Saskatchewan is spending the remainder of a $200-million contingency fund set up in the 2020 budget to help cover the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province said nearly half of the $160 million in new contingency allocations — $75.6 million — will go to the Saskatchewan Health Authority for pressures related to its COVID response.
Another $20 million from the fund will go to the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program and $17 million will be used for Tourism supports.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said drawing on the contingency fund, along with other spending needs during the fiscal year, required the issuing of $322.8 million in special warrants in February.
“These special warrants are needed for pandemic-related costs, as well as for health system requirements, AgriInvest Program payments, and highways construction and winter maintenance,” Harpauer said Monday in a statement.
“In part through these special warrants, as well as in-year appropriation approved earlier in the fiscal year, our government has drawn down the health and public safety contingency.”
Saskatchewan used $40 million from the contingency fund in the first quarter of the fiscal year for the Safe School Plan and the reopening of schools in the province.
Harpauer made today’s announcement as she prepares to table the 2021-22 budget on April 6.