For Flin Flon SK residents, there are pros and cons

In a recent article about the popularity of Pokemon GO, The Reminder referred to Super K as being in Creighton, SK. This prompted a call from Flin Flon city councillor Karen MacKinnon, who corrected the error: Super K is actually in Flin Flon, SK. 

It also raised an interesting question: What exactly is Flin Flon, SK? And how is living there different from living in Flin Flon MB?

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Greater Flin Flon is built on a correction line in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, designed as part of the federal government’s Dominion Land Survey for allocating farmland. The lines allowed for a cut in the border, roughly every 20 km, to account for the Earth’s curvature.

Because of the correction line, most of Greater Flin Flon is located in Manitoba, but the southernmost parts of the city are in Saskatchewan.

For residents of Flin Flon, SK, the border division means they live in the City of Flin Flon but are part of the province of Saskatchewan. It also means some government services available for Manitoba residents are not available to them.

Iris and Wayne Bailey have lived in Flin Flon, SK since 1969. Wayne was born and grew up in the community.

The Baileys and their neighbours can face much higher costs for outside medical care than other residents. Flin Flonners living in Manitoba are eligible to receive tax deductions for medical travel to Winnipeg, but Saskatchewan residents are not. They are eligible for deductions for travel to Saskatchewan cities, but regular air travel isn’t offered from Flin Flon to Saskatchewan cities.

“Manitobans can go for $75, and we go for $975,” said Iris.

Flin Flon, SK residents pay local property taxes, but are ineligible for Manitoba rebates. 

“Manitoba residents get a rebate on their property taxes. People in Saskatchewan don’t get a rebate,” said Wayne. “We pay the full amount, and we don’t know where it goes or why.”

The town’s status in Saskatchewan can lead to issues with registration in various fields. 

“We have Saskatchewan medical care, Manitoba Blue Cross, and we have a Manitoba postal code,” said Iris. “When you put all this together and you apply for something, it won’t compute. It tells you that you don’t live there.” 

The couple has Manitoba Blue Cross because Wayne, a former Hudbay employee, and Iris, a former Flin Flon School Division employee, both worked in Manitoba.

According to the 2011 census, 5,363 people called Flin Flon, MB home, while only 229 people lived in Flin Flon, SK – around four per cent of the city’s total population.

Flin Flon, SK observes Daylight Savings Time to be on the same time as Flin Flon year-round, as does Creighton, SK. This means that during the summer, the local communities are in a different time zone from the rest of the province. 

Some youth sports clubs use the dual-province status to be eligible for tournaments in both provinces.

Flin Flon, SK residents do have some advantages. They are serviced by Manitoba Hydro, but have Saskatchewan registration on their vehicles. Both cost less than their  cross-
border counterparts. 

Residents can also have their choice between SaskTel and MTS cell and internet service. 

Flin Flon, SK receives the same municipal services as Flin Flon, MB, including garbage pickup, street maintenance and
hospital usage. 

“We’re included in Flin Flon for the hospital and the pool, the ballparks, all that,” said Iris. “There’s no issue with any of that stuff.”

While Saskatchewan-ians in Flin Flon vote both provincially and federally in Saskatchewan, they vote in Flin Flon’s municipal elections – one Flin Flon, SK resident, Guy Rideout, now serves on Flin Flon city council.

Overall, the Baileys, along with their Saskatchewan neighbours, face distinct challenges, but are still firm Flin Flonners. “We’re still part of Flin Flon,” said Iris. “Flin Flon looks after us.”

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