Did you know that New Brunswick is considerably more dependent on the old age security (OAS) program than Canada as a whole? NB generates about 1.9 percent of national employment income but receives 2.7 percent of the national OAS distribution.
We are also more reliant on EI payments – double the national average.
We also have more demand on our health care system because of a) an older than average population and b) higher incidences of chronic health conditions, obesity, etc.
We are a major user of the federal equalization program.
What do all these have in common?
They are all targeted for cuts/modifications by the federal government in the near future.
I have said that the feds will need to balance their budget and any cuts will fall harder on provinces that are more reliant on federal transfers. In the longer term, changes to health care funding and federally funded pension programs will also bite harder in places like New Brunswick.
Don’t misinterpret this. It’s just data. If we need to reform OAS, so be it. If we need to reform EI, let’s get to the table. Most people agree that the health care system cannot continue to chew up an increasing share of national tax dollars.
My point is these things will inevitable hit places like New Brunswick hardest and it would behoove the provincial government (and hopefully the feds) to think about this.