Saskatchewan wants to suspend welfare for fugitive violent offenders
Saskatchewan Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Christine Tell said that if all goes well, a group will be created to gather information on prolific violent offenders.
As a result of the stabbing attacks in Saskatchewan that killed 11 people in September, Saskatchewan is considering suspending social assistance for offenders with outstanding warrants.
On Thursday, the Saskatchewan government introduced the Warrant Compliance Act. If the bill passes, it will, among other things, collect information on prolific violent offenders at large, according to a statement from the province.
The discontinued benefits would include services such as income support or social housing.
After the stabbings in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, police confirmed they have been looking for Myles Sanderson, the prime suspect in the attacks, since May 2022 when he stopped seeing his assigned social worker and was classified as unlawfully at large.
In the past, the 32-year-old was serving a nearly five-year federal sentence for assault, theft, mischief and uttering threats. He was granted statutory release in August 2021.
I don't know what benefit [he received], but specifically financial assistance from the province of Saskatchewan, Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said Thursday.
< p class="e-p">We know of others who haven't been as publicized as this particular man is or was, she continued.
But if there are 1,300 Criminal Code warrants for very serious prolific offenders in our province, I am sure there is going to be […] individuals who benefit from some form of government assistance.
“When you are in violation of the law of this country and you are free and funded by the taxpayers of this province? This is madness.
—Christine Tell, Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Saskatchewan
According to the province, the Warrant Compliance Act is comparable to a similar body of law in British Columbia and Manitoba that also restricts benefits for offenders with outstanding warrants.
The new The provincial intelligence gathering team would report to the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, but would include people from many different entities, including social services, Ms. Tell said.
If all goes well, the group should begin its work in fiscal year 2023-24.
The information obtained will be shared with the police. But the province intends to ensure that the team can only request limited information about violent offenders.
There could be families involved. We don't want to negatively impact anyone else, said Minister.
Saskatchewan New Democratic Party House Leader Nicole Sarauer said his party still had questions about the bill, such as how the government defines prolific violent offenders.
According to Ms Tell, each case will be considered on an individual basis.
There's nothing that says you have to have 20 criminal code offenses before you're considered for it, she said. said. It's the nature of the offense [that counts].
With information from Theresa Kliem