Legislative Updates

Legislative Report - May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013

The worth of a society can be measured by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. In keeping with our government's belief in that statement, we continue to honour commitments made in both the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and this year's provincial budget. On May 6, 2013, we announced the first step toward implementing a comprehensive Disability Strategy.

The Disability Strategy will focus on the priority areas specified in the Plan for Growth: accessibility, affordability and availability of housing; transportation; employment; education; support for community inclusion; and support for caregivers. Other priorities may emerge during the consultation process.

Members of the public are invited to submit their nominations for the Citizen Consultation Team by downloading the application form from the Ministry of Social Services website at http://www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/disability-strategy. Nominations will be accepted until June 28, 2013, and the team members will be appointed in the fall of this year. The public consultations will be held next spring, to be followed by the public release of the Disability Strategy in late fall of 2014.

This initiative builds on our existing record in terms of making Saskatchewan the best place to live in Canada for people with disabilities, including:

The elimination of the 440 person wait list for programming for people with intellectual disabilities; andThe Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program, allowing more than 10,000 people with physical and intellectual disabilities to live with a greater measure of dignity and independence.

A new federal/provincial program will allow for the next generation of agricultural producers to learn from current industry leaders. Over the next five years, $500,000 in funding will be provided to the Youth Mentorship Program with the goal of assisting industry associations to mentor young producers into future industry leaders. This program will help young producers gain leadership skills and the networking opportunities needed to become future leaders. No provincial program aimed at developing leadership capacity for all sectors of the agriculture industry existed until now.

On May 3, 2013 the federal and provincial governments announced the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) will continue for the next five years with $65 million in support. FRWIP, which was first introduced in 2008, helps farmers, ranchers, First Nation bands, rural municipalities and irrigation districts develop long-term, reliable sources of water and the related infrastructure necessary to support their agriculture businesses. Eligible projects include wells, dugouts, pipelines, community wells and irrigation in-fill. The program has now been enhanced to include a new component for Agricultural Business Development for intensive livestock and horticultural operations. As well, value-added agricultural businesses and non-district irrigators are now eligible for funding. Establishing secure water sources is crucial to the long-term success of farmers and ranchers and is essential to the future growth of Saskatchewan's agriculture industry and economy. For more information go to www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/GF2-FRWIP.

Families and dependants of members Canadian Armed Forces relocated to our province will now receive immediate basic Saskatchewan health coverage. In the past, there was a 90 day waiting period for coverage, amendments to the Medical Care Insurance and Administration Regulations have been waved to make this change. This change is in line with other provinces and territories and will mean less interprovincial billing for health care services. Our government will continue to support the brave woman and men, and their families, who give so much for our country.

If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just contact Scott.

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