While the provincial government is working to help with the surgical backlog as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they could be getting some help from the federal government. 

On Friday, the federal government introduced Bill C-17. The bill would provide a $2 billion top-up to the provinces and territories to be used to address pandemic-related healthcare pressures, including the backlog of surgeries, medical procedures and diagnostics. The money would be paid out on a per capita basis, meaning Saskatchewan will receive if the bill passes, over $61.7 million dollars. 

In a press release issued Friday, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos stated this funding will be in addition to $4 billion for backlogs announced in March of last year.  

“In order to do this, we will want to work collaboratively with our provincial and territorial partner and focus on the needs of patients and the achievements of concrete outcomes,” Duclos added.  

In the provincial budget released on Wednesday, the government announced $21 million to help with the backlog of surgeries this year, with a goal to eliminate the backlog by 2025. It was also pointed out by Finance Minister Donna Harpauer that the expansion in the PST is anticipated to increase the revenues for the province to cover the cost to help eliminate the surgical backlog.