Report from the Legislature – June 12, 2013

Saskatchewan’s economy continues to grow and provide employment for more people than ever before.  May 2013 was a record month for employment rates in Saskatchewan.  More than 560,900 people were working in the province; full-time employment increased by 15,800 on a year-over-year basis.

  • Regina’s employment was up by 8,100;
  • Saskatoon employment was up by 12,000; and
  • Off-reserve Aboriginal employment was up by 1,100 for four consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

This increase in employment rates shows that industry is confident and investing in Saskatchewan.  That confidence has also resulted in a record 17,767 jobs being posted on in May 2013.   There are employment opportunities available in 349 communities throughout the province, an increase of almost 6 per cent over the same period last year.

Saskatchewan’s natural resources continue to be a significant driver of our province’s strong economy. In June, the sale of petroleum and natural gas rights brought in $9.6 million in revenue for the province.  So far in 2013, land sales have generated $29.3 million. The Weyburn-Estevan area received the most investor interest, generating $7.9 million in land sales.

One by-product of our growing economy is the increased use of our highway system.   Specifically, there are more heavy trucks on the road.  To that end, Highway 26 near Vonda will be built to primary weight pavement.  This rebuilt highway will provide a smoother surface that will improve safety for families and industry alike.

The Meadow Lake area will soon see improvements to Highway 55.  This investment of nearly $60 million will provide for grading and paving including a 26 km section from the Alberta border to 10 km east of Pierceland, and another 26 km section from Peerless due west, with the two projects meeting in the middle.  The highway improvements also include a short 1.4 km section of Highway 26 just south of the Highway 55 north junction.  The projected date for completion is fall 2014.

Paving project on Highways 6 and 41 will soon be underway in the Melfort-Tisdale area.  The heavily traveled Highway 6 south of Melfort will be repaved between Pleasantdale and Naicam.  Highway 41 near Ethelton will see improvements from the junction of Highways 41 and 368 to the southwest.  This work will ensure that this economic gateway is safe for all travellers.

Building and improving highways is just one way our government is using the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.   Another way is by investing in programming and supports for society’s most vulnerable citizens.  To that end, we are developing a Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Saskatchewan.   Saskatoon-based clinical psychologist Dr. Fern Stockdale Winder has been appointed to lead this initiative.  Dr. Stockdale Winder will advise the Minister of Health on how to strengthen intervention for those with mental health or addictions issues and serve as a board member and as vice-chair to the Mental Health Commission of Canada.   Our government believes that a patient-first approach will provide the best care possible for the people of Saskatchewan.