Report from the Legislature – September 25, 2013

We are a government who keeps our promises.  Six years ago, Saskatchewan was facing some of the longest surgical wait times in Canada.   We promised to do something about that – and we have.   The latest report from the Saskatchewan Surgical Care Initiative shows that today 8 out of 10 patients are receiving surgery within three months of referral from a surgeon.  Due to improvements in the planning and delivery of surgical care, we are on track to meeting our goal that no one waits longer than three months by the spring of 2014.   While there’s still more to do, we are taking action to improve the quality of life for you and your family.   Timely access to surgeries is another way we’re doing that.

A great resource on the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, can be found at   This website features the Specialist Directory and information on surgical wait times, allowing patients and primary care providers to compare options for surgical care.

Saskatchewan’s health care needs are unique throughout the province which is why we are looking for innovative solutions to meet the needs of residents.  To that end, our province’s first Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) has recently opened in Maidstone.  With improved stability and access to services, the CEC is now providing extended hours of primary health care and 24/7 emergency care.  During the day, the CEC will see urgent care provided by a Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse with support from a local primary care physician.  At night, an RN and Primary Care Paramedic will lead assessment, minor treatment and urgent care, in consultation with a STARS physician.

The Ministry of Health intends to take this collaborative model of care to other Saskatchewan communities in the near future.  Working closely with health regions, care providers and communities to determine other potential CEC sites, similar facilities will open in the coming months.

One of the benefits of a strong, growing economy is the growing list of employment opportunities our province has to offer.  Saskatchewan’s economic strength is reflective of recent data from Statistics Canada that shows Employment Insurance beneficiaries dropped by 3.6 per cent in July.  Year-over-year there were 10,160 beneficiaries receiving regular EI benefits in the province in July 2013, a decrease of 7.1 per cent from July 2012.  Since January, Saskatchewan has had the lowest unemployment rate of all provinces.

Another benefit of a growing province is the ability to invest in recreational facilities throughout the province.  After a successful launch, the Community Rink Affordability Grant will once again provide communities, schools, non-profits and First Nations who register with a $2,500 grant to improve indoor ice surfaces, used for small capital improvements or to help offset operating costs.

In 2012, $1.7 million were provided to 387 communities to improve 554 facilities. The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association will administer the grant, for more details please visit