Social Assistance Summaries

Saskatchewan
Last updated: June 2021

The Social Assistance Summaries series tracks the number of recipients of social assistance (welfare payments) in each province and territory.

For the total incomes available to those relying on social assistance, visit the Welfare in Canada report.
 

Program details

Social assistance is the income program of last resort. It is intended for those who have exhausted all other means of financial support. Every province and territory has its own social assistance program(s) and no two are the same.

In Saskatchewan, there are four social assistance programs:

  1. Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP)
  2. Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA)
  3. Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)
  4. Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)

Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP)

SAP is a basic income support program for families and individuals who, for various reasons, cannot meet basic living costs. The program has an adult allowance which includes food, clothing, travel, personal, and household items. In addition, there is a shelter allowance which varies depending on the community, accommodations (shared or not), employability, and family size. A variety of other financial benefits as well as Supplementary Health Benefits are provided.

On July 15, 2019, the Government of Saskatchewan suspended intake of new SAP applications. The program will wind down in the summer of 2021.

Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)

SIS was introduced on July 15, 2019 and is designed to help people overcome challenges and move to employment or participation in their communities to the best of their abilities. The SIS program is simpler, more transparent and client-friendly, and is aimed at supporting clients differently towards achieving greater independence and a better quality of life. SIS recipients also receive Supplementary Health Benefits.

Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA)

TEA was introduced in 2003 as an income support program to assist applicants participating in pre-employment programs and services or those who are “job ready” and seeking employment. TEA recipients are given a fixed allowance to provide for basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and utilities. Recipients are expected to budget the benefits to meet their monthly needs. TEA recipients also receive Supplementary Health Benefits.

On July 15, 2019, the Government of Saskatchewan suspended intake of new TEA applications. The program will wind down in the summer of 2021.

Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)

SAID was designed in collaboration with members of the disability community. It provides an income for persons with significant and enduring disabilities separate from SAP. It was introduced in 2009 for individuals in residential care settings and expanded in June 2012 to include people who live independently.

Eligibility for the SAID program is determined by financial criteria as well as a disability impact assessment. SAID benefits include living income benefit for basic needs, a disability needs benefit, and Supplementary Health Benefits.

Statistics

How many people claim social assistance?

On average, there were about 38,100 cases (families and single adults) in Saskatchewan’s social assistance programs during 2019-20. Around 43 per cent (16,200) received support through the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID), 34 per cent (12,901) received support through the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP), 14 per cent (5,541) received support through the Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA), and the remaining 9 per cent (3,433) received support through the Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS). The total number of social assistance cases in Saskatchewan has been rising since 2011-12.

Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP)

During 2019-20, on average, there were about 12,900 cases in the SAP, and about 25,000 beneficiaries (individual claimants, their partners, and dependent children). The number of cases and beneficiaries will continue to dip as the program winds down by the summer of 2021 to be replaced by SIS. These numbers have fallen almost every year over the last two decades.

Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)

SIS was launched on July 15, 2019, and will gradually replace SAP and TEA as they wind down by the summer of 2021. In 2019-20, there were just over 3,400 cases in the SIS program and about 5,700 beneficiaries.


Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA)

On average, there were just over 5,500 cases in the TEA program in 2019-20, and about 10,800 beneficiaries. The program saw its first dip in four years because it stopped accepting applications on July 15, 2020, as the TEA will wind down by the summer of 2021 to be replaced by SIS.


Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)

During 2019-20, on average, there were 16,200 cases in the SAID program and about 19,600 beneficiaries. These numbers rose sharply in the two years after eligibility was expanded in 2012 and have risen at a slower pace since then.




Data notes

  • SAP - Saskatchewan Assistance Program
  • TEA - Transitional Employment Allowance
  • SAID - Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability
  • SIS - Saskatchewan Income Support
  • Transitional Employment Allowance was introduced in 2003.
  • Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability was introduced in 2009 and expanded in June 2012.
  • The data reflects the average number of cases and beneficiaries over the fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • The numbers do not include First Nations living on reserves.
  • On July 15, 2019, the Government of Saskatchewan launched the Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) program and suspended the intake of new Saskatchewan Assistance Program and Transitional Employment Allowance applications.
  • Click here for more information about how the data is gathered