Until recently, Saskatchewan seemed to be one of the few Canadian provinces taking a measured approach to COVID-19 mitigation and policy enforcement. That, however, has taken a drastic turn.
Saskatchewan is currently creating a COVID Enforcement Team, made up mostly of retired police officers, to assist in the enforcement of health order violations, as well as the transport of citizens required to go to an isolation site.
Or in this case, the detainment facility being set up a the hospital in North Battleford.
The enforcement positions are being offered at the pay rate of $38/hour, which works out to approximately $79,000/year with a full-time schedule, though these positions are contract-based. Of note is that nationally, similar positions are being offered at salaries of between $70,000-$114,000/year.
Putting aside the national numbers, the provincial cost of this project will be enormous for taxpayers, and there is no full budget provided in the 77 page document available to the public that outlines the details of this project.
There is also no end date provided, nor a description of the metrics that will be used to determine when these measures will be necessary until — is it a certain number of cases? Hospitalization stats? Also, what if the government instead spent this money on directly funding extra measures, training, etc. in health care?
But wait — there’s more! The province also has a user-friendly ‘snitch line’ reporting system online, for citizens who wish to report individuals or businesses breaking COVID-19 rules or mandates, whether it be with regards to masking, the new proof-of-vaccination policy, or other public health orders. Great for hall monitor types everywhere!
So the question is — among many others — will this actually help citizens improve their health outcomes, as promised? Or is this just another way to divide us, place blame and punish citizens who do not comply?