Foster families who use government requisition forms, or vouchers, to charge purchases for essential supplies in a pinch can no longer rely on Walmart.
Saskatchewan's Ministry of Social Services learned on Jan. 9 that Walmart Canada made internal changes and no longer accepts purchases made on charge accounts, including government requisitions.
Requisitions can be issued to foster caregivers when they need supplies like formula, diapers or a car seat in emergency situations, for example.
"It's important that we're able to provide funds to caregivers to purchase what they need on short notice," said Tobie Eberhardt, executive director of child and family programs for the ministry.
The big box chain is convenient for its wide selection of available items and groceries. Now, those with a requisition may need to go to multiple stores to get what they need.
Walmart, in an emailed statement, apologized for the inconvenience. It asked that people or organizations that used the charge accounts pay like everyone else with cash, credit cards, debit cards or gift cards.
"In an effort to keep costs low and improve efficiency in our stores, Walmart Canada has discontinued the use of store charge accounts," the company said.
There are other stores that still take requisitions, like Superstore or Giant Tiger for example, but it's dependent on the community, Eberhardt said. The Giant Tiger in La Ronge may accept requisitions but it might not in Prince Albert.
Eberhardt said it's important for those who have requisitions to get in contact with a caseworker who can point them in the right direction.
"Our first priority was making sure that those people that have requisitions knew where they could use them," Eberhardt said.
She said the next step is working out what options remain. Social Services will reach out to other provinces and territories to see just how they're handling the change.
In addition, the province can issue emergency cheques if the situation calls for it.