Letter To Premier Scott Moe Regarding COVID-19 Concerns
**This letter was sent to Premier Scott Moe on Friday, March 20th, 2020**
Premier Scott Moe:
On behalf of the approximately 23,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan, we want to first thank you for all that you’re doing to protect the citizens of our province during this time. We agree that, by taking decisive action early, we will help flatten the COVID-19 epidemiological curve and save lives. We are, however, very concerned about the people and families we support and want to ensure that the Government of Saskatchewan takes appropriate actions to protect those with intellectual disabilities as we move through this crisis.
Specifically, we would ask that you consider the following:
A Statement to Healthcare Workers: While we are grateful to all of the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic, we also have to acknowledge that some of the people we support have faced discrimination and unfair treatment by the healthcare system in the past. We ask that the Government of Saskatchewan create messaging for healthcare workers that encourages them to be mindful of the unique needs of persons with intellectual disabilities.
SAID Employment Insurance Exemption & Emphasis on Assistance: Most of the people we support rely on government funding and supports in order to meet their basic needs. We would ask that the Government of Saskatchewan assure these individuals that all benefit payments will continue without interruption. We would also ask that the government consider temporarily waiving reporting requirements for ongoing benefits, including medical forms and financial updates. Further, we ask that the Ministry of Social Services consider making the emergency Employment Insurance recently announced by the federal government exempt income for SAID beneficiaries.
Communications for Those with Disabilities: The government has been doing an incredible job communicating with the public regarding updates on COVID-19 case numbers as well as the daily actions that are being taken to keep us safe. As we move forward through this crisis, we ask that the government take steps to enhance the public communications for those with intellectual disabilities and their families. This could include addressing the issues that affect them in daily press briefings as well as creating plain language statements and resources.
By implementing these considerations, we feel that the Government of Saskatchewan will be able to better serve persons with intellectual disabilities while also keeping them informed, reassured, and calm.
In closing, we’d also like to assure you that Inclusion Saskatchewan stands with the Government of Saskatchewan as well as all people with intellectual disabilities within this province. Our organization has prepared for over 65 years for this crisis and is ready to support you and the people of this province in any way that we can.