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Covered Population

Saskatchewan Health Covered Population


The Covered Population is based on eligibility for health insurance benefits in Saskatchewan. All residents of Saskatchewan are included except: (a) members of the Canadian Armed Forces, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and inmates of federal prisons, all of whom are covered by the federal government; and (b) people not yet meeting the residency requirement (coverage begins on the first day of the third calendar month following their move to Saskatchewan). Saskatchewan residents moving elsewhere remain eligible for coverage for the same period, and anyone whose coverage extends through June (i.e. who left the province April 1st or later) is included in the report. In the case of death, people who had coverage any time in June are included.


The 1998 Covered Population book introduced a change in the method of reporting Registered Indian populations (a "Registered Indian" is a person who is registered under Section 6 of The Indian Act and who has been assigned a ten digit number in the Indian Registry). In past reports, all Registered Indian persons were included under the summary category "Reserves", and the populations reported under the residence code of each band were based on Registered Indian status and band of origin. Beginning in 1998, Registered Indian persons have been reported on the basis of place of residence. The population under "Reserves" reflects our best estimate of the Registered Indian population living on Saskatchewan reserves, with the population of individual reserves shown by regional health authority (please see the following page for an explanation of residence code assignment to Registered Indian persons).



The 2007 Covered Population was run using the Person Registry System (PRS). The design of the PRS provides flexibility to collect information on multiple addresses and to distinguish between residence and correspondence addresses. The residence code carried on the PRS is assigned based on the following hierarchy:
1. land location (e.g. NW ΒΌ Section 1, Township 8, Range 7, West of 2nd Meridian),
2. residence address (which may or may not also be a correspondence address), and
3. correspondence address.


A residence code is a 5 digit numeric code which uniquely identifies each city, town, village, rural municipality (RM) and First Nation in Saskatchewan. For RMs, cities, towns and villages (except northern villages), the first 3 digits of the code are the communitys RM number. RMs are numbered, for the most part sequentially, from east to west and south to north (please see Map of Health Districts and Rural Municipalities, page 4). These numbers range from 001 through 622. The RM itself is always assigned a fourth and fifth digit of 10. Cities are assigned numbers in the 20s, towns in the 30s, and villages in the 50s and 60s. For example, the RM of Orkney (244) is assigned residence code 244 10, the City of Yorkton 244 27, the Town of Springside 244 30, and the Villages of Ebenezer and Willowbrook 244 51 and 244 61 respectively. Outside the RM structure, residence codes beginning with 7 are assigned to First Nations. The fourth and fifth digits of these codes refer to their zone, designated by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (please see Appendix 1). It is important to note that residence codes are assigned to uniquely identify First Nations, not reserves. Where a First Nation has more than one parcel of land, these cannot be distinguished from each other under the current residence code system. This creates difficulty, especially where a First Nations land holdings fall into more than one regional health authority. A correction was able to be made in the case of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation (please see below). There is no RM structure in northern Saskatchewan. Northern communities are grouped into five broad geographic areas and assigned residence codes beginning with 801 through 805. Northern villages are assigned fourth and fifth digits in the 70s.


The boundaries of rural municipalities and regional health authorities are not coterminous. In rural areas, the rural municipality is the smallest geographic unit about which information is collected. This means that they can only be apportioned across RHAs instead of being assigned to a specific RHA, as is done with cities, towns and villages. Where an RM crosses regional health authority boundaries, the RMs population is divided among RHAs in proportion to the RMs land area. In the absence of any additional information about the distribution of population within the RM, every five-year age and sex group is apportioned this way. Please see Appendix 2 for a list of split RMs and page 4 for a map showing their locations.


Cases where the correspondence address is different from the residence address, and only the correspondence address is available can result in inaccuracies in the distribution of the covered population at the residence code level.
If a person resides in a rural municipality, picks up their mail in a village, town or city, and only provides Saskatchewan Health with a correspondence address, that person will be assigned the residence code for the village, town, or city, rather than for the rural municipality. This is probably the reason that the covered population of 189 10 RM Lumsden is lower than the 2001 Statistics Canada census count, but the covered populations of 189 30 Lumsden and 189 31 Regina Beach are higher than the 2001 Statistics Canada census counts, for example.
If a person resides in a small village, picks up their mail in a larger centre, and only provides Saskatchewan Health with a correspondence address, that person will be assigned the residence code for the lager centre rather than the village where they reside. This is the most likely cause for the covered population of 159 50 Grand Coulee and 312 51 Manitou Beach being lower than the 2001 Statistics Canada census counts, for example.
In some northern Saskatchewan communities, such as 801 73 Stony Rapids, 802 71 Dillon, 802 73 Turnor Lake, 803 75 Patuanak, 804 30 La Ronge, 804 70 Air Ronge, 804 73 Southend, 804 74 Stanley Mission, 804 75 Timber Bay, 805 70 Cumberland House, and 805 72 Pelican Narrows, that have surrounding reserves, it is difficult to assign an accurate residence code with only correspondence address information. At present, no reallocation of Registered Indian persons in northern Saskatchewan is done because of the difficulty in distinguishing reserves from northern towns and villages. As a result, the covered population tends to overestimate the population of these towns and villages and underestimate the populations of the surrounding reserves.
In all of these cases, the accuracy of the Covered Population report can be improved if more residence address information is collected and recorded.

Please Note: 2005 was the most recent health card renewal. Through the renewal process, the provincial health registry was updated and persons who ceased to be eligible for Saskatchewan Health coverage were removed from the list of beneficiaries. Population decreases have been observed following previous health card renewal years as is demonstrated by the information on page 6. The Covered Population figures have been closest to Statistics Canada population estimates in the years following a health card renewal (i.e. 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006). The next health card renewal year will be 2008.

For further information