Building Safer Communities, Protecting Saskatchewan People
The 2021-22 provincial budget is building safer communities and protecting Saskatchewan people through significant funding of $886.6 million for the justice system. The budget includes measures to protect Saskatchewan residents with a strong justice and corrections system, a robust response to the challenges faced by the justice and corrections systems during the pandemic, and will support significant steps to enhance police oversight and transparency.
"The pandemic did not change our mandate to protect the people of this province and provide a fair and equitable justice system," Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said. "This budget makes the necessary investments to ensure the people of Saskatchewan can continue to have confidence in the rule of law."
As part of Saskatchewan's ongoing work to enhance police oversight and transparency, $287,000 will be provided to the Public Complaints Commission to develop a Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT). This will also make Saskatchewan's police oversight mechanisms consistent with those of other Canadian jurisdictions.
"We know safe communities are strong communities," Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. "This budget honours our commitments to respond to gang activity, addictions issues, and interpersonal violence and abuse, and invests in our police services and correctional systems to meet the ongoing challenges of the pandemic."
Correctional facilities will receive $76 million to support safety and programming improvements such as the construction of cultural lodges at correctional facilities in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert, and the renovation of Saskatoon's Urban Camp. Approximately $52 million of this funding will go towards building a new remand center at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
"These upgrades will significantly expand our ability to provide programming to inmates and maintain safe and secure facilities for inmates, staff, and the public," Tell said.
Nearly $4.3 million in funding will support pandemic-related measures in Saskatchewan's courts and correctional facilities. This includes ongoing costs for personal protective equipment, cleaning services and other precautionary measures being taken in courts and correctional facilities.
New funding of $110,000 will support the creation of a new Police and Crisis Team (PACT) for the Estevan region. Additionally, more than $3.2 million is being invested in the Gang Violence Reduction Strategy, which provides addictions programming in provincial correctional facilities and intervention services to individuals who want to leave gangs.
A total of $2.5 million will be dedicated to the Saskatchewan Firearms Program, which supports the transition of the Chief Firearms Officer from the federal government to the province.
Increased funding of $800,000 will be used to respond to interpersonal and domestic violence. This includes support for a public awareness campaign; the creation of a 24/7 Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Provincial Call Line in partnership with 211; the development of family intervention rapid support teams to allow violence intervention workers to operate alongside police; and expansion of the Victim Advocate Case Review initiative.
Government is also investing over $10 million to fund several projects that modernize the justice system, including:
- a system that allow citizens to access dispute resolution online ($4.8 million);
- additional video conferencing equipment in courts, police detention areas, and correctional centres ($3.8 million);
- ongoing modernization of court management software to improve communication and access to information between court locations ($1.0 million);
- the child support recalculation service, which enables parents to update their support payments without requiring them to retain counsel or appear in court ($106,000); and,
- ongoing upgrades to case management systems at the Office of Residential Tenancies, which will improve service delivery for citizens and allow for more timely responses ($130,000).
"Our government is committed to making our justice system as accessible as possible to the people of this province," Wyant said. "These investments will help achieve this."
Further, $243,000 will be provided to Saskatchewan police to enhance the capabilities of provincial Internet Child Exploitation units.