Legislative Updates

Report from the Legislature October 15, 2015

October 15, 2015

Saskatchewan Welcomes Trans Pacific Partnership Deal

Our government strongly supports Canada’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the most ambitious free trade agreements in history.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes 12 countries and over 800 million people, it removes tariffs and other trade barriers with our most important trading partners, and opens up potential new markets for exporters.

Saskatchewan exported more than $25 billion in goods (71 per cent of our international exports) to TPP countries in 2014.  The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement increases access to those markets and keeps our exporters on a level playing field with their competitors.  The TPP has been endorsed by numerous exporters including virtually every agricultural organization that represents Saskatchewan producers.

International trade has always been vital to our province’s economy and I know our agricultural producers are looking forward to having an even stronger presence in pacific markets.  The TPP will encourage major growth and investment in our value-added agriculture sector through better access to these markets for our processed products, such as canola oil and meal, malt barley, beef and pork.

Over 500 More Doctors Practising in Saskatchewan

Our government made a commitment to recruit and retain more physicians in Saskatchewan – and the results of those efforts have been positive.  Through a number of physician recruitment and retention initiatives, our province has welcomed more than 500 new physicians over the past eight years.

Population growth among our physician community has actually outpaced general population growth.  Since 2007 Saskatchewan families have benefited a 23 per cent increase in family physicians and a 35 per cent increase in specialists, which includes a 50 per cent increase in pediatricians.

Since 2007 nearly 190 physicians have been recruited to practice in rural and remote communities.  There’s still more to do but, through the work of Saskdocs, expansion of medical training seats, and innovative practice incentives, we’re finally seeing improvement and stability across the province.

Flu Vaccinations Across the Province Begin October 19

The publicly-funded influenza (flu) vaccine will be available in Saskatchewan beginning October 19th.  All residents six months and older can receive it for free.  The free vaccine will be offered through public health clinics across the province, and some physician and nurse practitioner offices.

This year, for the first time in Saskatchewan, pharmacists will also be able to provide free flu vaccinations to residents nine years of age and older with a valid Saskatchewan Health Services Card.  Children under the age of nine will need to be vaccinated at a public health clinic.

People can also contact their public health office, call HealthLine 811 or visit saskatchewan.ca/flu for clinic schedules and to find the nearest clinic.  Those who want to get their free flu vaccination at a pharmacy or drugstore should check first to confirm they offer it.

Lowest Unemployment Rate in the Country for Two Straight Years

Saskatchewan’s resilient economy posted strong job numbers in September, marking two consecutive years the province has maintained the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

There were 579,400 people working in September.  The job gains in private sector employment points to a confident business community which is hiring and making investments right across the province.

Since 2007, the strength and determination of Saskatchewan people has helped create 69,800 net new jobs – an average of 24 new jobs per day or 1 new job per hour.

Saskatchewan Government Releases Results of Farmland Consultation

The Ministry of Agriculture has released the results of the farmland ownership consultations held earlier this year.  The views of 3,200 people were provided as part of the consultation, the purpose of which was to inform the Government of Saskatchewan on how best to approach farmland ownership.

The vast majority of respondents do not support pension plans or foreign investors purchasing farmland in Saskatchewan.  They do, however, support our government in taking a stronger role in enforcing farmland ownership rules.  The complete results are available at saskatchewan.ca/farmland.

Next steps will be announced later this fall.

Volunteer Medal Nominations Close October 18th

Citizens have until Sunday to submit nominations for the next recipients of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.  Established in 1995, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal recognizes those who reach beyond their personal activities to help others and make daily life better for everyone.

Any current or former long-term resident of the province and a Canadian citizen may be nominated for the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.  Groups and organizations are ineligible, along with sitting members of Parliament, the Legislature or judiciary.  Nominations are not accepted posthumously.

Learn more at saskatchewan.ca/honoursawards.

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

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