REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Critic for Social Services Meara Conway was joined at the Legislature by people living with disabilities and advocates from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Moose Jaw Food Bank and the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry. Together, they called on the government to put an end to the discriminatory claw back of pensions and to immediately raise Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) rates to keep step with the cost of living.
“The government should be working to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities in Saskatchewan. Instead, they cut the rental housing supplement, the special diet allowance and a transportation allowance. SAID rates have not increased for seven years, which amounts to a twenty percent reduction to benefits,” said Conway. “Under this government, individuals with a significant and enduring disability that interferes with their ability to work are forced to live in deep poverty. This is absolutely appalling and deeply hurts those who most need and deserve our support.”
Members of the Legislative Assembly were joined today by James MacLachlan. James lives with myotonic dystrophy, requires the help of a wheelchair and resides in a care facility. In March 2022, he successfully appealed the Ministry of Social Services’ decision to claw back his full CPP Disability and Long Term Disability Insurance from his time at SARCAN. Despite this ruling in his favour, the decision was overturned by the Ministry’s Social Services Appeal Board having found that the practice was consistent with SAID policies and that only the Minister could exempt the income. The Ministry’s decision puts James in a precarious situation. He has exhausted his life savings and does not have enough to pay rent.
“James is struggling to afford the basic care he so desperately needs and the Minister has full discretion to fix the situation and return James’ hard-earned SARCAN pension today,” said Conway. “James is just one of many who are being denied a life of basic dignity by the Sask. Party government.”
The Official Opposition calls on Minister Carr to exercise her authority and return pensions for James and the many others living with disabilities struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.