Frontline organizations have repeatedly raised the alarm over a critical lack of provincial funding. In response, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the province to provide $3 million in emergency funding: $1.5 million for organizations running frontline emergency shelters, and $1.5 million in emergency funding for Saskatchewan food banks.
“If they won’t step up because it’s the right thing, they should at least do it because it’s the smart thing,” said Meili. “The best way to stop this virus from spreading is to stop the most vulnerable from getting it. That means ensuring everyone has enough food and somewhere safe to self-isolate.
“Food bank usage is skyrocketing, and frontline organizations are facing increased costs. Other provinces have stepped up with millions of dollars in emergency funding commitments. Why hasn’t Saskatchewan?”
Other provinces are contributing far more than Saskatchewan’s $171,000. Ontario has committed $148 million for service organizations. British Columbia has committed $3 million for food banks, has raised income and disability rates by $300 per month, and won’t claw back income support benefits from those receiving CERB. Alberta has opened 14 new shelter facilities. And Nova Scotia has leveraged $3 million for frontline organizations.
“Our food banks and shelters are at the breaking point trying to keep people safe and fed,” said NDP Social Services Critic Nicole Rancourt. “Doing the right thing makes everyone safer. When will the province recognize that and commit the needed funds?”