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Catholic health association loses grant

By Frank Flegel

11/02/2016

MOOSE JAW — The Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS) is another casualty of the provincial government’s revenue problems. The $85,000 grant it usually receives will not be paid this year.

“That’s about a third of budget,” said outgoing president Therese Jelinski as she addressed the CHAS Oct. 20 annual meeting held here.

The group received the news Oct. 3, three months after the beginning of its new fiscal year. “We will have to be creative to replace that funding,” said incoming president Chris Donald in an interview with the PM.

CHAS executive director Sandra Kary said the organization will approach the government and request at least the first quarter payment be restored.

“We feel that money is still owed to us in all fairness,” said Kary. She said the options are to increase revenue or cut costs. “We may have to do a bit of both,” said Kary.

She noted the conference theme is Hope Floats, “so we’re quite hopeful that we’re going to find a way forward.”

The newly acclaimed board met later in the afternoon and immediately began to address how to handle the shortfall. “We’re looking to asking Catholics to help us find a way,” said Donald. Funding is just one of the challenges CHAS will be dealing with this year. There’s also the assisted suicide legislation and the continuing issue of abortion.

“There’s going to be pressure on Catholic institutions to be required to perform physician-assisted suicide; there’s going to be increased pressure on doctors to perform it even though it’s against their conscience and CHAS has been a voice with respect to those issues and we need to continue to be that voice.”

Donald believes Emmanuel Care, which, through the bishops of Saskatchewan owns Saskatchewan Catholic Health facilities, will not permit physician assisted suicide in its institutions but he believes a Catholic solution will be found. “I think there are people of goodwill out there who understand our position and we can work together to find a way around it.”

The conference also heard from three keynote speakers and one billed as an inspirational speaker (see related story).

Donald, a Saskatoon lawyer, was acclaimed as the 2016/17 president of CHAS. All board members were acclaimed: Mary Deutscher, PhD, is a clinical ethics fellow, Centre for Clinical Ethics, Toronto, and also serves on several Saskatoon diocese committees; Lesley Larrea is president of the Prince Albert Kiwanis Musical Festival Association, an RN and a certified health executive; Ethna Martin is a Saskatoon RN and a member of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry; Terrie Michaud is an RN and currently an administrator at North Battleford’s long-term care facility Villa Pascal. Past president Therese Jelinski will also serve on the board.

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