The province is continuing its unprecedented support for people with disabilities with enhancements to programs and services.
The 2014-15 Budget includes $446.2 million in funding for people with disabilities, an increase of $84.3 million over last year and more than double the funding provided in 2007-08.
“The commitment we made in the last election campaign was to become the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live,” Social Services Minister June Draude said. “With our continued investment in services and supports for people with disabilities and our development of a comprehensive disability strategy for the future, we are steadily working toward realizing that goal.”
Highlights of the 2014-15 Budget include:
- $9.9 million in funding for the Ministry of the Economy’s Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities program to assist adults with disabilities to prepare for, secure and maintain employment;
- In the Ministry of Health, $7.6 million for Autism interventions, $4.2 million for intensive Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention programming and community supports, and $43 million for Saskatchewan Aids to Independent Living to maintain benefits for people with long-term disabilities or illnesses;
- In Finance, $15.8 million for the Disability Tax Credit and Disability Supplement and $1.2 million for the Caregiver/Infirm Dependent Tax Credit; and
- $3.5 million in capital and operating funding through Government Relations’ Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities.
Through the Ministry of Social Services, an investment of $5.1 million in 2014-15 will increase benefits under the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program for the third year in a row, by $20 a month for those in residential care, $50 a month for individuals and $55 a month for couples. The SAID program, designed in collaboration with the disability community, is a landmark income support program for Saskatchewan people with disabilities. The increase will take effect in June 2014 and will benefit more than 12,000 households.
Social Services’ 2014-15 Budget will also see an increase of $20.4 million, or 14 per cent, for community-based organizations (CBOs) that provide residential spaces and programs for people with intellectual disabilities. Social Services supports 4,300 people with intellectual disabilities in communities around the province.
The 2014-15 investment will help to support the transition of residents from Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw to new homes in communities around the province. It will also contribute to the further development of assessment, stabilization and crisis supports – a key recommendation of the Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee.
Additional support will be provided to CBOs, building on the province’s $17.34 million investment announced in December 2012 to help CBOs address recruitment and retention challenges.
To further the work already being done to improve quality of life for people with disabilities, the province is developing a comprehensive disability strategy, led by a 15-member Citizen Consultation Team. Meetings with the public, disability community, government, CBOs, municipalities, school divisions and health authorities will begin in the spring of 2014.
“The steady economic growth we have enjoyed has enabled our government to balance the budget, control spending and invest in infrastructure, and I am proud of our record,” Draude said. “Most of all, I am very proud of our government’s investment in people and in improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable members of our society.”
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