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Report from the Legislature

June 4, 2014

Report from the Legislature

June 4, 2014

Summer is nearly here and, as we make plans to enjoy the season, we are reminded of our

bright future. Many families are preparing for their sons and daughters high school graduation.

This is a time of reflection, celebration and anticipation for what is to come.

One of the greatest changes we have seen in recent years is that our grads are no longer

forced to look for opportunity in other provinces. They have every opportunity to further their

education and build their careers right here in Saskatchewan. Our government encourages it.

We're doing this, in part, with Canada's most aggressive Graduate Retention Program (GRP).

Under the GRP, post-secondary grads can receive up to $20,000, over seven years, in tax

credits. In many instances this can mean recovering the cost of an undergraduate degree.

New high school grads can access the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship. This gives

students up to $500 a year, over four years for a total of $2,000, to go toward the cost of their

post-secondary education. We are also taking action to help parents save for their kids'

education in the form of the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES)

program. Our government will provide a contribution to Registered Education Savings

Programs (RESP) at a rate of 10% of annual contributions up to a maximum of $250 per year.

We're able to provide these and other supports, within a balanced budget framework, because

of the continued growth, confidence and investment we are seeing in the province. This has

resulted in a broader tax base and more resources for government, and has allowed us to make

some important investments in infrastructure and, in particular, in our quality of life.

For far too long Saskatchewan's surgical wait lists were among the worst in the country. This is

why, in 2010, our government decided to set a goal that no one in the province would have to

wait longer than three months for surgery. To achieve that, we invested in innovative changes

that would provide sooner, safer, smarter surgical care for the people of our province.

This initiative saw the creation of an online specialist directory to help patients identify surgical

options, specialist groups that pool referrals so patients can see the first appropriate specialist

or wait for a specific specialist, timely and appropriate care through clinical "pathways", province-

wide implementation of the surgical safety checklist and measures to prevent surgical infections

and medication errors. We have also increased capacity to train operating room nurses,

expanded capacity through third-party surgical and diagnostic services and created a culture of

continuous improvement that is being adopted by health system partners.

Today, the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery is down 75%. There

remains more to do and we will continue to work with patients and health regions to make the

necessary improvements to reach our target. You can learn more at sasksurgery.ca.

As part of our commitment to make our province the best place in Canada for people with

disabilities to live, eligible beneficiaries of the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability

program are receiving an increase to their monthly benefits. Based on family size and living

arrangements, this increase is now benefiting approximately 12,000 households.

Developed in collaboration with members of the disability community, SAID was introduced in

2009 with the goal of providing a dignified income support program for persons with significant

and enduring disabilities. We continue to work on further program enhancements.

Summer travel to see family and friends is a priority for many Saskatchewan people and, for

Saskatchewan seniors, it is something that is now more affordable. The Saskatchewan

Transportation Company has extended its $12 Senior Seat Sale by an extra month. Until the

end of June, seniors aged 60 and over can continue to ride with STC for only $12 one-way.

Sale tickets can be purchased at any STC agency and must be used before June 30, 2014.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about government programs or services,

please contact our constituency office. We look forward to hearing from you.

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