Investing in building health literacy

We envision a future where there is equitable access to health and wellness information for everyone, and each person in Saskatchewan understands how to navigate their healthcare effectively.

Investing in and Acting as a Catalyst for Change in Health Literacy

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, communicate, process, understand and act upon basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions (click here to learn more). It’s a targeted approach to community wellness that allows one to impact change on a fundamental level.

Saskatchewan Blue Cross understands that healthy communities are prosperous communities, and that individual wellness can be improved by informed decision making.  Unfortunately, not everyone has the same access to information and services, nor do they have the same capacity to understand it. Take a moment to consider:

  • How well do you understand our healthcare system?
  • Would you know where to go for help if you or a loved one was having a mental health crisis?
  • Have you ever struggled to understand a medical diagnosis or prescribed recovery process?
  • Put yourself in the shoes of a new Canadian citizen, who may not speak fluent English or a senior citizen who may not have the tools to research online.
  • Imagine living in a remote location without access to a family physician, where doctors from outside the community are only available on a sporadic fly-in basis.
  • How do you separate fact from fiction when researching health information online?

These are all challenges that affect our ability to make positive health and wellness choices. The Community Investment program’s goal is to create strategic partnerships to support tools and resources that will help close health literacy gaps within Saskatchewan.

Explore our health literacy partnerships

Taking action toward whole health and wellness requires each of us to have access to, understand and use health information. That’s why Saskatchewan Blue Cross proudly supports organizations and initiatives working to improve health literacy in communities across Saskatchewan.

Health literacy

Lung Saskatchewan’s Long Term COVID Project

Some people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus can experience long-term effects from their infections. This is known as post COVID, and can include a wide range of persistent health problems.

Through support to the Lung Saskatchewan’s Long Term COVID Project, a collaboration involving the Long COVID Patient Advisory Council, the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, and the Long COVID Task Force at Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), a new website was launched in 2023 providing resources and two-way communications for those experiencing this affliction.

Learn More

211 SK

Whether it’s seeking assistance with basic needs like food, shelter, and employment, or looking for help with addictions or mental health, navigating support networks can be difficult. Through support of 211 Saskatchewan, the people of our province have access
to a free, confidential service that connects individuals to community, social, non-clinical health, and government services across the province by telephone, text, or online chat.

“Saskatchewan Blue Cross’s investment supports 211’s ongoing sustainability in our province. It ensures that we are here moving forward to support the people in Saskatchewan and to be the front door that assists them in navigating services and finding the supports they need.” – Kristin Nelson, Director of 211 Saskatchewan

Learn More

Newcomers & New Canadians

Global Gathering Place (GGP)

GGP is a drop-in non-profit centre that provides personalized, heartfelt settlement assistance to refugees and immigrants. Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports GGP to achieve its vision of a society where newcomers are fully engaged and valued through three key initiatives:

  • A Client Care Support position in the Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) program who works one-on-one with clients to help them access and navigate the health system.
  • The Cultural Health Navigators (CHNs) program, which addresses cultural sensitivities in healthcare and newcomers.
  • A bank of translated material used to facilitate interactions between clients and medical personnel.

Regina Public Library

With support from Saskatchewan Blue Cross, the Regina Public Library began creating heath literacy programming in 2022 to assist newcomers with their transition to a new country. This programming will take place in 2023 and range from how to read prescriptions and navigating vaccines to an introduction to Canadian healthcare and how to survive a Saskatchewan winter.

Translation & Interpretation Services

Most interpretation services are not covered by the federal health program for refugees and newcomers, and many support organizations do not have funding to provide interpreter services. This means
that refugees often miss appointments, attend appointments in which they do not
understand the practitioner, and do not start treatments due to poor understanding. Saskatchewan Blue Cross helps by funding translation and interpretation services at community health organizations for newcomers requiring these services. Supported projects include:

  • Regina Community Clinic
  • YWCA Prince Albert
  • Refugee Engagement and Community Health Clinic (REACH)/Saskatoon Community Clinic
  • Trycycle/Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre

In 2022, 95% of translations were provided in one of the following languages: Somali, Tigrigna, Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Affar, Arabic, Swahili, Ukrainian.

Actively Aging

Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA)

Health needs evolve as we age. Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports Health Literacy advancement for actively aging populations through support to organizations such as the SCOA. SCOA publishes an annual Directory of Services and Social Activities for Older
Adults and a Caregiver Resource Guide & Toolkit. Saskatchewan Blue Cross provides
redesign services and print funding support for editions available at the Spotlight on Seniors event and at SCOA’s office.

Saskatchewan Seniors Association

As a continuation of our support for Saskatoon Council on Aging, Saskatchewan
Blue Cross provided funding to the Saskatchewan Seniors Association Inc. (SSAI) to print and distribute copies of SCOA’s Directory of Services to each of its clubs. SSAI provides an organized forum for Saskatchewan seniors while providing leadership and partnering with other organizations that provides programs and activities that benefit seniors.

