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Report from the Legislature

May 14, 2014

Report from the Legislature

May 14, 2014

We want to ensure every Saskatchewan resident has the opportunity to participate in the

electoral process – particularly those who face challenges in casting their vote. This is why, in

consultation with the Official Opposition, our government has introduced amendments that are

going to make it easier for Saskatchewan people to vote in future provincial elections.

The Election Amendment Act, 2014 will establish a permanent voter registry and remove the

requirement for door-to-door enumeration, restrictions on who can vote at advance polls and

provide for home-bound voting for voters with a disability. These new provisions will allow

voters with a disability to apply to have election officials come to their home to take their vote.

Additional changes will broaden voter assistance provisions and make it easier for voters to

designate a friend or access an interpreter to help them cast their vote.

We are particularly proud of a change that provides special residence recognition to voters

serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Active members of the military who are from

Saskatchewan will retain their residency while serving outside the province while members who

are coming from outside the province to serve in Saskatchewan will immediately be able to vote

in provincial elections. We are the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement this change.

As part of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth, we expect to add 60,000 more people to our

workforce by 2020. To that end, we're making record investments in post-secondary education

so people can receive the training needed to participate in our dynamic labour market.

Saving for our children's education is a priority for all parents and our government recognizes

and understands the challenges families may face. The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for

Education Savings (SAGES) is one way we're working to make post-secondary education more

affordable.

Modelled after the Canada Education Savings Grant, it enables the Government of

Saskatchewan to provide a grant of 10% on contributions into a Registered Education Savings

Plan (to a maximum of $250 per child per year). People with new and existing RESP's can

apply through participating financial institutions or investment companies. Contributions made

to eligible RESPs will receive the SAGES grant retroactively to January 1, 2013.

We want to ensure more students have the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education.

SAGES will help to achieve this by encouraging families to plan ahead for their children's future

and promoting the importance of completing a post-secondary education.

Many of us are ready to replace memories of a long winter and late spring with memories of

summer fun at Saskatchewan Provincial Parks. Summer might be a few weeks away but

campers are kicking off the Victoria Day long weekend by visiting our parks. Since it is still early

in the season, some parks may have reduced services – details can be found at saskparks.net.

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks set a visitation record in 2013, part of the reason our

government continues to invest in them. For example, funding for parks is up 4.6% this year.

We want to keep the experience enjoyable for everyone and we're doing that through electrical

expansion, service and visitor centre replacements and water system upgrades.

Governments can make stronger rules and tougher sanctions but the only way to make our

roads safer is for us, as drivers, to think about the choices we can make to prevent crashes.

With another busy travel season upon us, we have launched The Road Safety Challenge. This

is designed to get you thinking about safe driving and how you can make a difference.

In 2012, there were 184 deaths and 7,311 injuries due to vehicle collisions on Saskatchewan

roads. Our target through The Road Safety Challenge is a 10 per cent reduction in deaths and

injuries by Saskatchewan Day 2015 and a 20 per cent reduction by Saskatchewan Day 2017.

It's easy to blame other drivers for the behaviour causing collisions so we're challenging all

drivers to take personal responsibility by making simple changes in driving habits that can lead

to big safety benefits. Changes could include volunteering to be the designated driver, always

wearing a seatbelt, easing off the gas pedal, and putting down the distractions like cellphones

while driving. As you travel the province, remember, small changes can have a big impact.

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