People seeking treatment in public residential addiction treatment centres no longer have to pay $40 a day for room and board. The UCP made the announcement Friday saying the user fee has been removed.

This cost prohibited many Albertans from accessing treatment who make too much to qualify for income support but not enough to pay privately.

Nicole Bastien, a program manager at Aventa Centre of Excellence for Women with Addictions said the news gives hope to those needing help.

“I think it’s instrumental,” said Bastien.

“I think it’s amazing and I definitely am going to witness so much more opportunity for women coming in.”

Aventa has 65 beds in its facility and offers a 42 and 90-day treatment program. The executive director of the facility says removing the user fee will eliminate barriers for women who are ready for treatment.

“We’ve actually had to turn away a lot of women over the years who could not afford to pay for treatment,” said Kim Turgeon.

Gwen Wright works at the centre but used to be a former client. She says she was lucky her family was able to pay for the fee, but if they weren’t there for her, the treatment would’ve been beyond her financial reach.

“No, no I couldn’t. I had no money at that time," she said.

In lieu of requiring user fees, Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction said the government has introduced a new standardized funding program for licensed agencies providing publicly funded addiction treatment services.

“I think the country is taking note of the Alberta approach,” Luan said.

“We focus on recovery and we focus on getting people onto the healthy side of the equation. We’re developing a full continum care that covers all the way from prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.”