PFS strongly recommends the creation of a provincial anti-poverty act. Such an Act should aim to eliminate poverty, providing income security, adequate housing, health care investments and affordable child care for all persons and families in Saskatchewan. The Act would be developed in consultation with all sectors of the community, centering on people experiencing poverty, and have independent overview of its implementation.
Since 2015 the Saskatchewan government has cut or reduced programs for those with low incomes. PFS has outlined these in documents about the provincial budgets – most recently in 2020. (See https://povertyfreesask.ca/reports-and-initiatives/budget-2020-appalling-frugality )
Concrete steps that should be taken by the Saskatchewan Government are:
- Reverse the five years of continuous cutbacks to benefits that have resulted from the provincial government’s actions.
- Increase the basic allowance of all the department’s income assistance programs by $300 per month.
- Reverse the claw back of the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments for those receiving provincial income assistance.
- Top up the Canada Child Benefit by providing an additional $1,000 per year for each child for families with children under age 18.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Allocate a significant portion of the provincial government’s $200 million pandemic plan to address the effects of COVID-19 on mental health, drug addiction, HIV prevention services, housing, and preK-12 education and training systems.