Report from the Legislature – October 3, 2019

Saskatchewan is still growing strong, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. Between April 1st and July 1st, 2019, Saskatchewan added 3,435 people bringing our population to an all-time high of 1,174,462.

Our population has now grown in 53 consecutive quarters, increasing by more than 183,000 people during that time.

A growing province creates opportunities and provides the resources needed to support important government services such as education and health care.

This year’s budget included an increase of $26.2 million to school operating funding with education infrastructure investment increasing by nearly an additional $20 million.

This year’s health budget is up 3.7% ($196 million), much of it focused on mental health and addictions improvements, new long-term care construction and the new costs of operating the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

The growth of our province has provided the means to move forward with 46 brand new or replacement schools and 23 major renovations. It’s also why we’ve been able to add nearly 900 more doctors and over 3,700 more nurses since 2007.

As we get ready to enter the 2020s, our government is planning for another decade of strong growth in Saskatchewan. This fall, we will release a new growth plan for the new decade, with new growth targets and actions we will take to achieve those targets.

Global market connections are the lifeblood of our growing economy, and Saskatchewan has the food, fuel and fertilizer the world needs. That’s why Saskatchewan is embarking on an eleven-day trade mission to Japan and South Korea with an additional stop in Hong Kong.

Saskatchewan exports to Asian markets have grown by 158 per cent since 2007 to $8.5 billion in 2018. To Japan and South Korea, Saskatchewan sells high quality canola seed, canola oil, wheat, pulse crops and so much more. We will place a high priority on continuing to develop and diversity our existing links but also on establishing new ones.

Asia contains some of the most important and emerging markets for our province. This trade mission will include important conversations to promote Saskatchewan’s sustainable mining sector, our forestry sector, and our value-added agriculture as well as our agri-food sectors. We will also be establishing educational and exchange partnerships with our post-secondary institutions with strong representation from provincial business and industry stakeholders as well as academic institutions.

Agriculture has always been and continues to be one of the key drivers of economic growth in Saskatchewan.

Today in Saskatchewan, the agriculture industry provides 50,000 jobs, represents about 10 per cent of our GDP and nearly 40 per cent of our total exports. The industry itself continues to evolve, adopting the best practices leading to higher yields and higher quality products while leading the world in environmental sustainability.

October is Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan – a time to highlight our connection to food and the role agriculture plays in the lives of Saskatchewan people. From primary production and research to processing and technology, there are many stories to share about the care and consideration that goes into producing the healthy, nutritious meals on our plates.

While I know this harvest season has been particularly challenging, I am confident we can get the crop in the bin. Best wishes to all those who are working hard to bring in the harvest, and stay safe!