Report from the Legislature – December 22, 2022

The last twelve months will be remembered for years to come. Saskatchewan found a way to stand fast when faced with post-pandemic challenges. A positive business climate and increased private investment have laid the groundwork for a spectacular 2023.

Saskatchewan’s population has surpassed 1.2 million for the first time in history. We have the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, with a new overall employment record of 574,300 people employed. Our real Gross Domestic Product is forecast to increase by 1.9 per cent in 2023, the highest growth among the provinces. Our government can invest in programs and services thanks to the expanding economy, and we are on track to balance the budget, with a $1.1 billion surplus at mid-year.

Increased revenue has allowed our government to support those facing financial pressure due to inflation and the federal carbon tax. The Four Point Affordability Plan delivered a one-time Saskatchewan Affordability Tax Credit cheque, changes to PST on fitness memberships and other youth recreational activities, and we extended the small business tax rate reduction. We increased the maximum monthly benefit through the Seniors Income Plan by $30 per month, with a second $30 increase for 2023/24. These measures, along with some of the country’s lowest utility costs and income tax levels, have helped Saskatchewan residents with inflation.

In the fall, we launched the Health Human Resource Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain health professionals across the province. Adding 1,000 new healthcare staff will directly support the ability to perform more surgeries. This fiscal year we set an aggressive target of performing 97,000 surgeries, the highest number of surgeries ever completed in one year.

We are making Saskatchewan safer with new initiatives like the Saskatchewan Marshall Service, increased funding for the Crime Reduction Team, and the Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team. Over $23 million in additional funding has been committed to enhancing and expanding agencies that will ensure public safety, respond to emergencies and support programs already in place.

We believe Saskatchewan is the best place to work, live and raise a family. The business climate continues to be supportive and draws new ideas to our province. This economic success allows for further investment into the things that matter to the Saskatchewan people. Things like healthcare, education, better roads and highways, and safer communities.

As we look back on the last year, our province has faced challenges and celebrated success. Saskatchewan will start the new year with one of the best economies in the country, allowing for even more growth in 2023. Forecasters are watching with great interest as we continue to support new opportunities, fresh investment and job growth. We are blessed to live in a bountiful province.

From our families to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!