Released on June 15, 2020
The Ministry of Social Services’ budget will increase by $50.6 million in 2020-21, bringing the total budget to $1.286 billion, a 4.1 per cent increase from 2019-20.
“Our government is working on building a strong Saskatchewan for all, where everyone can get the support they need,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said. “We are continuing our investment in community organizations that deliver services on our behalf, because they are critical in helping create positive outcomes and better lives for the people we serve.”
Increased funding of $10.9 million to third party service providers includes:
Merriman said this year’s budget again focuses on working to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for people with disabilities.
Social Services is also providing $1.0 million to SaskAbilities for repairs and improvements to Camp Easter Seal, which provides summer camp programs for children, youth and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Another $350,000 in new funding will enhance communication services delivered by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Inc. The funding will provide support for roles including a DeafBlind Intervenor, American Sign Language Interpreters and Sign Support Professionals. This investment builds on the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy by improving access to communication supports that people need to live and participate in their communities.
The province is continuing to invest in Child and Family Programs to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children.
The Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) program was launched in July 2019 for new income assistance clients. It is designed to help people receiving income assistance overcome challenges, earn more income, become more self-sufficient and start a career. The SIS budget will increase by $84.6 million to reflect the caseload in this program, as the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) and Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA) wind down. Applications are now being accepted for the new Saskatchewan Housing Benefit.
The province will provide $3.4 million as a 50/50 cost-match with the federal government under the National Housing Strategy, resulting in total funding of up to $6.8 million. The benefit will target eligible individuals or families that require rental support.
Social Services has also responded to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on our province’s most vulnerable citizens with a number of pandemic-specific programs. The estimated cost of these initiatives is $6.4 million and they will be managed within the ministry’s overall 2020-21 budget of $1.286 billion.
Child and Family Programs will continue to provide supports to these youth to remain in their current placements, while continuing to receive financial supports and access to all services.
“We recognize the impact that COVID-19 has placed on many Saskatchewan citizens, as well as on organizations that support them,” Merriman said. “This government has taken a number of positive actions to reduce the financial and lifestyle effects on individuals and families already experiencing difficulties.”
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