Report from the Legislature – March 12, 2015

Highway 7 Twinning Coming Soon

The twinning of one of Saskatchewan’s most important highways is getting a boost with a major funding commitment from the federal government.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Brad Wall have announced that the Government of Canada will fund half the eligible costs to twin 25 km of Highway 7 from Saskatoon to Delisle, to a maximum of $32 million.

Highway 7 is an important route that connects our largest city to growing communities like Delisle, Rosetown and Kindersley, as well as to export markets.  Traffic on this part of Highway 7 has increased by 50 per cent in the last decade and twinning will address the safety and congestion concerns that have resulted from our remarkable economic and population growth.

This project is an example of our government’s commitment to ensuring growth improves everyone’s quality of life. Other major highway projects that improve safety include:

  • Recently completed twinning of Highway 11 from Saskatoon to Prince Albert and passing lanes on Highway 10 between Balgonie and Fort Qu’Appelle;
  • Ongoing work on twinning Highway 16 from Saskatoon to Clavet, passing lanes on Highway 7 between Delisle and Rosetown; and
  • Planning for the future twinning of Highway 6 and 39 from Regina to the US border.

Twinning Highway 7 is expected to begin this spring with grading work between Saskatoon to an area east of Vanscoy.  Additional work will be scheduled as planning work is completed.  Work on the entire 25 km could be completed as soon as fall of 2018.

Saskatchewan’s Economy is Strong, Diversified and Growing

When an economy is strong and diversified, a downturn in one sector can be offset by growth in others.  According to a new RBC Provincial Outlook, that’s exactly what we can expect in Saskatchewan.  Economists are forecasting “real economic growth to accelerate despite lower oil prices” in 2015 thanks to “strength in non-energy sectors” – mainly potash and agriculture.

On Monday, March 9, The Mosaic Company announced an additional $1.7 billion investment into further developing its K3 potash mine project at Esterhazy.  We thank The Mosaic Company for its vision and continued commitment to Saskatchewan.

This latest investment a vote of confidence in Saskatchewan’s future.  It speaks to the importance of competitive royalties and of balancing the interests of the owners of the resource – the people of the province – with our plan to also have an attractive investment climate.

Strong Economy Building Better Long-Term Care

Residents of Radville and area recently celebrated the grand opening of the Radville Marian Health Centre, a new long-term care facility in the community.  It is our government’s priority to ensure long-term care residents have a safe and comfortable place to live.  This modern facility will create a better work environment for health providers to provide patient-centred care.

Our government is pleased to support this type of key infrastructure renewal.  In fact, we have made it a priority to invest approximately $200 million toward the replacement of 13 long-term care facilities across the province.   To date, eight of the 13 projects have been completed, four are currently under construction and the final project is in the planning phase.

20 New Doctors Now Practising in Saskatchewan

Twenty new doctors are practising in Saskatchewan, thanks to the most recent results of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program.  SIPPA is a made-in-Saskatchewan program that assesses International Medical Grads on their medical education and clinical ability before allowing them to practise medicine in the province.

Since the program began in 2011, more than 160 new family physicians have completed the assessment and have fulfilled or are fulfilling their service commitment to the province.  Sixteen other International Medical Grads are currently completing their clinical field assessments.  If successful, these physicians will begin practising across the province this spring.

People across Saskatchewan are benefiting from better access to doctors.  In addition to attracting International Medical Grads, Saskatchewan has been successful in keeping more locally-trained family medicine graduates in the province.  The retention rate of those trained at the U of S has jumped by 17 per cent over the past two years – from 58 per cent to 75 per cent.