Amidst the COVID-19 crisis we salute the health care, social work and other human service providers, food banks and volunteers who are working to address the needs of all people and especially those efforts assisting people living in poverty.
The Saskatchewan government has taken some steps, but there is much more that should be done.
Some government actions: The federal government has implemented a number of initiatives over the last few weeks. Today a $400 per month top up to essential workers in senior-care facilities, licensed childcare facilities, group homes and emergency and transition shelters was announced – of the $56 million total cost in our province the Saskatchewan government is contributing $3 million. In other efforts, the Saskatchewan government has halted rental evictions based solely on people being behind in their rent. Hotel accommodation has been provided to homeless people who can’t access a shelter, although the uptake was greater than Social Services expected and criteria for this are getting more restrictive. People have to report less frequently to provide updated financial information before receiving their monthly income assistance benefit. The Saskatchewan government also created a fund for small businesses to “borrow” from which theoretically could preserve some low wage earner jobs.
However … much more could be done.