SSAI is comprised of 110 clubs throughout the province with a total membership of about 4,225.

Regina YMCA

Navigating the healthcare system can be difficult at the best of times, but it can be even more challenging for seniors who do not have computer skills. To address this issue, the Regina YMCA, with the support of Saskatchewan Blue Cross, is developing an inclusive pilot program for older adults called Seniors Health Connect. This initiative, which will be released in 2023, will increase individual Health Literacy rates and outcomes through supported connection to services, health education, and evidence-based programs.

Fall Prevention Seminars

Anyone can fall, and as we age, our risk of falling becomes greater. The good news
is that falls can be prevented. During Fall Prevention Month, Saskatchewan Blue Cross
collaborated with the Regina Community Clinic and Regina Senior Citizens’ Centre to host fall prevention seminars to increase awareness of the health impacts of falls, to prevent falls, and increase knowledge of everyday exercises to enhance strength and balance.

Gray Matters

Gray Matters is a quarterly magazine with a readership of more than 100,000 people, published by the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism (SSM), a non-profit, volunteer organization working toward quality of life for all older adults in the province. Saskatchewan Blue Cross will provide support for a targeted series of Health Literacy education articles in 2023, tailored to the health and wellness needs of aging populations.


Saskatchewan Blue Cross recognizes that it operates on treaty land throughout the province of Saskatchewan and that it has an important role to play in Truth and Reconciliation. Access to healthcare and health information is a significant issue for many Indigenous people living in remote communities, and many Indigenous people face a lack of cultural sensitivities within the healthcare system. In 2022, we formed two partnerships to begin to advance our journey in Health Literacy in these areas.

INDspire – Saskatchewan Blue Cross Indigenous Bursary

Saskatchewan Blue Cross reached a four-year agreement with INDspire to provide bursaries for six Indigenous students pursuing a career in Social Work in 2022. INDspire is a national charity that seeks to enrich Canada through Indigenous education and by inspiring achievement.

Learn More

Talking Stick App (Trycyle)

The Saskatchewan-led “By First Nations, for First Nations” Talking Stick app is a First Nations peer support platform that provides culture-based support and confidential conversations. “Every Voice Matters” is the theme of Talking Stick, which represents a commitment to language, inclusion, and self-determination, with the emphasis on job creation, skills development, and training. Saskatchewan Blue Cross, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre and TryCycle, the creator of the Talking Stick app, are committed to supporting translation services that are required to ensure the app services and information provided within it is available in multiple First Nations languages. Translations completed in 2022 include:

  • Swampy Cree
  • Woodland Cree
  • Saulteaux
  • Lakota

Youth & Educators

Recess Guardians

Youth today are facing more stress and anxiety than ever before. Bullying has become more prevalent both online and in-person and physical inactivity has become the norm. Together with Recess Guardians, Saskatchewan Blue Cross is working to make kids believe in themselves. We support Recess Guardians as they deliver programs that empower kids and get them playing. These include:

  • In-School Programs addressing inclusion and sportsmanship through games and activities.
  • Virtual Leadership Programs, offering online games and activities addressing inclusion and sportsmanship.
  • School Box and Summer Box Programs, providing schools and individuals with sports/play equipment and two months of games and activities.

Saskatoon Industry Education Council (SIEC)

We all feel nervous or worried at times. This anxiety can be a helpful feeling when it motivates us or warns us of danger, but an anxiety disorder can seriously impact our lives, including how we think, feel, and act. Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports the Saskatoon Industry Education Council (SEIC) Mind Over Matters Program, which provides training and resources for Saskatchewan educators on anxiety. SIEC collaborated with Anxiety Canada to co-develop a customized educator certification portal called My Anxiety Plan for Educators (MAPE), a resource for educators to help students struggling with anxiety.

“The MAPE resources have provided our teachers with knowledge, lessons, and confidence to embed daily instruction and strategies to support all of their students. When students are explicitly taught skills to manage anxious thoughts and feelings, they are more successful at school and in their daily lives.” – Cari Anning, Coordinator of Student Services at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools

Apply for support

Each year, Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports initiatives, events and organizations that are like-minded in their focus on empowering Saskatchewan residents on their journey to whole health and wellness. Apply for support for your initiative:

Apply for Support

Eligibility Requirements

Community Investment Initiatives

Saskatchewan Blue Cross prioritizes creating partnerships with organizations province-wide to encourage the health and wellbeing of Saskatchewan people. Explore the other pillars of our Community Investment Program.

Community Health & Wellbeing

Investing in partnerships with a focus on health services and volunteerism, with organizations dedicated to advancing the health and wellbeing of SK residents.

Diversity & Inclusion

Partnerships with organizations that honour diversity and inclusion and foster an inclusive, equitable and accessible community where everyone can feel valued, respected and supported.