The provincial budget, released this past Wednesday, included a 3.6 percent increase for Saskatchewan’s justice system. In all, $947 million is being directed to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and the Attorney General. 

Part of the increase included $220,000 for the Internet Child Exploitation Unit. The unit, founded in 2009, has a mandate to reduce Internet-facilitated child exploitation. They work to identify victimized children, and they investigate and assist in the prosecution of sexual offenders.  

The funding is to be used to bring two more investigators into the unit – one in Regina and one in Saskatoon.  

The unit has seen a more than 260 percent increase in the number of cases they handle each year, with last year seeing more than 850 cases.  

In addition to the money for the ICE unit, the provincial budget also allocated $50.7 million for the creation of a provincial protective services branch that will look to bring provincial peace officers under a single organization structure. Another $1.6 million will be used to create a warrant enforcement and suppression team aimed at high-risk offenders with outstanding warrants. There was $6.3 million for the establishment of a Saskatchewan trafficking response team and $3.2 million for expanding crime reduction teams.