Report from the Legislature – October 19, 2017

During a decade of growth Saskatchewan has seen the construction of new homes for those in need, new schools to serve a growing population, new hospitals and long-term care facilities to replace out-of-date facilities and new highways to move people and products safely.


During this time, we have worked to improve existing homes, hospitals, highways and other vital infrastructure that had long been neglected under the previous government.  These projects have put Saskatchewan people to work and laid the foundation for future prosperity.


Recently we have had updates on significant projects that are still underway.


The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital is 70 per cent complete with the building now its final shape with all levels of the hospital, including the helipad, structurally complete.  The project remains on time and on budget with a scheduled opening in late 2019.  Once completed, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will better meet the needs of our province’s children and expecting mothers and families by enhancing child-patient care, and enabling the recruitment and retention of pediatric specialists.


New overpasses at Warman and Martensville are about 40 per cent complete.  Construction, which will improve safety at two of our fastest-growing communities, is part of more than $100 million in highway construction and maintenance in the Saskatoon area this year.  This includes Highway 5 passing lanes, Highway 7 twinning, bridge work on Highway 11 and Highway 16 paving.


Meanwhile, progress on the Regina Bypass continues including the opening of two new overpasses (White City and Balgonie) and the continued twinning of Highway 39 between Estevan and Bienfait.  Other significant highway upgrades this season include Highway 2 north of Prince Albert; Highway 4 south of Cadillac and north of Swift Current; Highway 12 near Hepburn; Highway 40 near Krydor; Highway 51 near Kelfield; Highway 312 west of Wakaw; and Highway 155 near Green Lake.


During a decade of growth, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested approximately $1.5 billion to repair, renovate and build new schools to meet demand.  For example, thousands of students and staff in some of our Saskatchewan’s fastest-growing communities are now attending brand-new schools.


Eighteen new schools in Regina, Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville are part of our record investment in 40 new schools in places like Humboldt, Langenburg, Lloydminster, Oxbow, Porcupine Plain, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Turnor Lake, Weyburn and White City.


We have also invested in major repairs and renovations to schools in Balcarres, Duck Lake, Elrose, Gravelbourg, Hafford, Hudson Bay, Humboldt, La Ronge, Leader, Lloydminster, Lumsden, Maple Creek, Martensville, Prince Albert, Regina, Rosthern, Saskatoon, St. Brieux and Weyburn.


During a decade of growth, student enrolment in Saskatchewan has increased by 10 per cent and our government has worked to meet the challenges of a growing student population. This includes hiring 875 new teachers and increasing operating funding to school divisions by 32 per cent.


This is Education Week in Saskatchewan – a time to highlight student success and to recognize and highlight the hard work and formative role of teachers, staff and volunteers in all our schools.  Education is the foundation for a bright future which is why schools and school divisions across Saskatchewan are currently hosting activities and events in celebration of the designation.


This year’s theme for Education Week, “Building our Future by Learning Together”, highlights the collaboration and hard work of educators and how it continues to yield positive results.  For example, new data from the 2016-17 school year shows that the graduation rate in Saskatchewan has increased to 76.5 per cent, up from 75.6 in 2015-16.  This is the highest the graduation rate has been in the past 20 years.  The graduation rate for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students has also increased.


Education Week reminds us of how it is important to put students first by ensuring they’re provided with the resources, programs, and facilities they need to succeed.  Together, we will continue to seek improvement in our graduation rates.  Thank you to everyone involved in our education system for the essential work you do in building our future by learning together.