The Saskatchewan Minister of Health has announced a new rebate program, developed to help people afford out-of-province pediatric care. 

With several vacancies in pediatrics in Saskatchewan, some of the more complex pediatric procedures and surgeries are only available outside of the province. The provincial government is now offering rebates. can reach up to $2,000 per trip or per procedure for a child and one caregiver, intending to ease the financial burden. 

The new program was announced on Wednesday and will work retroactively with a start date of April 1; the same as the beginning of the budget. 

Minister of Health Everett Hindley spoke on the reason for the program. 

“We recognize that's for some of these families and these patients, they don't have any other options, so we don't want the financial barrier to prevent them from getting the treatment that they need when we're not able to provide it,” Hindley explained. 

According to Hindley, vacancies in several centres may be causing the need for more out-of-province pediatric care, and this is a way of combatting the challenges that come with it. 

“We have several vacancies that we're working to fill, I'm confident we'll get those filled in the in the not-so-distant future,” stated Hindley. “That's an example where as a result of the of those vacancies, children that suffer from those complications need to be referred elsewhere, and so they have to go to other provinces to get that treatment.” 

He noted that the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatchewan is a strong facility, but there are also some complicated procedures that simply cannot be provided here.