotia and the Department of Health and Wellness. “Since we introduced it in 2005, the program has brought 57 new physicians to underserved communities in Nova Scotia.” Four other doctors recently began practicing in Annapolis Royal, Berwick, Musquodoboit Harbour and Springhill in the exchange for education program. In addition to these 12, five more family medicine residents are committed when they complete their residencies in 2013. For more information on the province’s Better Care Sooner and Physician Resource Plans, visit www.novascotia.ca/dhw.
Atlantic premiers are working together to strengthen the regional economy and create jobs, while providing training opportunities for Atlantic Canadians. Premier Darrell Dexter chaired the meeting and was joined by New Brunswick Premier David Alward, Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale. For a detailed news release on the meeting, go to www.cap-cpma.ca and follow the Newsroom link. -30-
Warmer weather means busier roads, not only with more drivers but also with more construction crews working hard to maintain and improve the province’s roads. Starting Monday, May 13, the province, in cooperation with the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association, is running an ad campaign to remind motorists to watch their speed and be considerate of workers when passing through road construction zones. “We’re investing millions this year in building and upgrading our highways,” said Maurice Smith, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “Our work crews need to be able to concentrate 100 per cent on their jobs and not have to worry about drivers speeding through their work zone.” “The Nova Scotia Road Builders Association has partnered with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on the work zone safety campaign for more than ten years,” said Andrew Lake, president of the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association. “The program successfully delivers the message that motorists have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our highway workers.” In Nova Scotia, fines are doubled and demerit points are assigned to drivers’ records for speeding in work zones. The fines, including court costs, range from $342 for a first offence to $2,412 for a third offence. This summer road work is part of the province’s 5-Year Highway Improvement Plan and the jobsHere economic development plan to create jobs and improve highway infrastructure for residents, visitors, businesses, and industries. The province has invested more than $1.1 billion in capital highway construction since 2009. The 5-Year Highway Improvement plan is available at www.gov.ns.ca/tran.
The Department of Environment issued a precautionary boil water advisory today, Feb. 3, for Chester. The advisory is for homes and businesses within the boundaries of Central Street to Water Street and from Union Street to South Street. Bacteria was found through routine testing of a dug well on Pleasant Street. Further investigation determined that a sewage line break led to bacteria in the well, which has since been repaired. The bacteria can come from human or animal feces that gets into lakes, rivers and water supplies. To make sure water is safe in potentially affected areas, it needs to be boiled for at least one minute before it can be used for drinking, preparing infant formula, making juices or ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking or brushing teeth. If boiling water is not possible, people should use bottled water. Learn more http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/water/privatewells.asp . The department is also testing the drinking water supply and monitoring the quality of ground water in the area. People will be notified when the boil advisory is lifted.
FOR BROADCAST USE Nova Scotians are invited to help shape new legislation to better protect the rights of vulnerable people under adult guardianship orders. Under Nova Scotia’s previous legislation, capacity to make decisions was an all-or-nothing condition and didn’t recognize that individuals may be able to make their own decisions in many areas of their lives. The new legislation will protect the rights of all adults to autonomy and self-determination, set out the duties and responsibilities of guardians and establish safeguards for individuals who are under guardianship orders. A number of stakeholders will have input into helping modernize the legislation. The province will replace the previous legislation with a modern guardianship law in the spring of 2017. -30- Nova Scotians are invited to help shape new legislation to better protect the rights of vulnerable people under adult guardianship orders. “We all want to live in a province where the rights of every Nova Scotian are respected,” said Justice Minister Diana Whalen. “This consultation is an excellent opportunity to listen to and take advice from the public, stakeholders and families who want their loved ones to be safe while having the maximum freedom possible.” The consultation will involve face-to-face meetings and input through an online survey. The survey is available at http://novascotia.ca/adultguardianship/. The deadline for submitting comments is Nov. 30. A guardianship order is a court order that appoints a person to make decisions for someone who is not capable of making decisions on their own. Under Nova Scotia’s previous legislation, capacity to make decisions was an all-or-nothing condition and did not recognize that individuals may be able to make their own decisions in many areas of their lives. The province will replace the previous legislation with a modern guardianship law in the spring of 2017. The new legislation will protect the rights of all adults to autonomy and self-determination, set out the duties and responsibilities of guardians and establish safeguards for individuals who are under guardianship orders. Targeted consultations are taking place with key stakeholders from the health, social services and legal sectors, as well as seniors, the disabled community and families with loved ones under guardianship orders. The province is especially interested in hearing from individuals with family members under guardianship orders, both past and present. Families who wish to participate in a focus group can contact Allyson O’Shea at 902-424-6094 or by email at email@example.com. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ruled last spring that certain provisions of the previous legislation infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court gave government one year to bring in updated legislation.