Despite foster care crisis, government’s appointed politician does nothing

Documents obtained by Freedom of Information laws show the Sask. Party MLA appointed to work on the growing child protection crisis has done not one single bit of work in a full year in that job.

Greg Lawrence was appointed to be the legislative secretary for foster families in January 2014, as hundreds of foster families were quitting and a number of children had fallen victim to preventable tragedies. More than a year later, the Opposition used access laws to request all emails and letters sent, and any reports or work done by Lawrence – and found out that absolutely nothing had been done.

“No emails. No letters. No meeting records. No reports. It’s painfully obvious that in the face of a crisis that is putting vulnerable children at risk, this government feels a little lip service is enough,” said Social Services critic David Forbes. “Foster homes are overcrowded. Tragically, little ones have lost their lives. Yet this government is absolutely not taking this seriously.”

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Capacity expansion in foster system needed now: NDP

Children being placed in hotel rooms as Social Services is out of capacity

The Opposition is asking where the Minister of Social Services is and what she’s doing about a further development in the crisis in Social Services’ foster care system. The New Democrats are calling for an urgent campaign to expand the child welfare capacity – including hiring more front-line case workers, actively recruiting foster families, and expanding family and parenting support programming.

In Regina, every foster home is full, every emergency space is full and since May 23, children that come into the care of Social Services are being put in hotel rooms. This according to an investigative media report released Friday afternoon.

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8,500 more people unemployed in Saskatchewan

Statistics Canada numbers point to lack of economic diversity

There were 8,500 more unemployed adults in Saskatchewan in May compared to one year ago, as the number of jobs in the province failed to keep up with demand.

That’s the news from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey on Friday, which shows that Saskatchewan is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to economic diversity. There were major job losses in key sectors, including 5,200 jobs lost in manufacturing, 3,200 jobs lost in professional, scientific and technical services and 2,800 jobs lost in trade.

Overall, the private sector lost jobs while the public sector added jobs.

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Made-up numbers to justify P3s mean taxpayers may pay more

The independent Provincial Auditor says the government builds its so-called value-for-money reports on public-private partnership (P3) projects using unsubstantiated numbers. 

In Ontario, the Auditor General found this practice in that province cost taxpayers an extra $8 billion on 75 P3s, compared to straightforward building models. 

Auditor Judy Ferguson said Wednesday of the government's approach to P3 justification: "It's full of estimates. It's full of assumptions."

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Lashburn man forced to refuse ambulance because of cost

Half of Saskatchewan people would delay calling ambulance because of fees

The Sask. Party continues to refuse to take action on ambulance fees while patients like Thomas Dale Winacott, a 64-year-old man battling pancreatic cancer, feel forced to refuse an ambulance because of the cost.

Winacott was expecting a pricey ambulance bill to arrive in the mail from his March 19 transfer from the Cypress Regional Hospital to Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s. But, before that bill came, he found himself in need of a transfer again, this time on May 14 from Maidstone to the Battleford Union Hospital. Winacott said no to the ambulance.

Instead, with an intravenous needle still in his arm, he caught a ride with a family member to the Battleford hospital. There, he waited about seven hours in the emergency department before seeing a doctor, feeling like he was not treated as a transfer nor as an emergency because he arrived by car instead of by ambulance.

“I can’t imagine what Dale, his wife and his family have been going through,” said Danielle Chartier, the Opposition critic for Health. “He should be putting his health first – instead, he’s being forced to make risky choices based on the price of health care.”

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