How Saskatchewan’s Community Organizations Responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jul 21, 2023

By Maren Knopf

As part of the wider Remember Rebuild Saskatchewan (RRSK) project, the Build Back Better (BBB) team, funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, conducted a total of 24 semi structured interviews during April-March 2023 with service providers, managers, and leadership from human services organizations within Saskatchewan.

Interviews were collected from across the province, twelve from major urban centres (Regina and Saskatoon) and twelve from smaller cities, rural and remote locations, and non-urban First Nations communities.

The objective of interviews was to document and assess the pandemics effects on health equity in four focus areas: housing access, food security, mental health and substances use. Service providers and their respective organizations were asked how the pandemic impacted service organization, service delivery, and the people/communities which they serve​.

Preliminary findings suggest the pandemic exacerbated already existing inequities in Saskatchewan. Interviews further revealed that service delivery within focus areas were directly impacted by governmental policies and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This required responsive and creative adaptations in service delivery. Moreover, service providers and their organizations are located at the intersections of community and access to services. In such, impacts on providers results on impacts on equitable access.

“…In summary, I would just say that people are created to relate. And all of my work, wherever I am, is about building relationships. And that was taken away during the pandemic. And it was very hard to, recreate spaces for that.”

SerVice Provider

The BBB team is working on a report to be shared with community organizations and policymakers that will summarize our key findings and make some suggestions for new policies that will support organizations in anticipation of the next crisis.

With the support of community partners and agencies, we are now moving into the next phase of research with interviews across Saskatchewan focused on understanding the experience of people accessing services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.