First Nations and Northern Support
I am pleased to be able to provide you with a bit of additional information regarding investments and supports for our province's First Nations, Metis and Northern Communities. In the 2020-21 Budget, the Saskatchewan Party government provided $213 million in targeted investments to meet the priorities of Saskatchewan's Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations. Over $45 Million was provided for Emergency Pandemic Supports for First Nations and Metis organizations as a result of COVID-related casino closures.
These investments include $27 million specifically committed for Indigenous skills training and employment initiatives and $5.2 million for essential skills programs aimed at on-reserve training. In 2019, there were 11,400 more First Nations and Metis people employed in the province compared to 2007, an increase of 31%.
The Saskatchewan Party government has provided funding for a number of initiatives and programs targeted to assist northern residents in the 2020-21 budget including:
- $500,000 to expand the Remote Presence Technology program into communities of Stony Rapids, La Loche, English River Dene Nation, Pelican Narrows, Fond-du-Lac, Clearwater River Dene Nation and Hatchet Lake;
- $372,000 for the Enhanced Preventative Dental Services Program to help support oral and dental care;
- $100,000 for diabetes initiatives; and
- $700,000 to improve access to kidney health and dialysis services for residents in the northwest region of the province.
Our government also provides $14.5 million to Northern Medical Services to help physicians and specialists provide care to communities across the north, an increase of 61% since 2007. This allows for full time primary health care support in four communities, and visiting clinics in 14 others.
In 2020-21, the Saskatchewan Party government will invest $1.2 million in new suicide prevention funding to support year one actions in Pillars for Life: Saskatchewan's Suicide Prevention Plan. This is in addition to new investments to support mental health and addictions programs for the North including:
- $437,000 to support the Mental health pilot with RCMP in rural;
- $1.31 million to support high intensity treatment teams for children and youth including a team in Prince Albert;
- $683,000 Improve medical care in detox centres including those in Meadow Lake and Prince Albert;
$413,000 to open a new Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic in North Battleford which is more accessible to residents of the north;
- $825,000 to hire addictions staff in emergency departments including Prince Albert; and
- $1.72 million to open new detox beds including in the communities of Prince Albert, North Battleford.
The Saskatchewan Party remains committed to advancing reconciliation in partnership with First Nations and Metis people and communities and with all other Saskatchewan citizens.