Saskatchewan

Health regions to cut money for community-based groups by 10%

Opposition says cuts to community-based organizations hurt the most vulnerable

Health Minister Jim Reiter

Health Minister Jim Reiter says the Saskatchewan government is going to focus on 'core' health services. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

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The Opposition says a cut to community-based organizations in Saskatchewan will hurt the most vulnerable.

The provincial government is asking health regions to cut their $15.7 million spending on CBOs by 10 per cent overall, a reduction of about $1.5 million.

Opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon says that jeopardizes programs which help those with mental health issues, addictions and autism, as well as programs for medically-vulnerable children and the homeless.

Wotherspoon says cutting those services may well end up costing even more in the long run.

Trent Wotherspoon

Opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon says cutting money for community-based groups is short-sighted and will likely cost more in the long run. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

"People pay for it through their lives, families pay for it," he said. "But we also pay for it through more expensive services — through hospital care, through our corrections system. It's more costly and it's indecent."

Health Minister Jim Reiter said that is why the government will be careful before it announces the cuts. 

"That's why there's a very long, diligent process through this," he told reporters.

"The health region officials are going to be asked to make their recommendations, then ministry officials will review it and then finally it will come to me," Reiter said.

Reiter says the health ministry wants to return to so-called "core" services — those covered under medicare. 

He said CBOs will learn more about their futures later this summer.

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