Report from the Legislature – October 12, 2023

It was with shock and sadness that the world watched violence unfold in Israel. That is why our government announced $100,000 of immediate emergency aid to the humanitarian organization Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel (CDMA). Based in Montreal, the CDMA is the sole authorized fund-raising organization within Canada dedicated to supplying ambulances, medical equipment, supplies and blood testing kits to support the lifesaving efforts in Israel. This donation demonstrates Saskatchewan’s unwavering support for Israel, and condemnation of the horrific terrorist attacks waged against civilians at the hands of Hamas and Hezbollah. We stand with the people of Israel during this tragic time and pray for all of those affected by this terrorist attack.

Our government recently announced an investment of $40.2 million over the next two years to fund a new Provincial Approach to Homelessness program. In Regina and Saskatoon, 155 new supportive housing units will be developed for individuals who need more than a home to remain connected to housing. Supportive housing provides on-site and visiting support and connection to wrap-around services to help individuals find stability. In urban centres across the province, 120 new emergency shelter spaces will be created, bringing the provincial total to 500 for this winter.

In addition, two complex needs emergency shelters will be established in Regina and Saskatoon, which will provide secure and medically supervised places for individuals to go for up to 24 hours. Our government is committed to working with Indigenous partners, municipalities and community-based organizations to build and enhance our housing and addictions programs, while protecting all of our communities.

Our government also recently announced a new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions with an investment of $49.4 million over 5 years. A total of 500 new addictions treatment spaces will be created, more than doubling the number currently funded across the province. Work will begin immediately on a central intake system that patients can contact directly to refer themselves for mental health and addictions services.

The plan also includes expanding the Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools initiative to five more school divisions, with plans for more in future years; providing wrap-around mental health and addiction supports for residents of the new supportive housing units; and creating a Provincial Opioid Agonist Therapy (POAT) program to make addictions medicines more accessible across the province. This new plan will build a seamless continuum of care that includes detox, inpatient treatment, and supportive living.

Our government is able to make these investments thanks to our province’s strong and growing economy. Saskatchewan ranked first in growth in building permits among provinces with a 59 per cent increase from August 2022 to August 2023, while nationally, permits were down 5.9 per cent. The total value of Saskatchewan’s building permits for the month of August 2023 was $262 million.

Saskatchewan’s labour force remains strong as well, with 13,700 new jobs from September 2022 to September 2023. The province’s unemployment rate is 4.9 per cent, below the national average of 5.5 per cent. Employment increased 6,000 from last month at a rate of one per cent, the third-highest increase among provinces. Our growing economy, combined with significant private sector investments, are creating jobs, building opportunities for citizens and protecting communities across the province.

Our government recalled the Legislature early this fall and will use the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian constitution to pass legislation to protect parental rights.

You have likely been hearing a lot of commentary about the constitution, the court judgement and the proper use of the notwithstanding clause. But the question really comes down to this: should parents be included in important decisions regarding their kids? Who do you trust to raise your kids? Your Saskatchewan Party government trusts parents.

As we move through the fall sitting, we look forward to hearing from you regarding your questions, comments or concerns.