Two resolutions related to poverty passed at provincial Catholic Women’s League convention

By Diane Coté, Social Justice Chair, Saskatoon Diocesan CWL Council

Concern for the increasing number of homeless/houseless people in Saskatchewan was expressed through two resolutions at the provincial convention of the Saskatchewan Catholic Women’s League (CWL) held June 2 and 3 in North Battleford.

The resolutions were submitted by the Saskatoon Diocesan Council and focused on recommending changes to the Saskatchewan Income Support Program (SIS).

The first resolution urges the Saskatchewan provincial government to increase the exemption of monthly income earned for SIS clients.  Currently monthly earned income exemptions are $375 for a single person and $500 for a family.  If more is earned, assistance benefits are clawed back, lessening the incentive to work in order to make ends meet.

The second resolution urges the Saskatchewan provincial government to reinstate or to give the option of direct payments to landlords and utility companies for SIS clients, and to assess how this change in policy is impacting the people who are homeless. Prior to the change in the SIS program in 2019, the government made payments directly to utility companies and landlords. This resolution is in response to the struggle of many SIS clients to manage their benefits, often insufficient to meet needs, resulting in unpaid utility bills and landlords unwilling to take the risk of renting property to them.

Both resolutions contain an Action Plan for members at all levels of the CWL including contacting the members of the government, raising our own awareness as to contributing causes and effects of homelessness and exploring what more we can do to help.

The resolutions were passed unanimously by the members in attendance.

A new 2024-2026 executive for the Saskatchewan Provincial CWL was installed at the 76th Annual Convention by retiring Past President Chantal Devine and provincial Spiritual Advisor Fr. Francis Hengen:
• President Helen Kayfish
• Donna Aldous – Vice President
• Patsy Salzl – Secretary
• Arlene Rey – Treasurer
• Wendy Dale – Faith
• Mary Kehrig – Service
• Marcella Pedersen – Social Justice
• Chantal Devine – Life Member Liaison
• Connie Crichton – Past President
• Fr. Francis Hengen – Spiritual Advisor.