In October 2014, we asked our Saskatchewan members to engage in an email and letter writing campaign requesting that the Government of Saskatchewan amend its temporary absence policy in order to increase the amount of time residents may spend outside of the province and still remain eligible for their provincial health coverage, from six months to seven months.
At the same time, the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) remained active advocating for this policy change in meetings with the Premier, the Minister of Health as well as the Human Services Policy Caucus Committee.
The CSA is pleased to announce that the Saskatchewan Government has, effective January 1, 2016, formally increased the amount of time residents may be absent from Saskatchewan, from six to seven months (over any 12-month period), while still retaining continuous provincial health coverage. Saskatchewan is now the eighth province to permit out-of-province absences over six months.
“This is a significant change for long-term travellers in Saskatchewan” said Bob Slack, President of the Canadian Snowbird Association. “Saskatchewan snowbirds will now be able to visit friends and family members outside of the province, after returning from their winter vacation, without fear of losing their provincial health coverage.”
The CSA would like to thank Premier Brad Wall and the Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Health for their support and responsiveness to this matter.
It is important to keep in mind that U.S. policy still limits the amount of time that Canadian citizens can legally spend in the United States to six months less a day, in any 12-month period.