Report from the Legislature – November 18, 2015

More Choice, More Convenience, More Competitive Pricing

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced a new direction for liquor retailing that includes an expanded private retail system with fewer government liquor stores and more private retailers.

The new expanded private retail model creates a level playing field for liquor retailers.  This means all liquor retailers will be treated the same when it comes to:

  • Purchasing alcohol for resale at a wholesale price;
  • Hours of operation;
  • Product selection;
  • Chilling of beer products and more

Changes, which will be made after the next provincial election, include the conversion of 40 government liquor stores to private stores and adding 12 new private liquor stores in underserved communities.

In the end, we will have a system that’s fair to retailers and beneficial to consumers while also protecting revenues for government priorities like infrastructure, education and health care.

Over 30,000 Children Benefit from Grant for Education Savings

More than 30,000 Saskatchewan children have received more than $8.5 million through the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) program.

Through SAGES, the Government of Saskatchewan provides a grant of 10% on contributions made since January 1, 2013, into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to a maximum $250 per child per year.

To be eligible for SAGES, the following requirements must be met:

  • the child is a resident of Saskatchewan when the RESP contribution is made;
  • the child is named as a beneficiary of an eligible RESP;
  • contributions are made on or before December 31 of the year the child turns 17; and
  • contributions are made at a participating financial institution.

RESP subscribers at financial institutions not offering SAGES can now move their past RESP contributions to an institution that does offer SAGES.  They will then receive the grant retroactively to January 1, 2013.
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Government Fulfills Commitment to Invest in Provincial Parks

Provincial parks are a key component to the quality of life we enjoy in Saskatchewan.  It’s important to keep investing in our parks, not only to improve the visitor experience today, but also to ensure parks infrastructure remains stable for years to come.

Our government has now fulfilled its commitment to invest an additional $10 million over four years into the provincial park system.   The total investment in capital projects and capital maintenance over the past four years is more than $53 million.

Some of the investments include:

  • More than $7.5 million on water and wastewater system upgrades;
  • $7.5 million on campsite electrical expansion and upgrade work;
  • $7.0 million on replacing or upgrading campground and day use service centres;
  • $6.0 million on developing new campsites, including a brand new campground at each of Blackstrap and Greenwater Lake Provincial Parks;
  • More than $3.5 million on park roads and trail systems;
  • More than $1.0 million in improving and upgrading boat launches across the park system;
  • $1.7 million in campsite enhancements and furnishings; and
  • Upgrades to other park facilities, such as historic and interpretive facilities, shoreline protection systems, bridges, drainage systems, and playground structures.

Since 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested more than $90 million in capital expenditures in provincial parks across the province.  The majority of these projects are already complete and the few in progress will be complete and ready for visitors in the summer of 2016.

Big Jump in Building Permits

Saskatchewan saw a substantial rise in building permits in September 2015, increasing 113.2 per cent over last year, according to Statistics Canada.

This shows that our construction sector continues to do well and demonstrates long term confidence and commitment to growth in our economy.

Non-residential construction was up 365.9 per cent over last year, ranking Saskatchewan first among the provinces in that category.