Legislative Report – January 23, 2013

Access to affordable, quality health care is one of the most important services a government provides for its citizens.  That is why our government has been working in conjunction with other provinces and territories to provide lower cost generic drugs.  This plan will see a great reduction in cost on six of the most commonly used drugs.  The new prices will come into effect April 1, 2013 on:


  • Atorvastatin – used to treat high cholesterol;
  • Ramipril – used to treat blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions;
  • Venlafaxine – used to treat depression and other mental health conditions;
  • Amlodipine – used to treat high blood pressure and angina;
  • Omeprazole – used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions; and
  • Rabeprazole – used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions.


By working with other provinces and territories we will save close to $10 million for Saskatchewan residents, private insurers and the provincial government.  While this is good news for Saskatchewan families we recognize that this change will impact community pharmacies.  We will work with pharmacies to identify opportunities to re-invest a portion of the savings back into the services they provide.


While it’s important to ensure people have medication that’s affordable, it’s as equally important to educate youth about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.  This is why we are continuing our efforts to reduce the use of tobacco, especially in our youth.  The Ministry of Health has launched the second phase of the youth anti-tobacco campaign which will include television, cinema ads, on-line and Facebook ads about the negative impact of tobacco use on your health.  This campaign will feature messages from Saskatchewan youth directed to the ages of 11 to 14.  This is one element of an overall effort to reduce tobacco use.  Right now, stats show that the daily smoking rates in Saskatchewan are at an all-time low.


Another important aspect of preparing our youth for successful futures is through education. To that end, our government is taking action to ensure our students have uniform instructional time across Saskatchewan.  Until now instructional times have varied throughout the province which was a noted concern for the Provincial Auditor in 2011.  After extensive consultations beginning in 2011 with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, the League of Education Administrators, Directors and Superintendents, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Saskatchewan Association of School Business the school year will now be set at 950 instructional hours.  This change will bring us in line with our western Canadian counterparts and take effect in the 2013-14 school year.