Report from the Legislature – October 2, 2013

Population Passes 1.1 Million
Saskatchewan’s population is growing by the day, reaching record levels never before thought possible.  Statistics Canada data shows Saskatchewan has grown to more than 1.1 million for the first time in history.   In fact, over the last six years, more than 100,000 people have moved here.  By 2020, our goal is to grow our population by another 100,000.  But this isn’t about growth for the sake of growth.  As part of our government’s Plan for Growth, Premier Wall envisions a province with one of the highest standards of living in the world.  This is a plan that reflects a new spirit of collaboration and a new way of thinking – that Saskatchewan is the best place to invest, to work, and to raise a family.

Already, we are seeing what growth can do.  Income taxes, education property taxes, and small business taxes have all been reduced while maintaining a balanced budget.  People with disabilities have a new and dignified income support program and surgical wait lists are getting shorter.  Almost three quarters of our schools have received upgrades and improvements and there are more than 3,400 new childcare spaces.  Our post-secondary system is seeing record investments, student loan limits have been increased and new student housing is being built.  We are also building more long-term care facilities, more senior’s housing projects and low-income seniors have seen their benefits double.  Rural communities are also growing and thriving while farm and ranch families are receiving the benefits they deserve.  Our government is committed to continue taking action to ensure our economy remains strong by balancing the challenges of unprecedented population growth with the needs of families.


Flu Vaccine Available Soon
Crisp air and falling leaves are a sure sign that autumn has arrived.  While this can be a beautiful time of year to enjoy the outdoors, it is also a time where many of us are fighting off a range of colds and flu viruses.  At a time when our immune systems may be under attack, there is a way we can avoid the seasonal strain of influenza.  Starting later this month, flu shots will be offered – free of charge – to all residents who are at least 6 months of age.  Health officials strongly encourage those who are at high-risk for influenza-related complications to make arrangements for a flu shot.  High-risk groups for influenza include:

  • people with chronic health conditions
  • people 65 and older;
  • residents of long-term care facilities;
  • people with severe obesity; and
  • children under five and pregnant women.

The vaccine will be administered through public health clinics, physicians and nurse practitioners.  Combined with frequent hand-washing and preventative measures such as coughing and sneezing into your sleeve, cleaning surfaces often and staying at home when sick, the vaccine is an effective way to ensure we all stay healthy and avoid becoming ill with influenza in the coming weeks and months.


Growing Demand In Agriculture
Saskatchewan has a diverse and growing economy of which agriculture has always played a vital role.  October is Agriculture Month and, as the global demand for food grows, so too does the number of career opportunities in business, research, farming and ranching.  An opportunity catalogue featuring examples of careers in agriculture, highlighting the people behind the jobs and the unique paths they took to find their home in agriculture, has been put together and distributed to guidance counsellors and industry leaders.

Agriculture currently employs more than 50,000 Saskatchewan people and accounts for 7.5 per cent of the provincial GDP.  During the month of October, teachers, producers and industry are encouraged to get involved in spreading the news that a job in agriculture can lead to a challenging, rewarding career.