This past month has once again been busy with events in Prince Albert and around the city!
Our government remains committed to investing in programs and services that matter to the people of Saskatchewan. On October 18, I was pleased to join Catholic Family Services at the launch of free, rapid access counseling services for children, youth, and their caregivers in Prince Albert. This year, our government is providing Family Services Saskatchewan with $1.7 million in new annual funding to expand these services to young people across the province.
Expanding capacity to get more people the help they need is a key focus of our new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions. Under this plan, rapid access counseling for children and youth will expand to all 24 locations of Family Services Saskatchewan where these services are currently available for adults. In addition, our government is providing $1.5 million to offer ongoing services to adults and families.
To support second stage housing in Regina and Prince Albert, our government is also providing additional operational funding over the next three years. The funding will support the continued delivery of intervention and counseling services for women and their children leaving interpersonal violence and abuse in Saskatchewan. Second stage housing provides safe, affordable, longer-term support (between 18 and 24 months) for women and their children to help rebuild their lives. Clients will also receive counseling, connections to education and employment, and programs for their children. Over the next three years, Prince Albert Safe Shelter will receive funding for its six-unit second stage housing facility.
In partnership with Shopper’s Foundation for Women’s Health™, our government made an announcement of more than three million menstrual products being distributed to schools and emergency shelters for women and girls in Saskatchewan on October 23. This announcement is part and only the beginning of our three-year commitment with Shoppers to provide 12 million menstrual products across the province. Building access to menstrual products, particularly to protect those who face financial barriers, will make a big difference for women and girls across the province.
I was pleased to be joined by the officials from the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association and Prince Albert community members at the opening of the Community Rink Affordability Grant Program. To continue supporting Saskatchewan’s recreation infrastructure, our government is providing $1.6 million in 2023-24 for the program, which provides funding for community-owned indoor skating and curling rinks. In 2022-23, a total of 581 ice surfaces received funding, including 376 skating rinks and 205 curling rinks. In Prince Albert, nine rinks received funding through the program last year. A $2,500 grant is available for each ice surface, per year for municipally owned facilities, schools, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations.
I was also honoured to bring greetings at the very first National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Conference in Saskatoon on November 7. FASD is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and impacts approximately four per cent of the Canadian population. This year, our government is investing nearly $3.5 million to continue our efforts in strengthening FASD prevention and support in our province.
We continue to move forward through our funded projects in Saskatchewan’s urban centres to provide intensive FASD prevention programs. These programs offer a wide range of services such as outreach, prenatal and postnatal care, social support, addictions and mental health services, early childhood development and pediatric rehabilitative therapies.
As the fall session continues, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, questions and concerns. These conversations inform government policy and help me continue to represent your best interests in the Legislature. Please contact my office at 306-763-7677 or email@example.com. Or you are always welcome to stop by the office at #7, 598 15th Street East here in PA.