Report from the Legislature – December 09, 2015

Moving Forward with Shorter Waits for Surgery

In 2007, the Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada report revealed that Saskatchewan had the longest wait times for surgery in Canada.  Today, the same report shows we have the shortest.  This is thanks to the many health care professionals across the province who continue to work hard on wait time reductions through innovation and putting patients first.

One such innovation in Saskatchewan is the use of private surgical clinics within the public system. The NDP would cancel private clinics on ideological grounds, taking the people of our province back to languish on longer surgical wait lists.  We believe patients will choose timely surgery over ideology every single time.  We’ve got more work to do, but we will keep moving forward.

Strong Job Growth in Saskatchewan Compared to the Rest of Canada

Saskatchewan is strong and moving forward with a diversified economy that continues to create new jobs despite the challenges in our energy sector.  That’s a big change from a few years ago when a downturn in one part of the economy would lead to job losses in every part of the economy.

Saskatchewan posted strong employment growth numbers in November, especially when compared to the rest of the country. There were 7,200 more jobs year-over-year with a growth rate of nearly twice the national average.  Saskatchewan also has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Saskatchewan’s First Uranium Shipment Arrives In India

India recently received its first shipment of Saskatchewan uranium under the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, an economic milestone for our uranium industry and our province.  While all of Saskatchewan benefits from having this major new customer for our resource, this export news is particularly welcome for uranium workers, nearly half of whom are First Nations and Métis.

Saskatchewan is the world’s second-leading producer of uranium and is home to 100 per cent of Canada’s uranium mining industry.  Saskatchewan’s uranium industry employs more than 4,000 people with almost half of its mining workforce residents of northern Saskatchewan.  Our province’s uranium exports add approximately $1.2 billion annually to the Canadian economy.

The Journey Begins: Saskatchewan’s Disability Strategy

In honour of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, our government announced six priority areas of focus as we begin work on Saskatchewan’s Disability Strategy.

Taken directly from the Citizen Consultation Team’s (CCT) Final Report, People Before Systems: Transforming the Experience of Disability in Saskatchewan these priorities are:

  • Availability of accessible and safe transportation in communities;
  • Respite services for families with children and adults experiencing disabilities;
  • Improving existing accessibility legislation or the development of new accessibility legislation;
  • Residential services for people experiencing disability;
  • Service co-ordination and navigation of services required for those experiencing disability; and
  • Awareness and understanding of the rights of people experiencing disabilities.

I am confident these priority areas will bring focus and move us forward in creating a Saskatchewan where all can be included.  By focusing on these areas first, we can begin building for the future so we can effectively respond to the needs identified by citizens during the province-wide consultations.

Wolf Hunt Project Expanding to Address Livestock Predation

In an effort to push wolves back into their natural habitat and away from farms and ranches, the Ministry of Environment will offer wolf hunting opportunities from December 15th to March 31, 2016.  The hunt, which helps control the wolf population and addresses predation issues, is restricted to wildlife management zones 49 (Weekes/Hudson Bay area) and 53 (Big River/Shellbrook area).

This program will supplement the work of trappers, which is the primary method of controlling the wolf population across the province.  A total of 200 licences will be available to Saskatchewan residents on a first-come, first-serve basis at Environment offices in Big River, Spiritwood, Nipawin, Hudson Bay and Greenwater Lake Provincial Park.  Each license will entitle the holder to harvest two wolves.