Report from the Legislature – October 15, 2014

Saskatchewan people are working hard to build a province we can be proud to call home.  Together we’ve made great progress.  Our population is growing, our people are earning more than ever and, because of lower provincial taxes, we’re keeping more of what we earn. Saskatchewan’s economy has emerged as a national leader which means more money to fix our highways, build bridges and invest in schools and hospitals – but it wasn’t always this way.

Under the NDP our economy was stalled, our province was in decline, and young people were leaving in search of opportunity that didn’t exist at home.  Today, the opposite is true.  Thanks to renewed optimism, investment and The Graduate Retention Program (GRP), tens of thousands of young people are staying, starting their careers and building a life in Saskatchewan.  The GRP tuition rebates are just one way our government plans to keep Saskatchewan strong.

According the latest Statistics Canada report, Saskatchewan is leading the nation in job creation.  In September, employment growth was 4x the national average while Saskatchewan’s 3.5% unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada for the 22nd consecutive month.  Unemployment in Regina (2.8%) and Saskatoon (4.2%) was the lowest among all major Canadian cities.  Year-over-year there were 19,300 more people working in Saskatchewan.

Generating more than 50,000 jobs, agriculture continues to play a key role in our strong economy.  Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers provide safe, reliable and high quality agri-food products.  As a modern, science-based industry that continues to change with new knowledge and technology, our government is proud to take a leadership role in ensuring farmers and ranchers are benefiting from the latest innovations. This year the Ministry of Agriculture has committed $26.7 million to agriculture research.

October is Agriculture Month and, as farmers continue working to bring in this year’s harvest, young people are being encouraged to “think ag.”  As the global demand for food grows, so too does the number of challenging and rewarding career opportunities. profiles the people who earn a living in the industry and highlights many of the opportunities available, including scholarship information and teacher resources.

As seasons change, one of our priorities is protecting ourselves and others against seasonal influenza and other viruses.  In Saskatchewan, the seasonal flu vaccine is our best line of defence and is being offered free of charge to those over six months of age.

I strongly encourage everyone to make arrangements for a flu shot, particularly those who are considered “high-risk” for influenza-related complications – this includes children under five, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, all residents of nursing homes, individuals with chronic health conditions as well as caregivers and contacts of people considered “high-risk.”

To better protect patients and staff in health care facilities, all Saskatchewan health regions have adopted an “immunize or mask” policy.  During flu season, health care staff are required to choose between getting the influenza vaccine and wearing a mask in
patient and client care areas.  Visitors will also be asked to wear a mask if they have not been immunized.  You can learn more about symptoms, prevention and treatment online at