2023 Fall Capital Budget Address

Le contenu suivant est seulement disponible en anglais.

Good Afternoon, Bonjour, Kwe.

Madam Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House today to share the Government of Prince Edward Island’s capital budget for 2024-2025.

This budget is about reinvesting in Prince Edward Island.

It’s about appreciating our province for all that we have and asking ourselves now what can we do to make our Island even better?

With some thoughtful and intentional investments, while keeping fiscal affordability in mind, this is our vision of where we want to go.

This budget I’m presenting today includes investments of $368.8 million for 2024-2025, with a five-year total of $1.3 billion.

Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to share with my colleagues the capital budget investments that will take Prince Edward Island to the next level.

Transforming Healthcare

It’s no secret that healthcare is at the top of everyone’s minds.

Healthcare is one of the many things that ties us together as Islanders. We all need it throughout our lives. 

To address the challenges of the current system, I think we can all agree that we have to do things differently – and that’s what our government has been doing for quite some time. 

To give a nod to Einstein, we can’t keep trying to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. It just won’t work.

Instead, our government focuses on being forward-thinking, creative, adaptive and collaborative when it comes to healthcare.

A perfect example of doing things differently is the Mental Health and Addictions Campus. 

This ongoing investment to implement the master plan for building a more responsive and accessible mental health, addiction and substance use service for Islanders is nearing the finish line.
Design and construction continues on the various components of the campus project. This includes the new QEH mental health and addictions emergency department and short stay unit, and the new acute care hospital and life skills centre. 

Over the next four years, we will invest $167 million into the campus, bringing one of the biggest capital investments in our province’s history to an end that will serve Islanders well into the future.

Another project in progress is the UPEI Medical School. 

When medical students practice in our province, we need to ensure they have not only a place to learn, but also a place to live.

That is why our government will be investing $17.5 million over five years to create learning and staffing spaces at the QEH and PCH, and a new building near the QEH for resident accommodations and programming.

When we talk about reimagining healthcare in our province, patient medical homes will play a key role in enabling collaborative teamwork and providing better access to care for Islanders.

We know this modern method is working, we just need to keep the momentum going.

With $57 million over 5 years, we will continue implementing Patient Medical Homes across PEI to improve healthcare access for Islanders. Construction is underway at sites in Summerside and Charlottetown, with planning underway for a secondary site in Charlottetown, and another in Three Rivers.

Madam Speaker, when I spoke earlier about valuing and appreciating what our province currently has to offer, our Island hospitals and the medical professionals who work within them certainly deserve that recognition.

They treat patients with the utmost care each and every day. 

We need to do everything we can to not only maintain this quality of service for Islanders but enhance it to ensure our hospitals serve well into the future.

With $125.5 million over five years, we are focused on continuing improvements for healthcare facilities across our province. This includes a new KCMH in Three Rivers and QEH redevelopment, ventilation upgrades at QEH and long-term care facilities, roof replacements and various enhancements required to ensure that clients and staff continue to have access to services in safe and appropriate locations. 

This investment also includes improved building controls, and electrical and air handling units at the QEH to ensure the facility is prepared for future expansions.

Madam Speaker, these investments are also made possible by the continued support of the hospital foundations across the province, which totals an estimated $31 million over five years.

Lastly, to modernize and digitize our healthcare system, we will be investing $18.3 million in technology enhancements that will support our hospital information systems, mental health and addictions medical records and long-term care solutions for residents. This also includes funding to support the community pharmacies accessing electronic medical records as part of the Pharmacy Plus PEI program.

Addressing Housing

Now let’s talk about another very popular H word in our province these days: housing.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, our government is committed to tackling the housing crisis in Prince Edward Island.

We’ve demonstrated this commitment not only through investments, but also through actions we’ve taken since 2019.

Actions like constructing 157 public affordable housing units to support Islanders on the housing registry, supporting home ownership through the Down Payment Assistance Program, Rent to Own and the soon to come Closing Cost Housing Program, and providing grants to our valued developers who are joining our efforts in confronting the housing crisis through the Affordable Housing Development Program, the Housing Challenge Fund, and the HST rebate on new rental builds that our government announced on October 3rd, just to name a few.

When times get tough Madam Speaker, we don’t look away and pretend it’s not an issue.

Our government has proven we can handle challenges, just look at the past three years. We’ve tackled challenges head on and worked quickly to respond to them.

Housing is a human right. Addressing the housing crisis needs to come from a place of compassion. Every Islander should have a roof over their head and a safe place to sleep, and that’s what we’re working to do.

But the solution isn’t simple. It takes much effort by many people from government, businesses, non-profit organizations and the list goes on. However, by sharing a common goal of solving this crisis once and for all, we’re on track to doing so. 

With an investment of $12 million over five years, we will create a 25-bed emergency shelter in Summerside, support the relocation of the Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown and start work at Smith Lodge to add 13 more supportive housing beds.

With a significant investment of $176 million over five years, we will purchase or build an additional 95 social and affordable housing units, for a total of 560 units, which includes developments in the Hillsborough Park area and Malpeque Road.

