Legislative Updates

Report from the Legislature April 30, 2014

May 1, 2014

Saskatchewan people deserve to keep more of what they earn and, as a government, our preference is to accommodate that by controlling spending and keeping taxes low. Despite revenue challenges, we accomplished just that with our 2014-15 provincial budget.

Since 2007, Saskatchewan people have benefited from the largest income tax and education property tax cuts in our province's history. As another tax season comes to a close, we remain committed to keeping taxes low, real action that helps Saskatchewan people.

A Saskatchewan family of four with $50,000 in annual income will pay just $166 in provincial income tax in 2014, compared to $2,302 in 2007, representing tax savings of $2,136 annually. This same Saskatchewan family will pay $608 in total taxes this year, compared to $3,032 in Manitoba, $4,231 in British Columbia and $1,282 in Quebec.

A Saskatchewan family of four or more with an income of $75,000 is once again expected to pay less in total provincial taxes and utilities in 2014 than their counterparts in any other province in Canada.

Keeping our taxes low is a key part of The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and we know it's something Saskatchewan people appreciate, especially at this time of the year.

One of the other benefits to living and working in Saskatchewan is wage growth. New data from Statistics Canada shows that average weekly earnings in our province were $961.90 in February 2014 – $37.07 higher than the national average. This shows that, to the benefit of Saskatchewan people, our employers are remaining competitive with other jurisdictions.

Our government is committed to supporting a competitive and productive employment environment by encouraging healthy, safe and fair workplaces. To that end, updated labour legislation and regulations, now in effect, will ensure flexibility in the modern workplace.

Changes include indexing the minimum wage, allowing employers and employees to agree to average hours of work over one, two, three or four weeks, the ability to create a time bank for overtime and recognizing the rights and obligations of interns

The Saskatchewan Employment Act also includes a placeholder section to be used when the Supreme Court of Canada provides guidance on how essential services should be delivered in Saskatchewan. You can learn more about the changes online at Saskatchewan.ca/work.

Our government is committed to improving the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people, including those living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). To that end, starting May 1, 2014, we are proud to provide coverage of a new oral medication to treat adult patients who meet certain criteria.

Tecfidera, which does not require injections, has the potential to reduce the number of relapses MS patients experience as well as slowing the progression of the neurological disease.

Tecfidera was approved for use by Health Canada in 2013. MS patients seeking more information are encouraged to talk with their physicians or call the Saskatchewan MS Drugs Program.

MS affects approximately 3,700 Saskatchewan people – a higher per capita rate than anywhere else in Canada.

As always if you have questions or concerns about this report or any other issues please call my office.

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