11/22/2012 02:40 EST | Updated 01/22/2013 05:12 EST

Saskatchewan social workers to diagnose addictions, some mental health disorders

REGINA - Changes are underway to allow social workers in Saskatchewan to diagnose addictions and certain mental health disorders.

Social Services Minister June Draude (DROW'-dee) has introduced legislative amendments that would let qualified social workers diagnose conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety disorders.

Draude says the change will reduce wait times for people needing mental health services, especially in rural and remote areas.

The Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers says up to 50 social workers may qualify to perform diagnoses.

Draude says those social workers will have at least a master's or graduate degree along with additional clinical training.

The minister says Alberta and British Columbia already have similar rules in place.