Report from the Legislature – October 27, 2016

Saskatchewan Party Government Stands United Against Justin Trudeau’s Carbon Tax

Our government sent a clear message to Ottawa this week by voting unanimously to oppose Justin Trudeau’s unilaterally imposed federal carbon tax.  We asked the NDP to stand up and join the government in fighting for Saskatchewan’s interests but they wouldn’t do it.

The Prime Minister’s carbon tax will unfairly hurt Saskatchewan families, farmers and vital economic sectors.  Yet somehow the Saskatchewan NDP put their party’s interests ahead of the province’s by joining with the NDP in Alberta and Ottawa in calling for carbon taxes.

During debate it was noted that Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan’s lone federal Liberal Minister, continues to make the faulty argument that the carbon tax they’ve proposed is revenue neutral.  The problem is the fact this new tax of theirs is not ‘sector neutral’ or ‘jobs neutral’.

This forced federal carbon tax would harm those making a living in industries that are disproportionately affected – agriculture, energy and mining.  As Canada’s greatest per capita exporter, a carbon tax will drive costs up, competitiveness down and lead to completely avoidable job loss.

Mr. Goodale has suggested his “revenue neutral” tax could be used to eliminate provincial income tax in Saskatchewan – but what good is that if people are out of a job?”

Our government recently released the province’s White Paper on Climate Change which calls for investments in workable solutions to carbon dioxide emissions like Saskatchewan’s own world-leading Carbon Capture/Sequestration at Boundary Dam which is reducing emissions in the province to the equivalent of about 250,000 cars off the road every year.

WATCH: Premier Wall Outlines Saskatchewan’s Plan for Climate Change

Rather than simply hit families and industries with another tax – especially at a time when these important sectors are reeling from low prices globally – our plan is shown to be working to reduce real emissions.  A national carbon tax is the wrong approach and would do the most harm to the Saskatchewan economy while having the least impact on emissions.

Amendment Supports Workers Experiencing Psychological Injuries

Our government is introducing a change to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 which will expand workers’ compensation coverage to workers experiencing psychological injuries. The amendment establishes a rebuttable presumption for all forms of psychological injuries, which means an injured worker making a claim for compensation will receive the benefit of the doubt that the psychological injury was sustained at work unless there is evidence to the contrary.

Until now, workers were required to provide additional proof that their psychological injury was work-related when filing their Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) claim to be eligible for compensation.  To qualify for coverage a worker will need to provide a diagnosis from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

While other provinces have established a rebuttable presumption for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Saskatchewan is the first province to enact legislation that covers other forms of psychological injury that workers could experience as a result of being exposed to traumatic events or situations at work.

Innovation Brings Better Choices, Better Outcomes and Lower Costs

In just 6 months, private MRIs have saved Saskatchewan taxpayers $835,000 and helped reduce the public waitlist by more than 10 per cent.  Saskatchewan patients now have the freedom to choose to get their private scans here in Saskatchewan instead of having to travel to Alberta or North Dakota.

Our government continues to invest in the public system to provide timely and high quality medical imaging services while private-pay MRI services are growing.  Building on this success, we are now working on giving Saskatchewan people the choice to purchase CT scans in the province as well.

More Homegrown and Internationally Trained Doctors Practising in Saskatchewan

Thanks to increased investments by our government in both homegrown and internationally trained doctors, we now have nearly 650 more physicians practicing today than we did nine years ago.

Saskatchewan continues to make progress in keeping more locally-trained family medicine graduates in the province.  The overall retention rate of local family medicine grads has jumped by 17 per cent over the past three years from 58 per cent to 75 per cent.

In addition, more international medical graduates are practicing in Saskatchewan thanks to the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment program that was introduced by our government.  More than 190 new family physicians have completed the assessment and are currently practicing in the province.

Free Flu Shots Available in Saskatchewan

The publicly-funded flu vaccine will be offered in Saskatchewan beginning October 31.  Recommended to all residents six months of age and older, the vaccine will be available through public health clinics, at some physician and Nurse Practitioner offices, and from participating pharmacies.

For detailed information about flu clinic locations, dates and times:

  • Check your health region website;
  • Call your local public health office; or
  • Call HealthLine 811.