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Sept. 30th marks first National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

September 29, 2021 - 11:33am

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September 29, 2021 - 11:30am

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September 30th marks the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in our country’s history. Previously, Sept. 30th has been recognized as Orange Shirt Day and wearing an orange shirt continues to be one way to acknowledge the day.

The federal government created this federal statutory holiday in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80: “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

The City of Saskatoon will be observing the stat to demonstrate a commitment to reconciliation and so that employees may participate in events that promote healing and awareness and reflect on the residential school legacy.

Saskatoon City Mayor, Charlie Clark says: “This is a day for all Saskatonians and Canadians to take time to honour the strength and resilience of Survivors of residential schools. We acknowledge the pain that they, and their families, have carried for generations. And we recognize that this pain was brought on by government policy and the churches that ran the residential schools.”  

He continues: “In naming these truths on this day, we must recommit to building a future that overcomes the colonial thinking that allowed residential schools and policies to be established. Instead, we must create relationships and systems based on mutual respect where every person is valued to be who they were meant to be.”

In order to establish and maintain a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found that “there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.”

Melissa Cote, the City’s Director of Indigenous Initiatives says: “The impacts of residential schools are felt by generations of Indigenous families. This day is a day to honour all the children who went to residential school. We need to acknowledge that it's going to take generations to heal from the trauma and effects of residential schools. It will be hard work, but important and meaningful work that we all have the responsibility to carry out.” 

The City has been actively engaged – as a municipality, Co-Chair of Reconciliation Saskatoon, and through other community partnerships – in efforts to help raise awareness about the day and in providing opportunities to participate. This Community Calendar of Events hosted on the City website contains dozens of activities and initiatives that the City and other organizations have organized. Through its work with Reconciliation Saskatoon (City as Co-Chair), new reconciliation resources are being shared such as this Personal Commitment to Reconciliation and this Pathway for Moving Forward.

Saskatoon Transit buses and other City vehicles will be displaying orange t-shirt stencils this week. The City social media channels and website are being “painted orange”. City Hall, the Prairie Wind art installation and SaskTel Centre will light up orange Sept. 29-30. The flags on City-owned facilities will be lowered to half-mast to honour Survivors, those that never made it home, and the families impacted by residential schools.

Residential school Survivor John Merasty says this about Sept. 30th: “Don’t stay at home. We need to go out to the street on Orange Shirt Day. Maybe someone will be asking, why are you wearing this shirt and you can tell them why. The students should learn about Indian people and the struggles that they lived and they are continuing living today.”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - Thursday, September 30

September 28, 2021 - 8:28am

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September 28, 2021 - 8:30am

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and hours of operation on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Wondering what’s open or closed? See full details on the City’s website.

City Hall to close early on Federal Election Day, free transit on Monday, September 20

September 17, 2021 - 9:33am

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September 17, 2021 - 9:30am

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The City of Saskatoon will be closing early next week to allow employees the statutory time to vote in the federal election.

As a result, City Hall will close all front public-facing services at 4:30 p.m. on Election Day, Monday, September 20, 2021. 

The Canada Elections Act states that employers must allow employees three consecutive hours to cast their votes while the polls are open. Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

A secure payment drop box is located outside the front doors of City Hall at 222-3rd Avenue North for customers to drop off cheque payments after hours.

To help reduce transportation barriers to voting polls, residents can ride all routes on Access, On-Demand Transit and fixed-route transit for FREE on Monday, September 20.

Find the free pass at SaskatoonTransit.ca or pick one up at the Transit Customer Service Centre, any Saskatoon Public Library, City Hall, or a Civic Leisure Centre. Simply show the pass to the operator on your phone or physically.  

Visit saskatoon.ca

Civic Services & Holiday Hours for Labour Day, Monday, September 6.

September 2, 2021 - 2:59pm

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September 2, 2021 - 3:00pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours on Labour Day, Monday, September 6. Wondering what’s open or closed? Full detail on the City’s website.

Bus Rapid Transit timeline extended due to pandemic

September 1, 2021 - 4:03pm

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September 1, 2021 - 4:00pm

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An information report being presented to the City of Saskatoon Transportation Committee on September 7, 2021, will outline the required extension to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project timeline to ensure engagement on the system will be in-depth, inclusive and accessible. This extension is necessary due to the challenges presented by COVID-19 to the public engagement process, most notably the inability to meet with partners and stakeholders in person.

