Report from the Legislature – September 18, 2013

It will soon be smooth sailing on Highway 22 between Southey and Earl Grey.  Our government recently announced that a 15 kilometre stretch will be getting a complete rebuild that will be wider, safer and better able to handle wet weather conditions.  After spending nearly $3 million to maintain this highway, it was decided that a full upgrade was the best solution for the safety of travellers.

Safe, reliable roads are key to our province’s growth and prosperity which is why we are investing in this and other highway infrastructure around the province.  This $14 million project is part of 75 kilometres of rural highway upgrades funded through this year’s $576 million Highways and Infrastructure budget.  Since 2008, our government has invested a record $3.7 billion in transportation infrastructure.

The safety of the men and women who are building and rebuilding our roads and highways is also a top priority for our government.  Now, when entering Saskatchewan, there are new signs warning of photo radar enforcement.  These signs clearly state that work zone speed limits are photo-enforced, that fines have tripled and that drivers who refuse to respect our workers and slow to 60 km/h will be photographed and ticketed.  The seven signs are posted at Highway 1 at both the Alberta and Manitoba borders, Highway 16 at the Alberta and Manitoba borders, Highway 7 at the Alberta border, and Highways 6 and 39 at the U.S. border.  Fines for speeding through construction zones start at $300.

Investing in highways is just one example of how our government is using the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.   As our communities continue to grow, we have an obligation to protect our environment by finding effective ways to dispose of hazardous waste materials.  Starting in 2014, new regulations will increase the number of petroleum products that can be recycled to include antifreeze, antifreeze containers, diesel exhaust fluid containers and diesel fuel filters.  The size of containers for recycling also increases from 30 to 50 litres.  This expanded program helps to prevent the illegal dumping of hazardous materials and extends the life of our municipal landfills.  It also has the potential to divert over 3 million litres of antifreeze from traditional waste cycles.  Used oil, used oil filters and used plastic oil containers are already eligible for recycling.

Saskatchewan’s economy remains strong and manufacturing remains a driving force behind its success.  Our manufacturing sector continued to grow with sales of $1.3 billion in July (a record for the month), up 6.3 per cent over the same month last year.  Nationally, on a year-over-year basis, sales dropped 0.1 per cent.  We are proud of the innovative and successful businesses that are filling that market demand while at the same time creating jobs and opportunities throughout our province.  Our government will continue to take action to ensure our economy remains strong by balancing the challenges of growth with the needs of families.

Whether it’s manufacturing, trades or transport, art, culture or recreation, jobseekers across the country and around the world continue to browse for new opportunities.  New positions are posted nearly every day in virtually every category and industry across the province.  In August, visits increased by 64,215 when compared to the same period last year.  Job postings were placed in 337 communities with the majority located in Regina, Saskatoon, Estevan, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.  More than 57 per cent of the 17,097 vacancies advertised were for full-time employment.