Report from the Legislature – February 13, 2013

In the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth, our government committed to doubling agri-exports by 2020.  To achieve this goal we need to give our agricultural producers the tools they need to succeed, which is why we were proud to announce record coverage and additional enhancements to the 2013 Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Program.   The 2013 crop insurance budget is a record $198 million.  Coverage levels are also increasing – from $174 per acre last year to a record $194 per acre this year.  That’s more than double the coverage offered when we first took office in 2007.   Other enhancements include increasing yields for oats and hard red spring wheat; increasing establishment benefits for field peas, canola and identity-preserved canola; and increasing the insurable area for soybeans and the corn heat unit program.  Past improvements like the Unseeded Acreage Benefit (up to $100 per eligible acre) will also continue.  Saskatchewan’s agriculture producers play an important role in our province’s economy and our government is taking action to ensure that continues.

This year’s Crop Insurance deadline is March 31.   For more information, head to your local Crop Insurance office, visit the website at or call 1-888-935-0000.

Another important component of the Growth Plan is investing in education.   To that end, I am pleased to announce that more than 4,000 Saskatchewan students are benefitting from the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship Program.     By the end of this fiscal year, we estimate as many as 8,000 students will access the program, a key promise in our 2011 campaign platform.  The Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship is available to all grade 12 grads, providing them with a scholarship of up to $500 per year to a lifetime maximum of $2,000 over 10 years to help cover the costs of their post-secondary education.      This year alone, our government is providing more than $100 million in support for students through student loans, bursaries, grants and scholarships.   These young men and women are an important part of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth – by supporting them, we are investing in a bright future for our province.

You don’t have to look far to find the signs of positive growth.   Most recently, we learned that in 2012, housing starts were the highest they had been since the 1970s, at 9,968.  Between January 2012 and January of this year, the number of jobs in Saskatchewan increased by nearly 25,000. That’s the highest growth rate among the provinces.   There were almost 1.1 million visits to in January.   And the Conference Board of Canada is predicting Saskatchewan and Alberta will lead the country in terms of salary increases this year.  Saskatchewan truly is the place in Canada to live, work and raise a family.