Nursing homes and residential care facilities licensed by the Nova Scotia government will no longer be allowed to charge security deposits.
Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the government is immediately changing regulations to eliminate the security deposits charged to seniors and their families.
“We felt that having one senior faced with not being able to gain access to a nursing home because of a security deposit was one too many,” MacDonald said.
The government said some nursing homes were charging anywhere from $900 to $4,700 in security deposits.
The change in the regulations also requires all current security deposits to be refunded by April 12.
MacDonald said bad debt from seniors to nursing homes is “almost nonexistent” at only $18,000 over the last five years out of $110 million annually.
“We have done the analysis and the facts speak for themselves. There’s very, very little bad debt,” she said.
But one residential facility company executive refuted those numbers.
“I don’t know where her numbers came from. Certainly our bad debt over the last five years is more than that,” said Jason Shannon, CEO of Shannex.
Department staff clarified the $18,000 was only debt reported to the government.
Shannon said his company agrees that deposits should not be an obstacle.
“As long as the department and the sector work together to ensure its implementation goes well, it will be fine,” he said.