Below you'll find MLA Tim McLeod's Report from the Legislature for February 1, 2024.
The views expressed below are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official stance of Golden West.
Our government remains committed to investing in the programs and services that matter most to Saskatchewan people. These investments help to build and protect our province, ensuring it remains one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.
The new Saskatchewan Employment Incentive (SEI) program has officially launched, helping to make life more affordable for Saskatchewan families. Working parents who earn between $500 and $2,200 per month may be eligible for the maximum monthly SEI benefit ranging from $400 to $600, depending on the number of children they have.
The SEI will provide a monthly financial benefit, supplementary health benefits, access to discount bus passes where available, connections to employment supports through the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training, and access to the Saskatchewan Housing Benefit through the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation. Applications are open online at www.Saskatchewan.ca/employment-incentive.
The minimum age for purchase of tobacco and vapour products has increased to 19, effective February 1, 2024. This is an important step in protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco and vapour products.
Under the new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions, our government is focused on getting more people the treatment they need to overcome addictions and live healthy, safe lives in recovery. As part of the transition to a Recovery-Oriented System of Care, changes are being made to how the health care system responds to illicit drug use issues.
The provision of pipes for smoking methamphetamine, crack cocaine and other illicit drugs will be discontinued. The practice of providing materials with instructions on how to use illicit drugs will also be discontinued. No third-party organization will be permitted to use funding provided by the Ministry of Health or the Saskatchewan Health Authority for these purposes.
Providing taxpayer-funded pipes for smoking illicit drugs and instructions for how to use them sends the wrong message to people who we want to help. Instead, the message coming from the health care system should be that there is hope for recovery, and there is help available through treatment.
Consistent with public safety priorities, the Take Home Naloxone program will continue to provide free naloxone kits. These are available at over 400 locations throughout the province, with more locations to come.
Test strips for fentanyl and benzodiazepine contamination will also continue to be available to assist law enforcement and the health care system with monitoring drug toxicity, as well as help users better understand the risks associated with illicit drugs. The use of drug checking infrared spectrometres will also continue for the same purpose.
Needle exchanges will be required to operate on an exchange basis to strike a balance with public safety priorities. The intent of needle exchanges is to get back used needles that can be littered in communities or be otherwise improperly disposed of, and to reduce the spread of bloodborne illnesses like HIV or hepatitis C.
To further support people struggling with addictions and other at-risk individuals in the community, new Community Wellness Buses are planned for 2024 with a mandate to provide primary health care services, assistance with accessing services and supports, and referrals for other services that they may need.
Our government continues to move forward on adding 500 addictions spaces, as announced in the fall of 2023. So far, a total of 168 treatment spaces have been announced across the province. Work is also underway to implement a central intake system to make treatment more easily accessible to people when they need it.
In addition, the province recently launched a new Provincial Drug Alert System. The goal of drug alerts is to increase awareness of the dangers associated with illicit drugs and the presence of other toxic substances that further increase the risk of overdose and death. Anyone can sign up to receive drug alerts by visiting www.Saskatchewan.ca/drug-alerts or text JOIN to 1-833-35-B-SAFE (352-7233).
With these investments and programs in place, we will continue working to build and protect our great province. If you have questions, concerns or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact my constituency office at 306-692-8884 or firstname.lastname@example.org.