“The BRT project was unexpectedly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Terry Schmidt, General Manager of Transportation and Construction. “Not being able to meet in person meant we were unable to meet our engagement principles of inclusivity and relationship building. We determined it was necessary to extend the launch date to June 2026 so we can gather the important public and staff input needed to ensure the BRT system meets the needs of our residents.”

Service launch of the BRT system was originally planned for June 2025. Public feedback is required on several areas about the planning and construction of the BRT network. It is expected that engagement opportunities will be available soon (dependent on pandemic restrictions and health orders) and will continue throughout the project. Interested residents can participate in the BRT process by signing up for the project enewsletter to stay informed about upcoming opportunities.

Visit saskatoon.ca/brt for more information on the BRT project.

Masks required on Transit & indoor City-operated facilities; City also implements new staff health, safety measures including rapid tests

August 31, 2021 - 8:33am

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August 31, 2021 - 8:30am

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To protect the health and safety of residents, customers and employees, beginning September 1 masks are required when traveling on Saskatoon Transit and when accessing indoor City-operated facilities and services. City Council approved the action at its meeting Monday, August 30 as an added safety measure to address the increasing spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

 

“Masks make a difference,” says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director, Saskatoon’s Emergency Management Organization. “As we approach the busy fall and the back-to-school activities season, it is important that we rally together to help support our health-care system. We need to do all we can to protect those who cannot be vaccinated such as children under age 12 and anyone with a health condition where vaccination is not an option.”

 

Given the current situation of COVID-19 and prevalence of the Delta variant in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Health Authority recommends masking indoors in public places, regardless of vaccination status. By wearing a mask indoors, we can continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and protect the health of our family, friends and neighbours. 

 

“Fall is a time of increased bus ridership and a popular time for participating in programs and activities in our leisure facilities,” says Goulden-McLeod. “We’ve looked at how we can safely meet the demand for our programs and services. Requiring the use of masks is an important step to protect the health and safety of our customers and staff.”

 

The City will focus on educating and informing the public about the required use of masks on Saskatoon Transit and in City-operated facilities as an added safety precaution, rather than enforcement. 

 

An additional report was shared for the information of City Council to provide an overview of the enhanced health and safety measures being reintroduced for City staff. With the lifting of the Government of Saskatchewan Public Health Orders and the rapid and uncontrolled rise of COVID-19 cases in the Saskatoon region, the City has determined that it must take a more assertive approach to staff safety than it has in the past. 

 

The new approach includes the introduction of regular mandatory COVID-19 rapid tests for all City staff who report to the workplace. Scheduled to start mid-September, mandatory testing of staff regardless of their vaccination status will provide a greater level of safety in the workplace. 

 

“Tests identify asymptomatic cases of COVID before they can enter the workplace, including in those who are fully vaccinated who are still able to catch and transmit the virus,” Goulden-McLeod says. “Rapid tests are also less intrusive and due to the way the process is designed, staff members are not required to share any personal health information with the City.”

 

City Council supported the mandatory testing for City staff and added that they would like Administration to explore the possibility of adjustments for fully vaccinated staff.

 

Also at its August 30 meeting, City Council requested that Administration explore and report back on the following items in the coming weeks:

  • The potential implementation of vaccine requirements for City staff only, in consultation with local health authorities; and 
  • Following the Government of Saskatchewan’s update on August 30, 2021 that “businesses, municipalities, venue and event organizers may request proof of vaccination to host and attend events or access their services,” to provide Council with advice on how this could apply to civic events, events in civic facilities and other relevant gatherings.

Any further impacts to City programs and services this fall resulting from enhanced health and safety measures will be shared with residents on the City’s website and social media channels. 

 

For the latest updates, visit saskatoon.ca/covid-19

City’s summer programming and attractions coming to a close

August 18, 2021 - 1:52pm

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August 18, 2021 - 1:45pm

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As the end of August approaches, the City’s summer programming and attractions will be wrapping up for the season.  The last days of operation will be:

  • Summer Youth Centres - Thursday, August 19. Closing times vary per site, visit saskatoon.ca/youthcentres for details.
  • Travelling Skateboard and Sports Program - Thursday, August 19.  
  • Summer Playground Programs & Paddling Pools - Programs at spray pad locations next schools will be staffed until Friday August 20, at 4:30 p.m.  All other summer play programs and paddling pools will close on Thursday, August 26. Last day for weekend programming is Sunday, August 22 at 5:00 p.m.  Closing times for each site vary. Visit saskatoon.ca/play for closing times.
  • George Ward Outdoor Pool - Friday, August 20
  • Mayfair Outdoor Pool - Tuesday, August 24
  • Lathey Outdoor Pool - Friday, August 27
  • Riversdale Outdoor Pool - Saturday, August 28
  • Spray Pads - Monday, September 6
  • Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen Park - Monday, September 6

Civic Services & Holiday Hours for Saskatchewan Day, Monday, August 2.

