Earlier this year, the Government of Saskatchewan announced in the provincial budget it would cut funding to funeral services for people on the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) and the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability Program (SAID) from the flat rate basic fee of $3,850 to $2,100. That change was slated to take place on July 1.
After months of working with the Saskatchewan Board of Funeral Homes to address concerns raised by the cut, the Ministry of Social Services is now implementing changes to its policy.
“We do believe that this is fair. Instead of saving a million dollars, like we originally planned, this will take us down to $400,000,” Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said Monday.
“The policy decisions that were made today were made with an earnest effort.”
The flat rate basic fee of $2,100 will remain, but the ministry will now also:
- Allow payments to a maximum of $700 on top of the $2,100 flat fee for funeral services/rituals when requested by next of kin (if there is no next of kin, friends may request a service)
- Allow payments to a maximum of $700 on top of the $2,100 flat fee for embalming when it is determined by the funeral home that embalming is required
- Allow payments to a maximum of $925 on top of the $2,100 flat fee for cremations
- Reduce mileage rates for travel that is more that 20 kilometres to match the current Public Service Commission rate (42.83 cents/kilometre and 46.12 cents/kilometre north of the 54 parallel)
The province said there are circumstances where a body would need embalming and cremation on top of the funeral services. If this is the case, the payments could total up to $4,425.