Covid-19 is top of mind for me and many Nova Scotians. We must celebrate and recognize how well our Province and residents have done when responding to this global pandemic, relative to other jurisdictions. We must also recognize the work our health care professionals have done and that of our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang.
During my time as the Minister of Labor and Advanced Education, I worked closely with Dr. Strang to safely bring in 4,000 international students earlier this year. These actions ensured that we did not unnecessarily bring COVID-19 back into the province. Throughout my campaign, I have been working to ensure that we continue to support Nova Scotians through COVID-19 and plan the post pandemic economic recovery.
A Vaccine for Nova Scotians
Currently the Federal government is responsible for procuring and distributing vaccines throughout Canada. We anticipate that in early 2021, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will become available in the province.
There will be national guidelines in place to ensure that the most vulnerable Nova Scotians receive assistance first. As Premier, I will ensure we work with Dr. Strang to administer these vaccines as quickly and broadly as possible.
Supporting Nova Scotians Through COVID-19
As Premier, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to support Nova Scotians and our economy to make it through COVID-19 and emerge from this pandemic without lasting economic damage. If we do not take all necessary steps, Nova Scotians may be out of work or see reduced working hours long-term. Further, small businesses could fail and never return.
Economic and Small Business Recovery
As Premier, I am committed to returning to the record low unemployment levels that we had pre-COVID-19. I am also committed to the return of record tourism which we have seen steadily increase year-over-year pre-pandemic. All of this will be accomplished with the input of stakeholders and community groups, along with strategic investment in several services and sectors.
Previously I announced a $60 million dollar investment for a small business tax credit. This relief over the next year will ensure small businesses can withstand COVID-19, keep people employed, and pay their taxes to municipalities.