The Government of Saskatchewan made several announcements Thursday about financial and living relief measures for people affected by COVID-19.
The province says they will temporarily halting evictions and suspending enforcement measures on fines.The rules, which are already in effect, are designed to help make sure people have both financial and living arrangements to take necessary precautions.
The Office of Residential Tenancies will no longer be taking eviction applications due to missed/late rent or other non-urgent claims. All previously scheduled hearings for these non-urgent claims have also been cancelled. The only time a hearing will proceed currently is when there is a suspected health or safety risk from violence or damage to the property. Tenants will also be able to have a hearing if they’ve been locked out by their landlord or their landlord has been accused of not providing essential services such as power and water.
Renters who cannot, or have not, paid their rent during the state of emergency will have to pay in full once it is over.
Changing Provincial fine collection and late payment fees
Courts will no longer be accepting fine payments in person and enforcement measures will be suspended for the next six months. These fines include
- Late payment fees
- Files sent to SGI related to driver’s licenses suspensions
- Files sent to the Canada Revenue Agency for set off
- Files sent to Collection Agencies
This does not mean that fines do not need to be paid, however. Residents who can are strongly encouraged to use the Saskatchewan payment website , calling or mailing their payment to the address on the back of their ticket.
Court offices will still be open to receive bail and restitution payments. People needing to do this should call in advance.
In addition to the financial announcements for residents, the Saskatchewan and Federal Governments are committing $28 million towards funding vaccine research in the province.
This money will go to the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac).
VIDO-Intervac was was the first to isolate the COVID-19 with the help of the Public Health Agency of Canada and a research facility in Toronto. They anticipate knowing if the vaccine works in an animal model by mid-April. Clinical testing can start once VIDO-InterVac provides enough preliminary data for Health Canada to determine the candidate vaccine is safe in humans.
As of March 26th, the province has nine new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 95. Three people have also recovered, though the Government adds more may be reported to Public Health. So far, 6,915 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.