326 B High Street West Moose Jaw, SK

Author:

Moose Jaw Express May 27, 2020

newsprint

Operation Inspiration Will Live On

The news of a Snowbird crash came as a tremendous shock across our country, and especially to the aerobatic team, the residents of 15 Wing and to every citizen of Moose Jaw.  Our thoughts are with all of them.  The accident occurred during Operation Inspiration; an initiative to inspire Canadians during COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who live in and around Moose Jaw have an immeasurable pride in the Snowbirds team of highly-skilled pilots, engineers, instructors and support staff. I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate the talent, precision and excitement generated by these professionals as they soar through the sky with the red and white jets trailing a banner of smoke, thrilling every heart.

Our community is deeply saddened by the unfortunate event that took the life of Captain Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer, and injured pilot Captain Rich MacDougall. Our prayers and condolences go to the family and friends of Capt. Casey, along with our wishes for a healthy recovery for Capt. MacDougall. It is a time for healing and caring, and for great  appreciation of the Snowbirds, for the members at 15 Wing and for those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.

As the Snowbirds inspire our country, the people of Saskatchewan never cease to inspire me, especially as we work to weather the current global health pandemic. It is with gratitude that I acknowledge our health care workers. The added demands placed on them to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are significant. Many of them work in situations where they could be exposed to the virus. In care homes they take extra effort to comfort residents who have been unable to see their family or friends for over two months now. Their efforts have made a huge difference in the lives of those they serve.

On April 30, a temporary wage supplement at essential care facilities was announced. The supplement offers $400 for each four-week period, up to 16 weeks, for the period from March 15, 2020 to July 4, 2020. You can learn more at www.saskatchewan.ca/wage-supplement-program.

Thanks to the diligence of the people of Saskatchewan, our province was able to move ahead with Phase 2 of Re-Open Saskatchewan this past week. This is to be done very cautiously. It also means we must remain vigilant in continuing the precautions that have helped us retain a low infection rate.  Please keep the following in mind:

  • Respect the rules of the businesses you visit;
  • Refrain from loitering in stores or malls;
  • Do not gather in groups;
  • Now is not the time to browse – only shop for what you need;
  • If you purchase food at malls or stores, it must be taken home to eat. Food court seating areas remain closed and eating is not allowed in other areas; and
  • All elements of the public health order remain in effect.

You can find the most up-to-date version of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan online at www.saskatchewan.ca/re-open.

Our constituency office remains open to serve you by email: michelsonmla@shaw.ca  or by phone 306 631-8825.

Moose Jaw Express May 20, 2020

newsprint

Thank You to Our Early Childhood Educators

May is Early Childhood Education Month and May 13th was Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day.  The importance of Early Childhood Educators cannot be understated. Studies show that up to 90 per cent of a child’s brain is developed by age five. While in-class learning for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students has been suspended due to COVID-19, many Early Childhood Educators are on the front lines in childcare centres, nurturing the children of those we appreciate as our essential workers.

It probably doesn’t surprise constituents that I consider early childhood supports a priority. Debbie and I have pre-school age grandchildren and before the COVID-19 isolation, they were often with us at family-friendly events around Moose Jaw.  It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to be part of the lives of our grandchildren.

It was also a privilege to attend the grand re-opening of the Northwest Child Development Centre in early March. The centre expanded from a 39-space facility to a larger 75-space newly renovated building, providing additional early learning and childcare services for young families. The Ministry of Education provided a total of $282,000 to assist with this expansion.

Early Learning in Saskatchewan falls under the mandate of the Ministry of Education and includes childcare and pre-school support programs. The 2020-21 spending estimates provide $98 million for childcare and early learning. The government has increased the number of childcare spaces by 76 per cent since 2007 and intends to establish childcare centres in new school builds in the province where appropriate.

Early Childhood Educators make literacy an essential part of their work. Helping a child learn in their early years prepares them for future achievements like high school graduation and a fulfilling career. Primary caregivers are the first teachers in a child’s life and everyday activities like talking, reading, playing games, picking up toys or cooking can be opportunities to grow together. The “Play. Learn. Grow Together” program was developed as a public education program which provides parents and guardians of newborn to Kindergarten-aged children with easy-to-use tips and information to help enhance family learning at home. The webpage and family-friendly videos can be found online at www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/education-and-learning/prek-12-education-early-learning-and-schools/early-years-learning.

These days, when many parents are spending more time at home with their children, it is a good time to get into the habit of reading and literacy development. Making reading a scheduled part of every day helps to develop that habit. Literacy development can happen anytime, anywhere with games such as “I Spy”. Our local library is physically closed at present but continues to offer online programming and many digital literacy options.

Literacy includes exploring new places, ideas and activities together. A friend mentioned to me one day of being on a walk, and seeing a toddler, closely supervised by the parent, exploring a culvert and the structures around it. He immediately thought, “Now there’s a budding civil engineer.” This child’s opportunity to explore now will make a difference in his adult life.

