Report from the Legislature – January 28, 2015

Our government is focused on keeping Saskatchewan strong and growing – even when faced with volatile oil prices and lower-than-expected revenues.  We are working to meet this challenge through sound fiscal management, a commitment to continued investment in important infrastructure projects, and tax incentives for new growth and job creation.

The good news is that our economy is increasingly diversified and a slowdown in one sector can be offset by growth in other areas.  Our thriving manufacturing sector and record wholesale trade values – just the latest examples – are among the many reasons Saskatchewan enjoys the second strongest rate of job creation and the lowest rate of unemployment in Canada.

While these figures, together with economic forecasts, paint a positive picture of our diversified economic strength, the most encouraging endorsement of a strong and growing Saskatchewan comes from our children and grandchildren.  They are forever changing the course of our province by choosing to stay here, start their careers and raise their families.

As Saskatchewan’s population grows, so too does the number of physicians practicing here.  Between March 2007 and March 2014, the number of physicians in Saskatchewan increased 24.3 per cent (by 423 physicians) while overall physician turnover rates have decreased.  International recruitment has been key and efforts to retain more of our locally-trained family medicine graduates are working.  The retention rate of those trained at the University of Saskatchewan has jumped by 11 per cent – from 58 to 69 per cent – over the past year

The province has increased medical training seats and residency positions while working to expand post-graduate education opportunities across the province.  In partnership with saskdocs we will continue to look for new ways to make sure Saskatchewan is where these valued health providers want to practice and provide care for individuals and families.

Each year, organ and tissue donors in our province save lives and improve the quality of life for many others.  One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and one tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 75 people.  This is why our government is proud to support the launch of the Offer Hope Campaign – an initiative that is designed to start a conversation and raise awareness of the impact organ and tissue donations can have.

Currently, there are about 90 Saskatchewan people waiting for a kidney transplant and a similar number waiting for corneas. Many more people in our province require life-saving heart, lung or liver transplants. The decision to donate could save or improve someone’s life.

During the fall legislative session, our government introduced a bill to update Saskatchewan’s organ and tissue donation legislation and allow more timely regulatory changes.  That legislation is expected to pass in the spring.  I encourage you to talk to your family about your decision to donate, so they can honour your wishes.