Nova Scotia

What's in a name? DNR rebrand could cost more than $1M

Changing the name of the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Lands and Forestry could eventually cost more than $1 million.

Majority of costs relate to changing signs, which would happen over time

Updating provincial park signs such as this one with the new government department name is estimated to eventually cost $650,000. (novascotia.ca)

Changing the name of the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Lands and Forestry could eventually cost more than $1 million.

Last month, Premier Stephen McNeil shuffled his cabinet and, in the process, announced the department name change as he moved responsibility for the mining sector to the Energy Department.

Cost estimates of the name change, received following a freedom of information request, list the total changes to be a little more than $1.1 million and relate mostly to various signage changes.

A department spokesperson said there are several other "small scale" costs not included in that estimate, such as letterhead, although it isn't widely used in the department anymore.

Costs handled through attrition

But if it does end up costing that much, the total amount won't be expensed right away.

By far the two biggest expenses would be changing provincial park entry signs, pegged at $650,000, and updating uniform clothing, which would cost $171,000.

A letter with the information disclosure from Julie Towers, Lands and Forestry deputy minister, notes "no decision to proceed with signage changes has been made at this time, nor is there a timeline set to do so."

A government spokesperson said changes to items such as signage, uniforms and vehicle marking would likely happen through attrition, as items need to be replaced, which has been the usual practice in the past when a department undergoes a name change.

Costs of another recent rebrand

While it isn't a government department, a recent comparison of costs related to a name change or rebranding is when the district health authorities around the province were merged to create the Nova Scotia Health Authority in 2015.

Costs to date for that effort are a little more than $231,000, according to a NSHA response to a recent freedom of information request.

That document notes the costs are not final because there is ongoing work yet to be invoiced and changes to signage for the central zone, also not included in the total, are part of the ongoing Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre redevelopment.

Read other articles from CBC Nova Scotia

About the Author

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca