COLUMN: Bill’s Blog by Bill Horne, MLA

Laker-editorial

November 11th – Remembrance Day

I wish to express my gratitude to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces on this Remembrance Day and honour the memory of those members of the Canadian Forces who gave their all to defend the values and freedom of our Country.

Local Remembrance Day Ceremonies on November 11th:

Beaver Bank (begins at 10:30 a.m.) – Kinsac Cenotaph, corner of Beaver Bank Rd. and Kinsac Rd. – Community Centre/Fire Station property. Reception to follow in the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre.

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Windsor Junction (begins at 11:00 a.m.) – Windsor Junction Cenotaph, Windsor Junction School of Performing Arts on Windsor Junction Rd.

Waverley (begins at 11:00 a.m.) – Royal Canadian Legion, Dieppe # 90, Waverley Branch, 1166 Rocky Lake Dr. Reception to follow in the Waverley Legion.

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Legislation Will Strengthen Enforcement, Collection of Child and Spousal Support

Legislation was introduced that will strengthen the province’s ability to collect court-ordered support payments owed to children and spouses.

Amendments to the Maintenance Enforcement Act will give the Maintenance Enforcement Program increased authority to enforce court orders and expanded powers to locate parents who are regularly behind on their payments. This includes the ability to prohibit the renewal of a non-payor’s drivers licence, more power to obtain identifying information for non-payors, and the ability to serve notices electronically.

More than 28,600 clients and 16,400 children are served by the program.

In 2015-16, more than 53.6 million dollars was collected by the Maintenance Enforcement Program on behalf of families.

A progress report on steps taken over the past year to improve the program and a report, titled What We Heard, from public and stakeholder consultations on proposed amendments can be found at https://mep.novascotia.ca/en/resources.

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Province Eases Student Loan Repayment Assistance Plan Rules

Nova Scotia student loan borrowers using the Repayment Assistance Plan will not have to make payments on their provincial student loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year.

The change will take effect on November 1st. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan says every dollar counts when graduates are beginning their careers. The Repayment Assistance Plan helps borrowers by calculating an affordable payment amount based on their income and family size.

This is one of several steps government has taken to protect the affordability of post-secondary education for Nova Scotia students. Provincial student loans are interest free, and eligible students can get up to $30,000 in non-repayable financial support over a four-year program. For more information visit http://novascotia.ca/studentassistance/.

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Nova Scotians to Have Easier Access to Heating Assistance

Government is making changes to the Heating Assistance Rebate Program that will make it easier and faster for Nova Scotians to apply for and receive their rebate. The 2016-17 program will begin accepting applications on Monday, Oct. 31 and feature a new online application system and direct deposit option. Eligible applicants can receive up to a $200 rebate for heating assistance.

The new online system will allow Nova Scotians to apply for the rebate online, and will allow both those who apply online and by paper form to check the status of their application online in real time. Before now, applicants had to call Service Nova Scotia to ask for an update on their application. Those registered for direct deposit with Canada Revenue Agency can also receive their rebate directly to their bank account. Paper applications will still be available at Access Nova Scotia locations, Community Services’ and MLA offices, or through more than 70 community groups and other locations across the province, and for print online.

Beginning in 2017, the Heating Assistance Rebate Program will move to a fixed launch date. For more information and to apply online, please visit http://www.novascotia.ca/heatinghelp.

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Office Hours in Beaver Bank

I am pleased to host constituency office hours in Beaver Bank at the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre on the second Monday of the month between 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Please drop by with any issues or concerns, or just stop by to chat. The next scheduled meeting is November 14th. Please let me know if you require an evening time to meet and we can set one up.

CONTACT US – Please call my office, 902-576-3411, or drop by at 1265 Fall River Road to discuss any concerns you may have. Our e-mail is billhornemla@gmail.com and you can follow me on twitter @bill_horne_mla .