The Canadian Cancer Society congratulates the government in changing the eligibility guidelines for BTO Program in Nova Scotia

03 April 2014

Halifax, NS -

The Canadian Cancer Society is very excited by news today that the provincial government will increase the family income threshold for the Boarding, Transportation and Ostomy Program. The threshold has been increased from $15,720 to $25,500 and will ensure more Nova Scotians will have access to financial assistance when traveling for cancer treatments. In addition, the BTO budget will see an increase from $310,000 to $395,000.

“This increase in the BTO program’s income threshold will result in more Nova Scotian cancer patients being eligible for support. That has been our goal for quite some time,” says Kelly Cull, Manager of Government and Partner Relations, Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division. “Currently, costs associated with travel for cancer treatment can cause a financial strain and significant debt for some cancer patients and families.”

The Society has been actively lobbying government to increase funding to its BTO Program (Boarding, Transportation and Ostomy Program), which was designed to help patients more easily cope with the financial burden associated with travel, accommodations and supplies after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Since 1994, the eligibility to qualify for funding was capped at a gross annual family income of $15,720 per year, which was so restrictive most Nova Scotians who needed the assistance did not qualify.

More than 6,100 people are estimated to receive a cancer diagnoses in our province this year. A recent study demonstrated that approximately 91% of households with a cancer diagnosis will suffer a financial hardship. Almost half of the province lives in rural areas and with up to 20 trips required to cancer treatment centres in Halifax and Sydney, the financial impact can be crippling.

Today’s budget also included $1.9 million for improvements to cancer drug registry. This will further alleviate the financial burden for families in Nova Scotia who are fighting cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934). 


For more information or to speak with a Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division spokesperson, contact:

Heather Spriet

(902) 423-6183 ext 222