Report from the Legislature – July 29, 2015

Saskatchewan Doctors Ratify New Contract

Saskatchewan physicians are on the front lines providing people with high-quality, patient-centred care.  I am pleased to say a new four-year contract agreement will keep our province competitive as we work to recruit and retain these valuable professionals.

The ratification of the new deal provides physicians with a total fee increase of 4.9 per cent, along with 3 per cent in one-time lump sum payments.  As a result, funding for medical services and programs will increase by approximately $85 million over the four-year agreement.

The agreement provides investments in programs to support increased patient access to services, best practice and standardized care.  As well, it continues a strong emphasis on rural Saskatchewan and supports overall success in recruiting and retaining physicians.

Over 2,200 physicians are licensed to practise in Saskatchewan – an increase of 482 doctors since 2007.

Farmland Ownership Consultations Still Open

There is still time to participate in Saskatchewan’s farmland ownership survey with consultations running until Monday, August 10th.  The information collected will help the Government of Saskatchewan determine who should be allowed to own farmland in our province.

The survey can be completed online at  Paper copies are available at Ministry of Agriculture Regional Offices and can be requested by calling 1-866-457-2377.  An education document accompanies the survey to give participants information regarding the existing legislation surrounding farmland ownership in the province.

Survey results and comments will be posted online in the fall of 2015.  Names, addresses and all other identifying information will be removed before results are published.  After the results have been analyzed, decisions will be made regarding next steps.

International Trade Centre Investment Announced

The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to supporting an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.  That’s why, as part of Growing Forward 2, our government is investing in in the International Trade Centre at Evraz Place in Regina.

The primary goal of this investment is to enhance the stature of significant agricultural events such as Canadian Western Agribition and Canada’s Farm Progress Show which generate significant agricultural-related spending and returns for the industry.

Once complete, this multifunctional facility and world-class venue will draw international visitors to Saskatchewan to get a firsthand look at Canada’s dynamic agriculture industry.  The 150,000 square foot facility is also expected to attract other large events such as consumer trade shows.

The International Trade Centre will replace a number of old buildings and barns on the Evraz Place property. It will be located between the Ag-Ex Pavilion and the Canada Centre complex.  The project is expected to kick off in November 2015, following Agribition.

Record Wholesale Trade in May

Saskatchewan is a trading province – from our strong agricultural sector, mining, lumber, uranium and potash, and oil & gas, Saskatchewan people understand the importance of getting our products to market.  And the importance of wholesale trade cannot be overstated.

Saskatchewan’s wholesale trade for May hit $2.3 billion, the highest ever recorded for that month.  Wholesale trade was up 9.8 per cent year-over-year (seasonally adjusted), the highest percentage increase among the provinces and well ahead of the 2.9 per cent posted nationally.

More jobs and more people than ever before are other economic indicators which are helping Saskatchewan continue to grow.  Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the country and our population is also up with the second fastest growth rate among the provinces.