Report from the Legislature – January 14, 2015

From our strong agricultural and potash sectors to our province’s growing strengths in manufacturing and innovation, approximately 70,000 new jobs have been created in Saskatchewan since 2007. Thanks to the hard work of Saskatchewan people, our province stands out as a national leader with Canada’s lowest unemployment rate for 25 consecutive months.  Due to our increasingly diversified and resilient economy, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate for the month of December was just 3.6 per cent.  Our province also had the second strongest rate of job growth in Canada at 2.5 per cent year-over-year.

Maintaining a competitive tax and regulatory environment encourages new investment and jobs which we know are key to the continued growth and diversification of our economy.  As the foundation of a strong Saskatchewan, a strong economy builds a broader tax base and gives us a greater ability to invest in people, programs and infrastructure that improve our quality of life.  One example is our government’s $200,000 commitment for Ability In Me (AIM).

Part of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth is to ensure that Saskatchewan is the best place in Canada to live for persons with disabilities.  AIM is a Saskatchewan-based, non-profit corporation which provides specialized programming to enable and support the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome and provides children and youth with supports and tools to help them become more engaged in their classrooms.  Our commitment provides enhanced access to speech and language services.  Every child should have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential and this investment is one of the ways we are working to achieve that.

Our government is committed to meeting the needs of all students and that means providing materials for those with visual impairments and other disabilities in a way they can use.  Students need to be able to access these materials to be engaged, successful and prepared for their future.  This is why we’ve committed $750,000 over three years to support the needs of students who require materials in alternate formats, such as Braille and large text resources.

In 2013-14, there were a total of 180 students across Saskatchewan requiring alternate format materials.  This funding commitment will allow for the development and distribution of materials across all school divisions and provide school and school division staff with training to access these materials.  It will also support the operation of an alternate format resource centre.

Our government is focused on long-term measures to ensure the economy is growing strong so that we can continue to provide the programs and services that build a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.  While the price of oil will make the provincial budget process more difficult, our diverse economy is a mitigating factor that works in our favour as we look to achieve a balance that will keep Saskatchewan strong and moving forward.