Mental health was a hot topic of discussion in the Saskatchewan Legislature on Monday.
The topic of funding in regards to it was the most discussed part, as health critic Danielle Chartier asked why the government is only using half of Saskatchewan’s federal funding, about $3.1 million, for mental health initiatives this year.
Minister of Health Jim Reiter said the deferred half, the other $3.1 million, has been allocated for areas of need and as a result, will be spent a timely and wise manner.
“We were going to make sure we made use of the money,” he said. “And you’re going to see that in short order.”
“I read a list in the house of where we targeted the money that we did spend in the current fiscal year. The other money is not going to be wasted, it’s going to be added incrementally in the upcoming budget.”
That answer, however, didn’t go over to well with the leader of the Official Opposition.
Ryan Meili said the provincial government, by deferring this money, is hurting more people than they think.
“It’s a bit concerning that these funds, what had been spent, had just gone to backfill existing programs, which really wouldn’t be the intent,” noted Meili. “Then, there are a number of programs, for example the new mental health assessment unit, that are underfunded, that are drawing funding from other areas, when we’ve got this funding available.”