For Immediate Release
February 8, 2022
NDP Leader and MHA for St. John’s Centre, Jim Dinn, is growing frustrated that the province is keeping individuals who rely on the provincial drug plan from becoming more employable by cancelling drug coverage if they pursue post-secondary education. Of two constituents that we know of who are impacted, one availed of a federally funded, provincially administered Skills Development Program; the other took out a student loan. Under the current government policy, income recipients accessing funding through Student Aid or the Federal Skills Development Program lose supports such as 100% drug coverage through the provincial prescription drug plan. The loss of coverage means one constituent may face blindness if they do not receive treatment.
“For over a month I have been pleading with the provincial government to help two women on income support who took the bold step to pursue post-secondary education, improve employability, and get themselves and their families off income support,” said Dinn. “In both cases, their choosing to take these steps has left them financially worse off. But what is most troubling: both women have significant health issues and were cut from the provincial drug plan. It threatens their health and undermines their ability to improve their lives.”
“The choice this province is giving one individual is basically - become more educated and employable and go blind, or keep your eyesight and perpetually rely on income support. This government just doesn’t get it.”
The NLNDP point to successive governments trying to find so called “efficiencies and savings” by creating barriers to access and creating gaps that are causing the intended purpose of the programs to fail the people of the province who need it.
“We need an immediate solution for these two women and any other person facing a similar hard choice of pursuing post-secondary education and losing health benefits or remaining on Income Support and keeping their drug cards,” said Dinn. “When a political connection needs a salary and a job, or profitable international oil companies come with their hands out, this province pulls out all the stops to make the investment.”
“When everyday people are trying to get ahead in life, they have to reach out to multiple elected officials and ministers to advocate on their behalf. It should never be this hard for people.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org