Report from the Legislature – March 24, 2022

Saskatchewan is back on track.

A vastly improved financial picture has allowed our government to present a budget for 2022-23 that will touch all corners of the province. This budget will support Saskatchewan people, foster a strong and growing economy, and build a strong Saskatchewan for future generations.

This budget strengthens and protects Saskatchewan with key investments into priorities such as health care, social services and assistance, education and protection of persons and property. A record $3.2 billion in capital investments will focus on needed infrastructure like hospitals, schools, highways, municipal and Crown projects.

Our government will use this budget to improve health care services across the province, such as our efforts to tackle the surgical waitlist caused by the pandemic. We have committed $21.6 million to reduce wait times by performing an additional 7,000 surgeries this year, compared to last year and increasing each subsequent year. We will also work on capacity by creating a new independent recruitment agency to bring more health care professionals to Saskatchewan. Here at home, another 150 nursing seats are being funded in our post-secondary institutions to train more Saskatchewan graduates.

Recognizing the importance of education, our 27 school divisions will receive nearly $2.0 billion in operating funding for the 2022-23 school year. The increase fully funds the 2 per cent salary increase as part of the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement along with hiring an additional 200 full-time educational assistants. Our government has also provided an additional $1.8 million to help cover unexpected staffing costs from the 2021-22 school year.

A changing entertainment industry will bring Saskatchewan’s film and television industry back into the spotlight. The 2022-23 Budget includes an $8 million increase for the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program. More streaming content has resulted in more opportunities for Saskatchewan businesses. Only Saskatchewan labour, goods, and services are eligible for support, ensuring the funds stay in the province.

Municipalities will see more support in this budget with $262 million through Municipal Revenue Sharing. The unconditional funding helps lay the foundation for stronger communities and a stronger Saskatchewan. Since 2007, more than $3.7 billion has supported municipalities and the needs that matter most to them.

Making life more affordable for Saskatchewan families, our province continues to have some of the lowest personal taxes in the country. A Saskatchewan family of four pays no provincial income tax on their first $53,435 of combined income, more than twice the limit compared to 2007. A family of four with $100,000 in total income pays $2,084 less this year compared to 2007.

Affordable, accessible, high-quality child care is a key priority through the Federal-Provincial Early Years agreements. We are creating 28,000 new spaces by the end of March 2026 with an end goal of bringing down the average fee for regulated child care to $10-a-day.

A favourable investment climate and positive outlook for Saskatchewan have resulted in $13.6 billion in new private investment for major projects. The work by investors and corporations will create 9,000 construction jobs and more than 2,300 permanent positions. Saskatchewan has the second highest rate of job growth in Canada and just last year, saw 30,000 new jobs province wide.

Overall, revenue is forecast to reach $17.2 billion, with expenses totalling $17.6 billion. A $2.1 billion improvement over last year, the deficit for 2022-23 is projected to be $463 million. We plan to keep this trend going with smaller deficits in each of the next three years, reaching a balanced budget for the 2026-27 budget cycle.

These are just a few of the exciting announcements to come from this year’s budget. More details regarding individual programs and services will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months.

Our provincial economy is back on track. Provincial finances on back on track. And that allows government services to get back on track. The 2022-23 Budget protects and strengthens our province, ensuring investments made today are sustainable into the future.