Report from the Legislature – November 25, 2015

Ernst & Young Report Confirms Regina Bypass P3 Saves $380 Million

The Saskatchewan Government released the value for money report for the publicly-owned Regina Bypass project, which was prepared by Ernst & Young.  The independent procurement and financial experts confirm the P3 model will save taxpayers $380 million, a little more than 16 per cent, compared to a traditional model.  These savings include P3-related costs, such as private financing.

A total investment of $1.88 billion – in today’s dollars – is being made in the highway including the cost of design, construction, finance, and more than 30 years of operations and maintenance to ensure the roadway remains in like-new condition.  Ernst & Young has confirmed that the same project would have cost $2.2 billion if it was delivered through a traditional build approach.

The Ernst & Young report confirms what our government has said many times – that a P3 was the right decision for this important project.  In addition to the savings identified by Ernst & Young, a P3 is the fastest way to build the Bypass and will ensure it is done on-time and on-budget.

Province Establishes Refugee Settlement Centre

The Saskatchewan government will establish a Refugee Settlement Centre to co-ordinate the arrival of Syrian refugees into the province.  It is important to ensure that refugees who come to Saskatchewan make a successful transition to life in Canada.

This Refugee Settlement Centre will bring together the appropriate government ministries to work with municipalities, settlement groups and other community-based organizations to ensure the best possible outcomes for these new Saskatchewan residents.

A Refugee Settlement Committee of cabinet has been created and will be chaired by Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison.  Other members include Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter, Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer, Education Minister Don Morgan, Health Minister Dustin Duncan and Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell.

More U of S Medical Grads Calling Saskatchewan Home

It is encouraging to see that thirty new University of Saskatchewan (U of S) family medicine graduates are choosing to stay and practise in Saskatchewan. This adds to a growing physician workforce, delivering health care services to people of the province.

Overall, the retention rate of family medicine grads 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.  These new physicians join a provincial physician workforce that has grown by more than 500 since 2007.

Some of Saskatchewan’s physician recruitment and retention initiatives include:

  • A competitive compensation package for physicians – one of the best in Canada;
  • Training more family medicine residents in sites outside Regina and Saskatoon;
  • The number of post-graduate physician training seats at the College of Medicine has doubled to 120 – and the number of undergraduate medical education seats has expanded from 60 to 100;
  • The Rural Family Physician Incentive Program provides recent graduates with up to $120,000 over five years if they set up practice in a community with fewer than 10,000 people;
  • A rural physician locum pool, to provide additional physician coverage and assistance to rural family physicians;
  • Reward rural physicians who adopt a full scope of practice by providing a 10.5 per cent premium on their earnings.

Thousands Benefit from Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship

More than 16,000 students have received the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship (SAS) this year, totalling nearly $8 million from the Government of Saskatchewan.

By providing all Grade 12 grads $500 per year, to a lifetime maximum of $2,000, the SAS reduces tuition for students entering post-secondary programs in Saskatchewan.

Since 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested $6.5 billion in post-secondary institutions and students.  This includes the Graduate Retention Program which provides up to $20,000 in tuition rebates for graduates who live in Saskatchewan.