Report from the Legislature – January 07, 2021

Happy new year to you and your family! Though the year has just begun, your Saskatchewan Party government is already at work to make life more affordable for Saskatchewan people.

This year, a series of new and returning provincial income tax and other tax-reducing initiatives will keep more money in your pocket. All Saskatchewan income tax brackets and tax credit amounts will be indexed in 2021, saving taxpayers an estimated $15 million.

We know how important it is to support active children in our province, therefore we are reinstating the Active Families Benefit. The benefit is a non-refundable tax credit of $150 per year, per child to eligible families. Families of children with a disability will receive an additional $50, for a total tax credit of $200 per year, per child. In the 2021 tax year, families will be able to claim this benefit to reduce the overall cost of children’s activities.

Last year, our government made a commitment to introduce the Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit, which is now in place. Under this non-refundable tax credit, Saskatchewan homeowners may save up to $1,155 in provincial income tax in 2021 by claiming a 10.5 per cent tax credit on up to $11,000 on the cost of permits, contractor labour and professional services, building materials, fixtures, and equipment rental expenses incurred between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. A further $945 in savings may be claimed in 2022 in respect of eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022.

Community rinks are an important part of the fabric of Saskatchewan that offer a place to gather, stay healthy and have fun. The Community Rink Affordability Grant program is accepting applications until March 12, 2021 for grants of up to $2,500 a year per indoor ice surface to help cover costs. The grant may be used to offset the cost of operations, minor capital upgrades or to outfit the facility with COVID-19-related expenditures. It is expected that more than 600 ice surfaces in nearly 400 communities will be eligible to receive this support.
While this government is working to make life more affordable in Saskatchewan, the Trudeau Liberals continue to impose a carbon tax on our communities. During a year where every family, community and industry experienced economic hardship, the federal government has still deemed it necessary to collect and increase this ineffective tax. A recent Environment Canada report shows that in Saskatchewan $270 million in carbon taxes were collected, with households only receiving $244.6 million back. The tax is not revenue neutral as the Trudeau Liberals have claimed; the only thing being reduced is our quality of life.

 

From its introduction, our government has led the battle against the Trudeau carbon tax. We have taken our concern to the Supreme Court which is expected to decide on the legality of this tax later this year. As we await this decision, we will continue to defend the rights of the people we serve, while we work to improve our environmental stewardship. To that end, Innovation Saskatchewan has entered into a partnership to establish a world-class cleantech accelerator program in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan is currently being rolled out. The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered to health care workers in both Regina and Saskatoon, marking the completion of the pilot project for our delivery plan. The second rounds of the Pfizer vaccine will soon be delivered to health care workers, making those who have received the vaccine fully immune.

We are expecting a shipment of Pfizer vaccines for Prince Albert and the first Moderna vaccinations heading to communities in the Far North Zone and Far North Central zones. As per the COVID-19 immunization prioritization, eligible health care staff as well as long term and personal care home residents will receive these vaccines.

During this pilot program of the vaccine rollout, the manufacturer and the Public health Agency of Canada required us to hold back the second shot of the vaccine but, going forward, we will not be required to do that.

Saskatchewan is ready to deliver vaccines as quickly and as safely as possible as soon as we receive more doses. The federal government is now telling us to expect only 30,000 doses by the end of January. This is not nearly enough and is considerably less than what they had estimated last month. Our government will continue to voice our concern.

As we continue to administer more vaccines each day, we ask that you please remain disciplined and continue to abide by public health orders. Wear your mask and stay home if you are feeling unwell. The finish line is close, but we will not reach it as a province if we do not continue to do our due diligence.