File: 21-319

Robin East
Barrier Free Saskatchewan

Dear Robin

Premier Scott Moe has forwarded me your email and letter regarding critical medical triage during the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate being informed of the views of Barrier Free Saskatchewan with respect to access to care for persons with disabilities.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has policies and procedures in place for mass events. An event may trigger local expansion of beds or transfer of patients to other locations via ambulance, STARS, or fixed wing aircraft. An example of this would be the Humboldt bus crash in 2018 and the current pandemic.

In some rare cases, if an event exceeded bed, equipment and health human resource capacity, patients may be transferred to other provinces. We and our neighbors rely on each other to support emergent care needs, and agreements are in place to provide services to residents from other provinces. However, if system pressures existed such that care providers would need to triage access to critical lifesaving care, guidelines, literature and public focus groups generally support a triage plan for resource allocation that will provide the maximum benefit. The goal would be to save the most lives.

The SHA is responsible for the delivery of health services and the development of these types of frameworks. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SHA planned for worse case scenarios, which have been prevented thus far.

Ministry of Health officials indicate that these decision-making processes are based on the principles of transparency, consistency, accountability and in response to the proportion of any crisis in the system. If you would like to pursue this topic further with the SHA, I suggest that you contact them at


Paul Merriman
Minister of Health

cc:   Premier Scott Moe