Report from the Legislature – July 15, 2021

The hot and dry conditions across the province are creating challenges for our farmers and ranchers. Topsoil moisture levels continue to decrease, and many areas will have their yields and quality impacted without some timely rain. Many of our livestock producers are also having trouble sourcing feed and ensuring quality water sources.

Effective immediately, changes will be made to allow low yielding crops to be put to alternate use to support the livestock sector. The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation is doubling the Low Yield Appraisal threshold values for customers who salvage their cereal or pulse crops as feed, without negatively impacting future individual coverage.  Crop Insurance coverage will not be negatively impacted if customers chose to divert grain crops to feed. 

Livestock producers can gain access to feed sources from Crop Insurance customers who choose to put their crops to a use other than harvest.  I encourage all local producers to contact your local SCIC office to discuss options.

The Government of Saskatchewan is also making changes to temporarily increase the maximum funding a livestock producer can receive from the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) for dugouts, wells and pipelines.

Presently, under FRWIP, costs related to dugouts, pipelines and wells are funded at 50 per cent of eligible costs, to a maximum rebate of $50,000 over the life of the program. For the period April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the maximum rebate for livestock producers only will increase to $150,000.  The first $50,000 will be based on a 50-50 cost-share and the remaining $100,000 will be on a 70-30 government-producer cost-share.

Agriculture is at the heart of our province and your government is working to ensure we support our producers as we get through this difficult growing season.

Despite these challenges, Saskatchewan is now fully open, and residents are set to have an amazing summer seeing family, friends, our province, and our Saskatchewan Roughriders.

After seventeen months of COVID-19 precautions, all public health restrictions have been lifted. This includes mandatory masking and limits on events and gathering sizes.

While COVID-19 is still here, more than half of our population is now fully vaccinated which gives us greater protection as we begin returning to normal activities.

At a time when individuals and families are navigating what life will look like as we emerge from the pandemic, I want to provide some clarity as to where we are at today.

While the public health order requiring masking in indoor spaces has come to an end, masking will continue to be an option for all residents who wish to do so. Some businesses may also choose to maintain masking requirements but that is up to them.

The removal of public health orders does not mean the pandemic is over. COVID-19 will continue to circulate, particularly among unvaccinated populations, and being fully vaccinated is our best protection. All residents will continue to be offered first and second doses.

While there are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved for children under 12, all residents 12+ are encouraged to be fully vaccinated to afford these groups the best circle of protection possible. Children can contract, transmit and become ill with COVID-19, though the risk for serious health outcomes is lower than older populations.

If you are fully vaccinated, all activities with children will be considered lower risk. If you are eligible for either your first or second dose, you can find a vaccination clinic or pharmacy location online

Prekindergarten to Grade 12 schools will return to regular operations for the 2021-22 school year and licensed childcare facilities can now return to regular pre-pandemic operations.

Long-term care homes and personal care homes may allow an unlimited number of visitors and family members for their residents, subject to scheduling limitations in a home.

Visitors and families will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and will be offered rapid antigen testing in Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities. Visitors and families are strongly encouraged to continue to wear masks during visits and to maintain physical distance, especially if not fully vaccinated. Staff will continue to take precautions to protect residents including masking, screening, rapid testing and use of personal protective equipment.

Public health will continue monitoring and responding to localized COVID-19 outbreaks. Testing will still be available, contact tracing will continue and cases and close contacts who are not fully immunized may be advised to isolate by public health officials.

As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, please contact our Constituency Office at 306-205-2126.