About the EWC

Learn About the Emergency Wellness Centre

In response to the surge of homelessness in our city, compounded by COVID-19 and the increasing cold weather, the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) and several organizations partnered in a proposal to establish a Temporary Emergency Wellness Centre (EWC) – with long-term potential to help Saskatoon’s homeless population. This proposalbecame a reality; we now can support many homeless people through the Wellness Centre.

Key information about the Emergency Wellness Centre:

  • We aimed to be open for December 13, 2021, and officially opened on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
  • The Standing Policy Committee for Planning, Development and Community Services met on December 7, 2021and voted unanimously in favour of the Emergency Wellness Centre (EWC).
  • City Council expedited the process by holding a special emergency meeting on December 9, 2021, and voted unanimously to approve the Emergency Wellness Centre.
  • The starting point is helping 50 people off the streets.
  • The Saskatoon Police Service has a security and operations plan for the area around the Wellness Centre.
  • The Fire Department makes sure the building is safe for people to live in.
  • There will be 24-hour security at the EWC.
  • Drugs and alcohol will not be allowed inside the EWC.
  • Emphasis is on wrap-around supports:
    • Mental health and addictions counselling will be available.
    • Life-skills opportunities will be integrated into the housing plan.
  • There is a lease option for up to five months – terms are to December 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022, with the option to extend to April 30, weather-dependent.

Strict COVID-19 testing and safety procedures will be in place, including isolation if people test positive.

All these efforts are being made to support better those facing homelessness in our community to obtain long-term and secure housing options. 

Partner Contributions

Many partners are uniting to turn this proposal into a reality, and we want to recognize their contributions to the Temporary Emergency Wellness Centre.

City/Fire Department – Saskatoon

  1. The Standing Policy Committee for Planning, Development and Community Services will consider a lease agreement to allow the Saskatoon Tribal Council to operate a temporary Emergency Wellness Centre for $10.00 over five months at a downtown location.
  2. The temporary emergency shelter concept was developed as a safe alternative to homeless encampments that have been present in the community.
  3. The Fire Department makes sure the building is safe for people to live in.
  4. The report will be presented for approval to the Standing Policy Committee for Planning, Development and Community Services on December 7, 2021; this must be done because the proposed lease agreement is below fair market value without a public offering.
  5. The City is offering a 9,200 square foot space at 145 First Avenue North for the use of an emergency shelter/wellness centre for the next five months with a proposed rental of $10.00, subject to City Council approval on December 20th.
  6. City Council has already approved the necessary zoning requirements, allowing emergency shelters to operate.

Hoits Contracting Ltd and Aquifer Distribution Group

  1. We are providing in-kind construction services and materials to help facilitate the needs of the shelter.

Possibilities Recovery Center

Possibilities Recovery Center will provide mental health counsellors to meet guests where they are at and offer knowledge and assistance to improve their quality of life. Programs will run daily every hour from afternoon to evening.  

All programs are voluntary but will teach:

  • Basic Hygiene and life skills – personal hygiene skills, grocery shopping, meal planning etc. 
  • Basic Finances – connecting them with Social Services, how to set up and use a bank account, making and keeping a budget, 
  • Tenancy Rights – Where to look for housing, tenant’s rights and landlord’s rights.
  • Communication Skills – Effective ways to communicate to succeed. Why do anger and aggression work against you? 
  • How to use the public transit system 
  • Public Health Services – Collaborate with Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and provide referrals to the services available in our community. 
  • Mental Wellness programs – Understanding anxiety, depression, mental illnesses and where to go for support.
  • Evidence-Based Addiction Knowledge – What is addiction? Why do we become addicted? What are triggers and cravings? What supports are available. 
  • 12 Step Meetings and talking circles – Using the classic 12 step model and the Wellbriety model to incorporate Indigenous culture into the 12 steps. 
  • The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol – teaching the short and long-term effects of drugs and alcohol. 

Group-specific needs – i.e.) 2SLGBTQ support, parenting skills, etc. 

Sanctum Care Group Inc.


  • Trauma and violence informed care
  • Signs and symptoms of overdose
  • Sharps Training
  • Naloxone Training
  • Observing and monitoring persons living with complex health and social concerns

AED overview and training

  • •Donation of AED (Automated external defibrillator)

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)

The SHA will offer the regular range of services that we usually do in the community, including:

  • Public health inspection
  • Primary health assessments
  • Mental health and addictions by referral 
  • Home care services
  • Routine immunization services as appropriate 
  • Covid-19 supports for routine testing and immunization as needed

Saskatoon Police Service (SPS)

  1. The Saskatoon Police Service will provide input into the public safety services, which will be necessary and assess and respond as needed.
  2. We will build the needs of this program into our Downtown Safety Plan and will be working with the Saskatoon Tribal Council on a security plan for the area.
  3. Uniform and Alternative Response Officers will provide regular patrols.

Sawêyihtotân Outreach Team

  1. Assisting in facility and operations setup.
  2. They are establishing procedures based on best practices from the Miskasowin Youth Shelter.
  3. After-hours support for transportation and transitioning of our wahkohmakan (relative) and our wâhkômâkanak (relatives).
Learn more

To learn about our partners, their contributions, and why they are part of this project, read the full news release. (pdf)

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