Cancelled Multicultural Festival still getting public money

Nova Scotia’s Labour Department isn’t pulling funding for staff working on the cancelled Multicultural Festival.

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On Monday a board member with the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia confirmed that the June festival is cancelled but that the board is hoping to reschedule it for later in the year. Debbie Phinney said the association is going through a transition as it deals with financial problems and moves office spaces.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan says the four staff paid for through a grant are working from home during the transition.

“Of course we would be keeping an eye, making sure that they are getting the kind of supervision and coaching that we would expect from a work placement,” she said.

The association was given $6,320 in order to hire eight people who were to help “plan, develop, and organize events” as part of the festival, Labour Department spokesperson Andrew Preeper said. Each of those placements is for a 15-week work term.

Ultimately the association only hired four staff members in early April, so some of the money won’t be given to the association. The placements will end in late June or early July.

Community, Culture, and Heritage Department cut off funding

The association was cut off from its main source of government funding last year by the Communities, Culture and Heritage Department. Spokesperson Krista Higdon said the funding was pulled because the association didn’t provide the necessary financial information.

WATCH: Halifax Multicultural Festival cancelled 

In the last four years, it’s been granted more than $60,000 from the department. However, only $30,000 of the disbursement was given last year before the funding was cut.

Regan says her department still provided the funding to the association this year because it met all of her department’s documentation requirements.

“They provided the kind of documentation that we require, to be able to give them the money,” Regan said.

She said the fact that one department pulled funding toward a festival that another department supported doesn’t pose a problem because they’re for different programs. The Communities, Culture and Heritage Department funding was for operational needs, while the funding from the Labour Department flows through from the Job Creation Partnership.

The association will have more to say about the future of the festival later this week, Phinney said Monday.