Report from the Legislature – April 11, 2013

The potential for significant flooding remains a top priority for our government as spring slowly arrives in Saskatchewan.   The Water Security Agency’s April forecast indicates that in March there were greater than normal amounts of precipitation in certain parts of Saskatchewan.   Because of that, an above normal spring runoff is still expected for most of the province.   There are also some areas that have the potential for very high runoff and flooding, including Moose Jaw to Indian Head then south to Weyburn and from Saskatoon to North Battleford extending north to Waskisieu Lake.   The Ministry of Government Relations and the Water Security Agency continue to hold meetings in at-risk regions.   To find out if there’s a meeting planned for your area go to

Earlier this month, we announced the 2013 Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP) to provide engineering and technical assistance to municipalities while sharing the cost of permanent and temporary flood prevention projects.   For more on the EFDRP, go to  For the general public, there’s a wealth of flood preparedness information on the Spring Runoff Preparedness website, including the most recent snowpack update, guides on prepping your home, how to build a sandbag wall and municipality and band office contacts.    The address for that website is  By taking action now, we can work together to ensure you, your family and your property are protected as spring turns to summer across the Prairies.

Our government also continues to take action to ensure families in rural and remote Saskatchewan can access the healthcare services they and their loved ones need.   Recognizing that recruiting and retaining physicians outside the major centre remains a challenge, we have increased funding again for post-graduate physician training seats at the University of Saskatchewan.   Over the last six years, the number of training seats at the College of Medicine has doubled, to 120, and the number of undergrad medical education seats has increased from 60 to 100.    We have also announced a student loan forgiveness program for nurses and nurse practitioners who agree to work in communities with a population of less than 10,000 people.    Under this new program, nursing and nurse practitioners who qualify can get up to $4,000 per year in student loans forgiven, to a maximum of $20,000 over five years.   This is just one more way we are supporting healthcare providers and patients who live in smaller communities by using the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.

Another support for families is now officially in effect.  On April 4, our government kept another important promise when the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) program was officially proclaimed.    Under the SAGES program, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide a grant to a Registered Education Savings Plan at a rate of 10 per cent of the annual contribution made by a family, up to maximum of $250 a year per future student.    It’s expected up to 83,000 Saskatchewan children under the age of 18 could benefit from the SAGES program.   If we are to meet our Growth Plan need of 60,000 more skilled workers by 2020, it is critical we take action now that will make getting a post-secondary education more affordable.