Report from the Legislature – August 18, 2022

Saskatchewan continues to be a national leader in key economic categories, aligning with our Growth Plan 2030. We know our province has what the world needs, and getting it to market relies on our highways. To support our growing economy, our government has prioritized investing in upgrading our highways and improving their safety. Since 2008, our government has invested more than $11.5 billion into our highways. Part of our Growth Plan is to improve 10,000 kilometres of highways over ten years, and I’m happy to say that we are on track to exceed that goal.

This summer will mark the completion of three major projects so far. One such project is the $5.6 million bypass for Highway 21 at Unity, which will help future economic growth while improving safety. The project supports the efforts of North West Terminal, a world-class processing and transportation hub. It also addresses concerns about increased truck traffic in proximity to residential areas.

28 passing lanes and multiple intersection upgrades on Highway 16 have helped improve safety and product delivery along the busy transportation corridor. More than $50 million was invested in the passing lanes, proven to be a safe and effective solution for heavy traffic volume areas.

To the west, a multi-year project on Highway 7 will be completed this summer. The investment saw about $120 million worth of safety improvements, increased capacity and additional support for economic growth in the area. This stretch of highway is a busy interprovincial corridor and pivotal for travellers between the largest cities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. In addition to 22 passing lanes, 31 kilometres of twinning were completed as part of the project.

By improving the conditions for economic development, businesses can expand, create more jobs and re-invest in the communities they call home. The proof is in the numbers; Saskatchewan continues to be a national leader in many economic categories, such as job growth. In the last year, our province has added 24,400 jobs setting a record high of 490,300 full-time positions. In July 2022, Saskatchewan’s seasonally adjusted employment of 576,200 had surpassed pre-COVID February 2020 employment levels.

Saskatchewan’s abundant natural resources and strong private investments have created an active job and export market. The growth continues with a June report from Statistics Canada that shows merchandise exports increased by 57 per cent compared to a year ago, the second highest among the provinces. The value of Saskatchewan building permits in June 2022 increased as well, by nearly 16 per cent compared to May 2022, second again among the provinces. Our province ranked first for building construction investment, a 63 per cent increase compared to June 2021. This confidence in our economy leads to more jobs and growth, on track with our strategy to attract more investment in Saskatchewan.

Most recently, we were pleased to announce nearly $9 million for training and professional development for the early learning and childcare sector. The grants are in partnership with the Government of Canada through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Coll├Ęge Mathieu, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and Saskatchewan Polytechnic will make Early Childhood Education training opportunities available at no cost. For more informtion visit Saskatchewan.ca

This funding is the latest piece of a much larger goal to improve and expand child care while bringing down average fees for regulated child care to $10 a day by the end of March 2026. Starting September 1, 2022, parent fees for regulated child care will be reduced by an average of 70 per cent compared to March 2021. So far, that reduction means a family of an infant in full-time, regulated child care can expect to pay up to $550 less per month than they paid in January of 2022.

Our government has committed to supporting economic expansion that benefits all Saskatchewan residents. Economic growth allows for these investments to drive down costs for families, create a bright future for our children, and strengthen our communities.