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Report from the Legislature

December 18, 2014

Report from the Legislature

December 17, 2014

Not long ago, Saskatchewan's population was in decline with many of our young people leaving

the province to find work and raise their families elsewhere. Today, thanks to the hard work and

determination of our people, Saskatchewan is strong and has a growing population that's

closing in on 1,130,000 – steady growth of nearly 20,000 people per year since 2007.

The steady growth we're experiencing creates both opportunities and challenges. Despite

recent economic volatility in the price of oil, our government remains on track to deliver another

balanced budget. This is in part thanks to a diverse economy and sound fiscal management.

Saskatchewan still enjoys the strongest rate of job creation in the country – three times the

national average, and we have enjoyed the country's lowest unemployment rate for 24 straight

months. A growing population and volatility will present us with challenges, however a robust,

diverse economy, continued tax relief for families, and ongoing investments in infrastructure will

help us rise to meet these challenges and keep Saskatchewan strong and moving forward.

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program is an important part of a strong and growing

Saskatchewan. Our province recently received a boost in the number of nominations, bringing

our 2014 nomination cap to 4,818 – a 218 per cent increase since 2007. This reflects both our

government's commitment to welcoming newcomers to Saskatchewan as well as the federal

government's recognition of the labour force shortage we face now and in the future. It also

reflects the fact that, once the place to be from, Saskatchewan is now the place to be.

We've got a strong working relationship with the Government of Canada and we thank them for

responding to our needs by increasing allocations and providing more opportunities for

immigrants and their families to live, work and invest in our growing province. The nomination

cap for 2015 will be increased to 5,500 – a jump of 15 per cent over this year.

There is no doubt that Saskatchewan people are Saskatchewan's greatest strength. When I

think of the values that built this province, I think of neighbours helping neighbours and even

strangers helping strangers, particularly in a time of need. These acts of kindness are part of

who we are and are among the many things that make us proud to be from Saskatchewan.

Some of the greatest contributions to our province are those that come from our many service

clubs. Just recently, the first four recipients of the Premier's new Service Club Award were

announced. The Kinsmen & Kinettes (Meadow Lake), Lions Club (Kipling & District), Elks

(Balgonie No. 572) and Young Fellows' (Weyburn) are the inaugural recipients.

New nominations are now being accepted for the award. Volunteer, non-profit service clubs or

fraternal organizations that meet to perform charitable work either by hands-on effort or by

raising money for other organizations are eligible. The nomination deadline is Tuesday,

February 17, 2015. Visit saskatchewan.ca/premierserviceclubaward to learn more.

If you haven't yet received your health card renewal stickers, I would encourage you to contact

eHealth Saskatchewan before December 31st. The renewal packages, which were mailed out

earlier this fall, ensure residents are covered for a variety of medical services.

The most common reason for not receiving renewal stickers is a change of address that hasn't

been updated with eHealth. To ensure your Saskatchewan health coverage is not interrupted,

you can update your information at ehealthsask.ca or by calling 1-800-667-7551.

Merry Christmas – and best wishes for a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

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