Supporting Saskatchewan Families
Family Day is a welcome long weekend break between New Year’s Day and Easter weekend. It is a reminder to reflect on and appreciate the gift of family. Creating a strong family helps us as individuals and as a society. Pope St. John Paul II wisely said that “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world in which we live.”
Our Saskatchewan government is committed to supporting families and assisting in improving family life.
Starting in 2008 our government continues to lower personal income taxes, which has had a significant impact for many families. In fact, Saskatchewan now has the second-highest personal tax credit amounts in Canada, and the highest combined credit amounts for a family of four. Individual taxpayers pay no Saskatchewan income tax on their first $20,545 of income while a family of four pays no Saskatchewan income tax on their first $51,600 of income— this is the highest tax-free income threshold for a family of four in Canada. A family of four with $50,000 annual income, and deducting $3,000 in child care expenses, has seen their provincial income tax cut by 100 per cent since 2008—from an annual tax cost of about $2,300; now reduced to zero provincial income tax in 2018.
Ensuring families have access to affordable, safe, secure and stable housing is another key component to addressing poverty and family support. Since 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested more than $770 million to develop or repair almost 16,000 housing units across our province. The province of Saskatchewan partners with the Government of Canada and Habitat for Humanity to help lower-income families achieve homeownership. The province’s overall commitment to Habitat for Humanity totals $9.85 million since March 2009. Work on the seventh and eighth Habitat for Humanity homes in Moose Jaw began last November and are progressing on time.
During our last sitting in the Legislature we addressed issues for families experiencing interpersonal violence. Over the past year, Ministries engaged in consultations to determine what supports are needed to combat the issue in Saskatchewan. Now, The Saskatchewan Employment (Interpersonal Violence Leave) Amendment Act, 2017, provides survivors of interpersonal violence with 10 days of job-protected, unpaid leave to access services or to relocate. An employee, employee’s child or a person for whom an employee is a caregiver who is the victim of interpersonal violence, may take time off work for medical attention, victim services, legal matters, psychological or other professional services, or relocation. The 10 days of leave can be taken in shorter blocks of a few hours or a few days as needed.
Our government has also worked together with families of children with Autism, families with unique needs, to fulfill our commitment to provide individualized funding to children under six with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Families come in many different shapes and sizes with different concerns and needs. Having a personal connection with a family unit where we can feel unconditionally loved makes us better persons and contributes to a content community. Spending time to foster family relationships on Family Day weekend just might make the world a better place. We encourage you to enjoy Family Day with many of the family programs available in Moose Jaw this weekend, including those offered at YaraCentre, the Western Development Museum, and others.