July 29, 2021 - 5:15pm

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July 29, 2021 - 5:15pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours over the holiday weekend. Wondering what’s open or closed? See full details on the City’s website.

Saskatoon Transit celebrates low floor Access Transit buses

July 29, 2021 - 3:26pm

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July 29, 2021 - 3:30pm

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Today, Saskatoon Transit celebrates a milestone on its journey towards providing more accessible options for customers with reduced mobility, providing everyone the freedom and independence to travel safely throughout the city. 

 

As part of regular transit funding, in part by the Provincial Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities (TAPD) program, Access Transit purchased two low-floor buses. These new buses allow those with reduced mobility the freedom and independence of using a ramp versus a lift or stairs to enter and exit the bus. 

 

These buses feature a ramp and an innovative INQLINE system to assist operators in boarding passengers safely. The low floor design removes the need to use a lift or stairs to gain access to the bus, creating an improved customer experience.  

 

“I’m very proud that Access Transit has incorporated low floor buses into the fleet. We are excited to see how these new vehicles will improve accessibility for our passengers,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. 

 

The addition of these buses allows Saskatoon Transit to bridge the gap between Access Transit and fixed-route transit using a “Family of Services” approach. Access Transit customers now have the option of using a ramp to enter and exit Access Transit buses allowing them to build the confidence to perhaps add the flexibility and spontaneity of fixed-route or On-Demand transit to their transportation options. The City encourages Access Transit customers to use fixed-route services as a supplement to Access Transit when it is convenient for them and when conditions allow.  

 

“We are continually working to improve our service. We want all of our customers to have safe and convenient transit options,” says Tracey Davis, Access Transit Manager. “Accessible transportation is a building block for a fair, inclusive, and equitable community. Providing as much flexibility in Saskatoon Transit’s fleet of buses improves that accessibility.” 

 

The Experience Transit Travel Training program is available for those who may be interested in adding fixed-route or On-Demand Transit to their transportation options. Experience Transit began as a pilot in mid-2017. The program is a personalized, 60-minute training to introduce people to transit and teach them how to use fixed-route transit services independently. Training is customized to fit an individual’s lifestyle, travel needs and abilities. The program includes: 

  • Trip planning 

  • Wayfinding and navigation 

  • Fares 

  • Boarding and exiting 

  • Accessible features 

  • Problem solving tips for when unexpected challenges occur 

 

To see a video of the low-floor bus ramp visit the City of Saskatoon’s YouTube channel 

Service, Savings & Sustainability: Impactful achievements despite challenging year

July 19, 2021 - 1:06pm

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July 19, 2021 - 1:00pm

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The City’s 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability (SSS Report) highlights how teams worked together, and apart, in 2020 to find new and improved ways to deliver services to residents during the pandemic while focusing on finding savings and reducing our impact on the environment.

“I am very proud of our City employees,” says Celene Anger, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. “Despite last year’s extraordinary circumstances, including a work-from-home directive impacting about 1,000 staff, they continued to find innovative ways to continue the safe delivery of essential core services to residents, maximize value for taxpayer dollars and minimize costs for the Corporation.”

“Even with the challenges of 2020, the City moved forward on several major projects including the approval of our Official Community Plan and nationally recognized Green Infrastructure Strategy,” Anger adds. “From making the switch to LED streetlights, adding GPS to our City fleet of vehicles, or the innovative ways found to administer the civic election during the pandemic - every efficiency gained and savings achieved are especially important within a year where COVID-19 greatly impacted our civic finances.”

 2020 SSS Report financial highlights include:

  • An estimated $850K in operational savings were identified through a combination of one-time overall and annual savings.
  • Saskatoon Land generated $43.7 million in sales and leasing revenues. Financial returns from Land Development operations stay in Saskatoon and are allocated for use in capital projects that would otherwise be funded through property taxes or borrowing.
  • Grant funding approvals totaled $69.8 million through a combination of federal and provincial programs.

The annual SSS Report provides highlights to City Council and the community at large on the City’s previous year’s accomplishments related to our Strategic Goal of Continuous Improvement through improved service, increased savings and found efficiencies, and successful sustainability initiatives across civic operations.

The 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability report will be presented to the Governance and Priorities Committee of City Council today, Monday July 19.

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