Report from the Legislature – January 15, 2014

Saskatchewan is stronger today than perhaps it has ever been.  Our unemployment rate is the lowest in the country thanks to the creation of 18,000 new jobs and nearly 20,000 new people putting down roots in our province.

Drawing on the strengths of our people we are realizing record growth and opportunities that, not long ago, we only dreamed of.   The hope and optimism we are seeing in Saskatchewan today now extends well beyond the football field.  This new Saskatchewan is a province where graduates no longer receive luggage as a graduation gift. This is now a place where students have opportunities to work and invest, to live and to play.

Our government remains focused on growth; not growth for the sake of it, but because of the benefits growth brings to the province and its people.  But just as growth provides opportunities and renewed investment in schools, hospitals and vital infrastructure, it also presents challenges.  Our government has a plan for growth, for making those investments in new schools, new hospitals, upgraded roads, highways and infrastructure; we are reducing wait times for surgeries even as we welcome new people to our province to work in the growing agriculture, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas and service sectors of our economy.  These dividends also give us the ability to invest in new group homes and to provide support for Habitat for Humanity.  These are just some of the reasons growth is important and why we want to encourage it.

Focused on infrastructure, the labour shortage and making sure our economy is competitive in terms of taxes and regulations, our government’s plan for growth also includes a focus on international engagement, our innovation agenda, building the next economy on our resource base, as well as a firm focus on fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets.  We are committed to keeping taxes low and paying down debt when we can because it is the dividends of growth that will create a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.

Saskatchewan people can rest assured that our province remains the envy of most every other province in the country.  An example of this would be the Government of Saskatchewan’s job listings website – – which is a go-to website for both employers and job seekers.  Our diversified and opportunity-rich economy is sustaining a highly active job market for our people and businesses.  We have a lot to offer and the web traffic for all of 2013 certainly reflects this.

Visits to were up nearly 10 per cent to 12,583,669.  The majority of visits came from places like the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Alberta, Quebec, the U.S., B.C. and P.E.I.  The majority of the job vacancies required at least high school diploma and nearly half of them were oriented toward higher skill levels requiring at least some post-secondary education or management experience.

Both education and employment are key to the future growth of our province.  To that end, just recently, our government invested $3 million to fund on-reserve education programs.  This was earmarked to address recommendations made by a joint task force on improving both education and employment outcomes.  This support is part of our Growth Plan goal to increase graduation rates and add 60,000 people to the workforce by 2020.  We’re training more workers, we’re keeping more of them and we have the most aggressive graduate retention program in Canada.