On Monday, the province became the first in Canada to release a 2020-21 budget that accounts for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
It includes over $900 million in new expenses related to fighting the virus and new programs aimed at reviving the economy.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the government is committed to transparency and accountability for how it has dealt with the outbreak.
Similar comments were echoed by Premier Scott Moe.
“We’re the first jurisdiction to move forward with a full accounting of what the COVID-19 situation is and how that impacted the finances here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.
“There’s no other jurisdiction that has gone this far in being transparent with the voters and the people they represent.”
Below is a breakdown of how much the coronavirus pandemic is costing Saskatchewan.
$118 million – New hospital equipment, testing equipment, PPE and operating costs
$3.5 million – To fund the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre. This includes PPE, checkpoints, communications and other services
$370,000 – Established staff and maintain checkpoints in the far north. This includes $20,000 to La Loche to help with public safety, food security, and education to encourage physical distancing
$400,000 – in support of University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization International Vaccine Centre
$2 million – Self-Isolation Support Program for residents forced to self-isolate
$200 million – A new public health and safety contingency fund
$150 million – for the cleanup of inactive oil and gas wells and facilities
$375 million – money to spend on capital projects for 2020-21
$50 million – Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Program
$56 million – Temporary Wage Supplement
$13 million – Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
$1 million – Regina Chamber of Commerce for buy local campaign
$7 million – For post-secondary students, including emergency bursaries
$50 million – In recognition of lost gaming transfer revenue as a result of casino closures, the budget provides one-time funding of $50 million for emergency pandemic support for First Nation and Métis organizations
$6.4 million – Includes respite payments for caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities, cost pressures at emergency shelters, one-time $50 cash benefit for Income Assistant clients
$8 million – AgriRecovery response for livestock sector
$4 million – Enhanced court technology
$3 million – For temporary structures for additional inmate living space within correctional facilities to support social distancing
$675 million – the amount the government has allowed businesses, taxpayers and ratepayers to temporarily defer payment of taxes and fees to support their cash flow and address short-term liquidity shortfalls.
A more detailed breakdown of costs can be found here.
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