McNeil government spends $115K mailing apology letters to seniors

122,000 Nova Scotia seniors receive letter from Premier Stephen McNeil apologizing for 'confusion' over pharmacare program.

122,000 seniors recieve letter apologizing for 'confusion' over pharmacare program

Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine makes no apologies for the $115,000 mail out, he says gets the firm pharmacare facts to the public. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government spent $115,000 to print and mail letters to thousands of seniors in the provincial pharmacare program.

The premier sent 122,000 letters to seniors in the province apologizing for changes the province announced last month that would have seen thousands of seniors' premiums increase.

The letter apologizes for "any confusion or concern" that may have been created after government announced the changes.

The province spent $115,000 to mail apology letters to seniors over pharmacare confusion. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

"Any time you're doing a mail out to 122,000 people, the printing [and] postage is certainly costly. I certainly as minister make no apologies for getting now, the very firm facts in front of Nova Scotians and letting them know that there is an improved pay schedule for 80,000 of the 122,000 enrolled and in fact, the remaining 40,000 will have the same premium and co-pay as last year," said Health Minister Leo Glavine. 

Last month, about 40,000 seniors were sent a letter outlining the changes, effective April 1, 2016.

The changes would have increased premiums, so that the more you make, the more you pay. The change would have brought in up to $10 million more in premiums for the government next year.

Waste of taxpayer's money

Chris d'Entremont, health critic for the Progressive Conservatives, says the apology letter was a waste of taxpayer's money. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

The government says the money spent on the apology was necessary, but the opposition says it's just the government playing politics with taxpayer's money.

"We look at this as being no more than a political mail out trying to re-apologize for something they already apologized for. What's even worse is they're doing it on the backs of the Nova Scotia taxpayer. This is a fairly expensive mail out on the behalf of government," said Chris d'Entremont, health critic for the Progressive Conservative party.

"The premier already apologized and then they buy ads in the Chronicle Herald, they write all these letters which quite honestly. If I talk to seniors in my constituency, I think this actually confuses them that much more."

​The province says premiums will no longer increase on April 1.

Seniors on a guaranteed income supplement will continue to be exempt from paying premiums. 

The apology letter from Premier Stephen McNeil. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

About the Author

Stephanie vanKampen


Stephanie vanKampen is a videojournalist with the CBC News Arts & Entertainment Unit in Toronto. Send story ideas to stephanie.vankampen


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