MLA Report — Prince Albert Northcote

By Alana Ross

As the festive season approaches, and we make plans to gather in our workplaces, with family and friends, our government is encouraging you to share seasonal greetings and not COVID-19.

Holiday planning should consider the vaccination status of your guests as well as the risk for those who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. With the availability of the free rapid test kits please consider testing ahead of any gatherings.  Keep well-ventilated indoor gatherings small, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.

If you’re not feeling well, please stay at home, and seek testing for even the mildest of symptoms. 

Children aged five to 11 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.  Getting your children immunized is the best tool available to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus while preventing severe illness.  A parent or guardian consent will be required.

Find a vaccination clinic near you and give the gift of protection from COVID-19 to yourself, your friends and family. 

Our government has partnered with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and Federated Co-operatives Limited to provide thousands of free rapid antigen test kits through 41 Co-op locations across the province for public use. The kits are currently on-site and ready for pickup.

Rapid test kits are also available free of charge for regular at-home screening of COVID-19 at more than 150 locations across the province, including local chambers of commerce, municipal offices, fire halls, Canalta Hotels, as well as many local malls and public libraries.

I encourage you to pick up a rapid test kit and help keep your family and friends safe.

As part of our government’s commitment to expanding addiction services, we have increased access of take-home test kits for fentanyl and benzodiazepine to help curb the number of overdose deaths in our province. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more toxic than other opioids.  Of 149 confirmed accidental drug toxicity deaths in Saskatchewan in 2021, 108 (72 per cent) involved fentanyl.  People who use drugs often do not know if fentanyl is present.  It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.

A negative result on a test strip does not guarantee the substance is safe.  Test strips only check if certain fentanyl or benzos compounds are present in the portion of the drugs testedStrips are now available in 30 locations across the province. To find the closest location for pickup visit

Our provincial and federal governments recently announced more affordable child-care will be provided through licensed facilities. For families with children aged 0 – 5, this will reduce their out-of-pocket fees by about half, retroactive to July 1, 2021. This is the first step toward reaching an average $10 a day licensed child care by 2025-26.

Unregulated providers are encouraged to register with the Ministry of Education so they can qualify for additional funds to lower fees for the families they support.

Our government recently introduced a new policing initiative to target gang-related criminal activity entering the province through trafficking corridors. The Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT) is a specialized intelligence-led enforcement team dedicated to addressing illegal weapons, drugs, and human trafficking. 

The STRT will be made up of 30 RCMP officers, six municipal police officers, two criminal analysts, and three support staff, for a total of 41 new permanent positions. Three offices will be strategically located in Lloydminster, Estevan and Swift Current with municipal STRT resources in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

These locations were chosen based on their proximity to provincial boundaries and established trafficking corridors. Municipal STRT resources will also be located in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

This initiative will cost $2.1 million for 2021-22 and approximately $6.4 million annually in each subsequent fiscal year. This is entirely new funding; no resources have been reallocated from other policing initiatives.

At the local level, congratulations to Capt. Ivan Nahachewsky, third-generation Ukrainian, Chaplin and Greek Catholic Priest, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his work while deployed on Operation UNIFIER from October 2019 to April 2020. The Meritorious Service Medal is given to Canadian citizens whose achievements bring honour to our country. The Canadian Armed Forces mission supports the security forces of Ukraine and assists with security force training to help improve and build their capability and capacity.

It was an honour for me to bring greetings on behalf of the Education Minister, Dustin Duncan, and the Government of Saskatchewan at the grand opening for PA Early Years Family Resource Centre and the Prince Albert Kids First office opening at Gateway Mall.

The Family Resource Centre is a place where families with children (0 to 5) can be comfortable, the kiddos can play, and parents can ask questions about the early years and find links to the community. These valuable services are provided at no cost for all families.

May your home be filled with the joy of the Christmas Season. I wish you a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you have questions, comments, concerns or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, I encourage you to contact our Constituency Office located at 7 – 598 15th St. E. We can be reached by telephone at 306-763-7677 or