And of course, it wouldn’t be right to talk about housing without recognizing our valued partnerships with the PEI Construction Association, Holland College and our public schools.

Together, we’re working to build more homes in communities across the province, with an investment of $10.5 million to build an additional 34 units, for a total of 78 units over five years.

Modernizing Schools

Madam Speaker, we know our province’s population is increasing at a rapid pace.

And I know we all have our concerns about how this influx is impacting the province in variable ways, but thoughtful planning and actionable investments can help ease these concerns. 

I’m here to remind members of this Legislative Assembly of the positives that come with a growing population. Our median age continues to drop, and we have more children and youth living on our Island than in recent history.

Madam Speaker, these young Islanders are the future of this province. 

They’re our future healthcare and construction workers, entrepreneurs, teachers, public servants and the list goes on. Some will serve here in this legislature one day. 

We know investing in our young Islanders' education today prepares us for a stronger tomorrow. 

That’s why this capital budget includes $176 million over five years for school expansions and replacements, including Queen Charlotte Intermediate School to add more classrooms and breakout rooms, to initiate a building assessment of Westisle School to determine future upgrade needs, and the completion of the Stratford High School. It also includes honouring our commitment from the 2023 election to start the planning process for a junior high school in Stratford, once consultations with the Public Schools Branch are complete.

I believe we can all agree in this legislature that we are fortunate to have quality schools across the province that are filled with dedicated staff fostering positive learning environments and helping our children reach their full potential. 

So, then the question becomes, what can we do to make our schools even better?

We heard suggestions from our schools, and we listened.

With $22 million over four years, we’re pleased to introduce the new School Revitalization Fund, delivering on yet another commitment made in the last election.

Working with our key stakeholders and families of schools, this new funding will address capital repairs and renovation needs within our current schools to make impactful improvements to school infrastructure that will enhance learning conditions for students and staff.

This capital budget also includes $300,000 to start a pilot program to create outdoor learning spaces that stimulate new educational opportunities and a greater appreciation for our natural environment.

Madam Speaker, we’re on track to meet our commitment of fully electrifying our bus fleet by 2030. To do this, we will allocate $57.6 million over five years to purchase more electric school buses, an increase of $6.3 million over last year. 

Revitalizing and Strengthening Communities 

Madam Speaker, our government believes in leading by example. 

Another way we stay committed to our net zero goals is by revitalizing our government buildings and public housing to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. This budget includes $22.4 million over five years to make necessary improvements.

When Hurricane Fiona came ripping through last year, it was a real wake up call for all of us.

Unpredictability and climate change seem to go hand in hand. What we can do is be prepared for when it happens.

To be ready for what’s to come, we will invest $7.2 million over five years in emergency preparedness to purchase and replace generators at government-owned infrastructure sites and public housing across the province. This budget also includes procuring the necessary emergency equipment to support municipal warming centres such as radios and cots; as well as fire response vehicles and equipment to respond to the potential impacts of forest fires as other areas of our country has seen in recent years.

Our prized Provincial Parks were also greatly impacted by Fiona. The parks suffered heavy tree damage and required extensive clean up before welcoming Islanders and tourists back to enjoy them this year.  

We know how loved these parks are by both Islanders and visitors. We’re pleased to share we’ll be making our parks even more enjoyable by investing $10 million over the next five years to provide new playgrounds, boardwalks, equipment, campsites, and renovations to washrooms and structures. This is delivering on yet another commitment we made to Islanders in the last election.  

And of course, Madam Speaker, it wouldn’t be a capital budget without announcing investments in our roads and bridges. 

These investments help both Islanders and visitors travel from tip to tip of our beautiful province and support economic growth in our communities. 
We will invest $16.1 million, for a new total of $256 million to increase funding for bridge replacements and improvements, as well as provincial-wide paving.


Madam Speaker, this capital budget is about celebrating the province we have today and investing in the possibilities of Prince Edward Island tomorrow.

Our plan was developed with considerations for government's fiscal capacity and sustainability at top of mind. Every investment has been carefully considered and calculated. Each budget line serves a purpose that directly contributes to a better future for our province. 

With an investment of $1.3 billion over the next five years, we’re transforming our healthcare, addressing our housing crisis, modernizing our schools, and revitalizing and strengthening our communities.

There’s so much for us to be proud of in this province. Step by step, this budget will take our province to the next level of where we want to go.

Before I end things, I must take a moment to thank everyone who has contributed to this budget, which of course, includes the taxpayers of Prince Edward Island. This plan is for you, and we hope what you see in this budget is a reflection of what you asked for.

I also want to thank the many professionals in the Department of Finance and throughout government who are committed to ensuring we table the responsible and accurate budget I have presented here today.

Madam Speaker, thank you for your indulgence.

Thank you. Merci. Wela’lin.

Date de publication : 
le 21 Novembre 2023

Renseignements généraux

Ministère des Finances
Immeuble Shaw, 2e étage (sud)
95, rue Rochford
C.P. 2000
Charlottetown (Î.-P.-É.) C1A 7N8

Téléphone : 902-368-4040
Télécopieur : 902-368-6575