On November 8, SUMA met with Premier Scott Moe to bring hometown concerns to the head of the provincial government.
There were many topics discussed.
- A consultation protocol agreement to give municipalities a seat at the table: This agreement would lay out a process to be followed every time the government is making decisions that affect municipalities. It would lay out how many days are given to consult, what the triggers are for consultation, and the overall process for such consultation.
- The next municipal election date. SUMA continues to advocate that municipalities be given the ability to choose their own date based on what works best for their community type and region. Based on feedback from Saskatchewan’s cities, towns, and villages, SUMA has been advocating for a May election date for cities and a September 2024 election date for towns and villages.
- Mental health and addictions: The importance of treating mental health and addictions as a health care issue, and expanding services to deal more proactively with mental health issues. Premier Moe spoke to expanding community supports for those coming out of addictions, as well as the need for additional addictions treatment beds in the province. The connection betweem mental health and fundamental needs, such as housing, was also discussed.
- Small-urban health services: Specifically, the issues around on-call pay rates for paramedics and living arrangements while serving in small communities were discussed, as well as hospital closures and ambulance black outs in these communities. On healthcare in general, Premier Moe spoke about plans to improve both recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals by ensuring staffing levels are sufficient to reduce overall overtime amounts and improve work/life balance for those in the healthcare sector.