NDP calls for stepped-up measures to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to release a plan to assist low-income and vulnerable people, including providing safe housing for people accessing shelters.

“We see so many people in our communities stepping up to care for people in need: delivering groceries to seniors and making meals for kids living in poverty,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “We need the government to join that effort and recognize that the most vulnerable are at the highest risk. We need to protect and support them not just for their health, but for the health of everyone in this public health crisis.”

Specifically, Meili called for immediate shelter for those in need, funding for community-based organizations to provide emergency support services, and ensuring that social services call centres have the capacity to meet the needs of clients.

“More than half of Saskatchewan families were already living paycheque to paycheque before this crisis hit,” said NDP Social Services critic Nicole Rancourt. “More and more people will need to rely on services in our communities. We need to see the Minister step forward with support for agencies and for families.”

“Social services agencies were already stressed to the brink,” said Meili. “Now they are trying to keep their clients safe and their employees safe while they provide services to a growing population of people who are losing employment or income due to COVID-19. Other provinces are taking action, and it’s time for Saskatchewan to do the same.”

McCarthy Tetrault has compiled a full review of federal and provincial measures to date. Saskatchewan has so far announced no specific measures for people living in poverty, a stark contrast with most other provinces.