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Human Rights Day: Saskatchewan Named Co-Chair of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Human Rights Conference

CANADA, December 11 - Released on December 11, 2023

2025 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting Will Take Place in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan will co-chair the Continuing Committee of Officials on Human Rights (CCOHR) and Senior Officials Committee Responsible for Human Rights (SOCHR) conference in 2025.

“I was honoured that Saskatchewan was selected by a majority of fellow provincial-territorial colleagues to co-chair this important conference with the federal government,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “When provinces and territories come together in 2025, we look forward to candid conversations and to exchanging both our success stories and continued challenges."

The Government of Saskatchewan continues to take significant steps to address issues of human rights across the province, including:

  • Mandatory Holocaust education;
  • $40.2 million for the provincial approach to homelessness;
  • Coming into force of The Accessible Saskatchewan Act;
  • Welcoming nearly 4,000 displaced Ukrainians; and
  • Investing $27.5 million in programs and services to address interpersonal violence.

Following its adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, the Government of Saskatchewan recently announced that Holocaust education will be a compulsory component of the renewed Social Studies 10 curriculum in the 2025-26 school year. Saskatchewan also provided $100,000 of emergency aid to humanitarian organization Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel.

As part of the provincial approach to homelessness, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing $40.2 million in new funding over the next two years to create 155 new supportive housing spaces, 120 new permanent emergency shelter spaces, and enhance community safety and outreach responses that include 30 new complex needs emergency shelter spaces. The integrated approach will provide a continuum of services with targeted supports aligned with individual needs.

The Accessible Saskatchewan Act, which came into force on December 3, 2023, will prevent and remove accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities. Under the Act, public sector bodies will be required to develop and publicly post their own accessibility plans by December 3, 2025. Saskatchewan will post its accessibility plan by December 3, 2024.

Saskatchewan has welcomed nearly 4,000 displaced Ukrainians and provided them with intensive settlement supports, including employment, training, job-matching supports and income assistance. The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced that it will also provide funding to ensure that those who have arrived in Saskatchewan under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program will pay domestic tuition rates rather than international rates.

This year, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing $27.5 million in programs and services to address interpersonal violence. This includes $984,000 in new operational funding over three years for second stage housing for counselling and intervention supports, and $1.2 million over the next four years for Hope Restored Canada (HRC) to deliver housing and support services to human trafficking victims. Last month, Saskatchewan introduced The Protection from Human Trafficking (Coerced Debts) Amendment Act, 2023, which will prohibit lenders from including information about coerced debts in credit reports and taking coerced debts into account when evaluating a potential loan.

The Government of Saskatchewan has also been a leader in advancing children’s rights. It accepted all 14 recommendations from the 2022 Desperately Waiting report by Saskatchewan’s Advocate for Children and Youth and participated virtually, as part of Canada’s delegation, before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2022. Saskatchewan focused its submission to the UN on three areas: suicide prevention for youth; the implementation of programs to support child witnesses through the court process and programs to assist those who have been exposed to interpersonal violence and abuse; and developments with respect to Indigenous child and family services within the province, including the conclusion of the first Coordination Agreement in Canada under An Act Respecting First Nations, Métis Children, Youth and Families. 

Additional steps that the Government of Saskatchewan has undertaken include:

  • Updating the approach to Per Capita Distribution payments for First Nations members receiving income assistance under the Specific Claim Tribunal Act (Canada);
  • Investing $49.4 million in a new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions, which will create 500 new addictions treatment spaces and a central intake system that makes care more accessible and responsive;
  • Committing $400,000 to a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls+ Community Response Fund, which was increased to $800,000 through matched funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada;
  • Creating the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (https://siifc.ca/), which will provide up to $75 million in loan guarantees to Indigenous communities and organizations for equity investment in resource development projects;
  • Providing $2 million in funding to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations to support research into undocumented deaths and burials on former federally-operated residential schools;
  • Signing a historic, first-of-its-kind coordination agreement with Cowessess First Nation and the Government of Canada in 2021, which helped facilitate Cowessess First Nation’s jurisdiction over child and family services under its own law (the Miyo Pimatisowin Act); and
  • Amending The Saskatchewan Employment Act to clarify the definition of harassment and extend protections to independent contractors, students and volunteers, and to require an investigation when a harassment complaint is made.

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For more information, contact:

Ariane Whiting
Justice and Attorney General
Regina
Phone: 306-787-8621
Email: cpjumedia@gov.sk.ca