Budget cuts affect non-profits
The volunteer and nonprofit sectors are among many of the departments affected by cuts in the provincial budget.
Cuts include the indefinite budget suspension of the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), the cessation of the Community Spirit Program, and the funding reduction of $7.7 million for the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP).
“We are effected by the suspension of the STEP program,” says Town of St. Paul CAO Ron Boisvert. “It eliminates four positions of work this summer. We’d have to check with managers to see if they need or will hire students, and if so, where it’ll come out of the budget now that we won’t be getting funding from the STEP program.”
Also, “The cuts to the CFEP would effect recreation. They are the department who deals with and applies for funding the most. The cuts would hinder the non-profits,” says Boisvert. “The town has to go through non-profits to get money from the CFEP; they can’t apply themselves. All associated groups who could apply will be affected.”
Boisvert expressed relief that the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) is being maintained and not reduced this year. MSI is a very important source of financial aid to the volunteer departments of municipalities when assistance is needed, like in the construction of arenas or baseball diamonds.
The St. Paul Boys and Girls Club is disappointed by the budget cuts.
“We rely on government funding, because we’re a nonprofit,” says Executive Director Sylvie Proteau. “It’ll be more challenging to operate. We rely on the STEP-funded students in the summer.”
The STEP program is particularly important to groups like the Boys and Girls cub because it gives them opportunities to bring potential permanent employees in to work for the summer, and train them during their temporary terms of employment, explains Proteau. Now that the funding for the program is suspended, that will limit the Boys and Girls Club’s ability to train and recruit employees in such a manner.
Just as important to the Girls and Boys Club is the support it receives from CFEP.
“We rely on facility enhancement as well. It’s good they didn’t completely get rid of that,” says Proteau.
Over the last few years, the Boys and Girls Club used funds from CFEP to renovate its building to house a daycare and construct a park behind the building. Heating and other amenities were upgraded using CFEP funds as well.
“The things we needed to do were more financially feasible with the assistance of facility enhancement. We hope to get further assistance from that source to help get a new roof for our building,” says Proteau.
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