Report from the Legislature

April 15, 2015

Report from the Legislature

April 15, 2015

Premier Part of Historic Uranium Energy Deal Signing with India

Saskatchewan is already our nation's top exporter to India, and we are delighted to be part of its

future energy mix. An historic new agreement, announced today, sets the stage for shipments

of Canadian uranium to India for electricity generation. India has a dynamic and growing

nuclear energy program, and the opportunity to supply this major customer is a huge deal for

our industry, the workers it employs and the Saskatchewan communities it supports.

Saskatchewan is home to 100 per cent of Canada's uranium mining industry. Our province is

the world's second-leading producer of uranium and the Athabasca Basin contains the world's

largest high-grade uranium deposits. Premier Wall promoted our uranium resources during his

two trade missions to India in March 2011 and November of last year. During the first mission,

he met with Prime Minister Modi, then the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat.

Job Numbers Up, Unemployment Remain Lowest in Canada

Saskatchewan's labour market is one of Canada's strongest. In March 2015, Saskatchewan's

seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.4 per cent, the lowest unemployment rate among

the provinces for the eighteenth consecutive month.

According to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan's employment rate also increased 7,000 from

the previous month. Given that the consensus among economic forecasters is for continued

growth in 2015, Saskatchewan's current and future job prospects remain robust.

Saskatchewan's Surgical Wait Times Among the Best in Canada

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report, Wait Times for Priority Procedures

in Canada, 2015, shows Saskatchewan patients are benefitting from improved access to

surgery, with surgical wait times in the province among the shortest in the country.

Since the launch of the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, we have made tremendous

improvement in patients' access to surgery. Close to 10,000 more surgeries were performed

last year, compared to five years ago, and the number of patients waiting more than three

months for surgery has dropped by 87 per cent over the past five years.

Farmland Ownership Review and Consultations Announced

The Government of Saskatchewan will hold further consultations and undertake a review of

farmland ownership rules under The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act. The original intent of

the Act was to limit ownership of Saskatchewan farmland to Canadian residents and 100 per

cent Canadian-owned corporations. However, it did not explicitly define institutional investors

such as pension plans, administrators of pension fund assets and trusts.

While the review is underway, regulations will be put in place to prohibit certain organizations

from purchasing farmland in Saskatchewan. Our goal is not to limit investment, but to ensure

the long-term success of the industry and economy. Saskatchewan farmland is a strategic

asset that should be owned by Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.

Province Commits Funding for Social Services CBOs

Community-based organizations (CBOs) play a vital role in serving the most vulnerable citizens

in our province. As part of this year's budget, the Ministry of Social Services will provide $263.3

million to CBOs that assist persons with disabilities, vulnerable men, women and children,

people struggling with homelessness and other Saskatchewan people in need.

An additional $2.3 million in funding in the 2015-16 budget brings the overall general increases

provided to CBOs for salary and operating costs to almost $50 million since 2007. Our

government is pleased to continue our valued partnerships with these organizations, helping

them to support people in need in their communities to keep Saskatchewan strong.

Investing in Supports for Vulnerable Families

The Government of Saskatchewan is ensuring a better life for children and families by

continuing to fund KidsFirst programs across the province. The health and well-being of our

children is a high priority for our government. This program supports children and families who

need help the most, to give them every chance for healthy and productive lives.

Through KidsFirst, parents build positive parenting skills as they learn about prenatal health,

child development, literacy, nutrition, and how to improve the health and well-being of their

children. The program also connects parents with support services in their community such as

child care and early learning programs, parent support groups, life skills classes, education

opportunities, and specialized services including mental health and addictions counselling.

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