Report from the Legislature – December 06, 2018

I want to thank the thousands of SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, emergency service workers, and many working across government Ministries for their tremendous response and their work through a major power outage affecting nearly one-third of SaskPower customers. Together their actions showcased the very best of Saskatchewan and that effort deserves recognition.

Your Saskatchewan Party government is committed to standing up for Saskatchewan. This was our focus as we delivered on priorities for the economy and people of Saskatchewan throughout the fall sitting of the legislature. We outlined our plan to balance the budget in the spring, to fight the federal carbon tax, and to invest in services and infrastructure across the province.

Even as we continue to face trade, transportation and economic challenges, this session saw a year-over-year employment increase of 9,400 jobs – the largest job gains in four years. We will keep standing up for our province locally, national and internationally to see this continue while fighting the Trudeau carbon tax, which will kill jobs and make our industries less competitive.

The Government of Saskatchewan is taking action on climate change through the implementation of the Prairie Resilience Climate Change Strategy. This includes the introduction of new legislation to establish intensity-based performance standards for large emitters as well as the new Climate Resilience Measurement Framework, the first of its kind in Canada, with 25 different measures to monitor and enhance Saskatchewan’s resilience to climate change.

Over the past seven weeks we also became a leader in the country through legislation to expand Workers’ Compensation coverage for firefighters; by creating the longest maternity leave in the nation; and by becoming the first province in Canada to introduce Clare’s Law to help those at risk of intimate partner violence. Interpersonal violence leave will also be expanded to include sexual violence of any kind, allowing Saskatchewan residents to take time off to seek medical attention or access supports.

To help Saskatchewan people who may need time off from work to care for family members, changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act will create a new critically ill adult leave.

Safety was a significant focus of the fall session with the introduction of mandatory minimum training requirements for commercial semi drivers; a proposed enhancement to rural policing to allow municipalities with populations under 500 to join regional police services; improved trespassing legislation; and new regulations to allow ridesharing companies to operate and provide more options for safe rides home.

Our infrastructure investments continued with Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford nearing completion; the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital reaching 92 per cent completion; continued work to improve cellular service in rural Saskatchewan; and the opening of new bridges, passing lanes, and intersection improvements across the province.

Bilateral agreements were signed with the federal government this fall to provide nearly $900 million for infrastructure projects over the next decade and more than $5 million to improve access to treatment for people with opioid or crystal meth dependencies.

A recent report has found that the wait time for patients receiving specialist services in Saskatchewan was the shortest in Canada. This is much improved from the days Saskatchewan patients suffered with some of the longest waits in the country under the NDP.

At the conclusion of the fall legislative session, and as we approach a new year, our commitment to always stand up for the people of Saskatchewan and the interests of our province remains the same. While we face many challenges in our province, one thing is certain: Saskatchewan people are determined, resilient and resourceful. Our government will always reflect those qualities as it stands up for our province and works to build a stronger Saskatchewan.