April 10, 2018

Keeping Saskatchewan On Track By Helping People In Need

CBOs and Foster Families Among Those Receiving Funding Increase

The Ministry of Social Services’ budget for 2018-19 will increase by $54.4 million or 4.8 per cent over last year to a record $1.18 billion.  This includes an increase of $10.4 million for community-based organizations (CBOs) and caregivers such as foster parents who provide direct daily care to those most in need.

“Year over year, our government has continued to invest in supports for those most vulnerable: children in need of protection, at-risk families, people with disabilities, seniors and those experiencing low income,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.  “With Social Services’ increased budget this year, we are investing more than ever before in these critical programs and services.  We’re keeping Saskatchewan on track by helping people in need.”

Of the $10.4 million increase for caregivers, $8.2 million will be targeted to those providing direct daily care to adults with intellectual disabilities and/or mental health challenges, including:

  • CBOs delivering day programs and residential services to adults with intellectual disabilities; and
  • Approved Private Service Homes providing care to adults with intellectual disabilities and/or mental health challenges.

“Through this increase in supports for adults with intellectual disabilities, we’ll continue to make progress on our goal of making Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live,” Merriman said.

The remaining $2.2 million will target foster families and others providing daily care to children in need of protection, as well as families needing intensive supports.  This increase includes:

  • Family-based caregivers, including foster parents and extended family caregivers, caring for children who cannot remain safely in their homes;
  • CBOs delivering intensive in-home services to keep at-risk children safely at home with their families, or to support successful reunification with their families after the children leave care; and
  • CBOs providing essential residential services to children and youth.

Social Services’ budget contains further increases aimed at supporting at-risk children and adults with intellectual disabilities:

  • $700,000 for children and youth with exceptional medical and behavioural challenges;
  • $4.5 million for extended family members caring for at-risk children and youth, keeping them connected to family, community and culture;
  • $9.9 million to continue moving people from Valley View Centre to new community-based homes;
  • $9.0 million to provide services for children with intellectual disabilities aging into adult care, as well as for adults with intellectual disabilities whose needs have increased or who are in crisis; and
  • $250,000 to operate a new group home in La Ronge for five adults with intellectual disabilities.

In Income Assistance, the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) budget will increase by $14.2 million, to $178.3 million, due to caseload growth.  About 15,000 households each month receive SAP benefits to help them meet their basic needs.

A further investment of $9.2 million will support continued efforts to redesign the province’s suite of income assistance programs.  The ministry is working to improve programs for clients by making them more user-friendly; increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery; and establishing a new IT platform to support income assistance programs and payments.

No reductions have been made to benefits in the remaining income assistance programs.  The Seniors Income Plan, Personal Care Home Benefit, and the Saskatchewan Employment Supplement budget will decrease based on projected utilization for these programs.  Utilization is expected to hold steady for the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program, Transitional Employment Allowance and Child Care Subsidy.

As of July 1, 2018, the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement will suspend the intake of new applications while a new rental support program is being co-developed with the federal government as part of the new National Housing Strategy.  Clients on the program as of June 30, 2018 will continue to receive benefits as long as they are eligible.  The announcement is being made today to give people sufficient time to apply for the program.

Throughout 2018-19, the province, through the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC), will work closely with the federal government and its provincial/territorial partners to ensure that the new National Housing Strategy benefits Saskatchewan people in housing need.

SHC will also launch the Seniors’ Education Property Tax Deferral Program in April 2018.  About 1,600 low- to moderate-income senior homeowners will be able to defer the education portion of their property taxes through a repayable loan, giving them more financial flexibility and helping them stay in their homes longer.