At first, social assistance beneficiaries didn’t want to hear any talk of change; they did not want intrusions into their privacy nor to be forced to find a job. They were afraid of losing their social benefits. They also complained about not having enough access to managers, and not being treated fairly or equitably.
To make its clients aware and inform them of its objectives, HRD-NB had to work on changing their attitudes and convincing them of the value of the project and the longer-term benefits they stood to gain. The Department organized information sessions and public consultations, individual and group meetings with clients, and mail surveys. Case managers kept their clients informed of the project’s progress. Letters explaining the format and details on the new cheques were sent to clients and, during the first weeks of the pilot project, a hotline for answering questions was maintained by seven or eight employees. Subsequently, a team was created to oversee the cheque delivery.