As Saskatchewan’s economy and population continue to grow, our government remains focused on investing in the programs and services that matter most to Saskatchewan people. We continue to prioritize the four-point Health Human Resources Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain health care workers to our province. As part of that plan, increased funding for the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program continues to support internationally-trained physicians as they begin their practice in Saskatchewan.
This summer, 16 new doctors completed the SIPPA program and began practicing in rural and remote communities across the province. Along with SIPPA, other initiatives, such as the quadrupling of the Rural Physician Incentive Program, expanding medical residency seats at the University of Saskatchewan, and expanding post-graduate medical residency training sites across the province, continue to bring more physicians to our province and expand the capacity of our health care system.
Our government recently announced a new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions with an investment of $49.4 million over 5 years. A total of 500 new addictions treatment spaces will be created, more than doubling the number currently funded across the province. Work will begin immediately on a central intake system that patients can contact directly to refer themselves for mental health and addictions services.
The plan also includes expanding the Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools initiative to five more school divisions, with plans for more in future years; providing wrap-around mental health and addiction supports for residents of the new supportive housing units; and creating a Provincial Opioid Agonist Therapy (POAT) program to make addictions medicines more accessible across the province. This new plan will build a seamless continuum of care that includes detox, inpatient treatment, and supportive living.
Our government also recently announced an investment of $40.2 million over the next two years to fund a new Provincial Approach to Homelessness program. With temporary winter shelter spaces for Prince Albert already confirmed and beginning operations, we are continuing our work to create 120 new permanent emergency shelter spaces around the province based on need. Work is already underway with community-based service providers to determine the number of additional emergency shelter spaces in each community, including Prince Albert. Municipal governments will help to identify the location for any new emergency shelters with capacity limits appropriate for the neighbourhoods where they are located. More information will be provided as it comes available.
We have also expanded a new, mobile workforce initiative in response to conversations with community organizations to better support our shared clients with some of the challenges they experience. Prince Albert community organizations are involved in this initiative. Currently, mobile workers visit Homeward Bound, the Indian and Métis Friendship Center and the Prince Albert and District Community Services Center.
As our government continues to move forward on these important initiatives, I look forward to hearing from you. If you have questions, concerns or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my constituency office at 306-922-2828 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or feel free to stop in our office, located at Bay 4, 406 South Industrial Drive.