Our government is committed to helping all Saskatchewan children get a good start in life. Early Childhood Educators are essential to make that happen. Please join me in thanking Early Childhood Educators who make such a tremendous difference in the lives of families; and work so diligently to support our youngest citizens.

Moose Jaw Express May 13, 2020

newsprint

Building A Strong Saskatchewan

Recently, when I was traveling through the intersection of 9th Avenue Northwest and Highway 1, I was reminded of my discussions with the Ministry of Highways about safety at that particular intersection.

A decision has been made to conduct an independent engineering review to look at options for Highway 1 as it passes through Moose Jaw. The review will assess safety concerns in the area around the intersection of 9th Avenue N.W. and Highway 1, as well as long-term planning for the Highway 1 and Highway 2 interchange and the intersection of Highway 1 and Thatcher Drive.

The Ministry of Highways will be working with key stakeholders including the City and RM of Moose Jaw, while collecting input from the public. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a firm date has not been set for the conclusion of the work.

The 2020 highway construction season will begin with extra infection control measures in place to keep workers healthy. The 2020-21 Spending Estimates include nearly $648 million to improve safety and increase the capacity of our highways. Saskatchewan’s new Growth Plan includes a target to build and upgrade 10,000 kilometers of highways over the next decade.

Locally, Highway 2 north toward Buffalo Pound Lake is safer and more convenient for travelers with passing lanes constructed last summer. Work continues to improve safety at the intersection of Kalium Road and Highway 1.

 

Safety on Saskatchewan highways is always a priority of our Government. The upcoming Victoria Day long weekend is usually one of the busiest times on our highways.  As with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that. Campgrounds will not be opening until June 1st this year, gatherings are still limited to 10 people, and non-essential travel is not yet advised.

Saskatchewan people should be commended for their efforts and commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19. As part of this focus, our government has also been looking at the best and safest ways to re-open and re-start our economy.

The first step was the release of Re-Open Saskatchewan, a methodical and staged approach to re-opening sectors of our economy. We have also announced a $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan to stimulate economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

This investment in schools, hospitals, highways and Crown utility projects, municipal infrastructure and other important capital projects is designed to build a strong Saskatchewan. This plan will balance the need for smaller, short term projects to jump-start economic activity and get people back to work quickly with longer-term, large-scale projects that leverage multiple sectors over the next several years.

As we Re-Open Saskatchewan, through the various phases, there will be more allowances for travel. Please keep safety in mind with all your summer driving.  Don’t text and drive, don’t drive impaired, be prepared for delays, and always slow to 60 kilometres per hour in all designated highway construction zones.  More than 1,000 kilometres of provincial highways are set to receive upgrades in 2020-21, so there will be “Orange Zones” across the province.

When considering summer plans, please continue to keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19 by following the remaining restrictions and recommended precautions. For more information and updates, visit Saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

Moose Jaw Express May 6, 2020

newsprint

A Safe and Successful Growing Season

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan in response the COVID-19 pandemic was announced last week. The five-phase plan will continue to protect health and safety, while slowly lifting restrictions so that more businesses and facilities can re-open, and more employees can go back to work.

Saskatchewan remains committed to supporting our businesses and industries even as restrictions are gradually lifted. In addition to the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment, The Business Response Team has been established to work with businesses to identify provincially and federally support programs available. Businesses can access this assistance by calling 1-844-800-8688 or emailing  supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca.

Our government recognizes the challenges facing the agriculture industry as it begins its busiest season. Physical distancing restrictions require working in different ways. Many producers rely on temporary workers during the planting season, and any temporary workers arriving from outside Canada must self-isolate for fourteen days. Livestock industries also face challenges as cattle, pork and poultry producers have seen their markets diminish because of the closure of packing plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staying focused on safety requires even more diligence when there is distraction due to stress or time pressures. SaskPower reminded farmers to be aware and take precautions around power lines as they head out to begin work for the spring season. There were 327 reported incidents of farm machinery contacting electrical equipment in 2019, which is up slightly from the previous year. All line contacts can be prevented by taking safety measures.

One of these safety measures is taking care of physical and mental health, such as getting proper rest, drinking plenty of water and taking breaks throughout the day to prevent fatigue. The Farm Stress Line is an important tool in managing mental health during stressful times. The service is free, confidential and available 24/7 by calling 1-800-667-4442. Having the mental health support needed can be key to a safe and successful season.

To further assist producers, our government continues to evaluate the business risk management programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry.  The AgriStability enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year has been extended to July 3, 2020. This step, which has been agreed to by federal, provincial and territorial governments, will help producers manage the impacts of current market disruptions, increased expenses and production challenges.

The federal and provincial governments have also agreed to increase the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for Saskatchewan producers. Interim benefits can provide producers with a portion of their final AgriStability benefit early, to help support losses and cover costs. Saskatchewan producers can now apply for an interim benefit to receive 75 per cent of their estimated final 2020 benefit before completing their program year. Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation is also waiving the six months farming and one production cycle criteria for participants applying for 2020 interim benefits.

To enroll in the AgriStability Program or to apply for an interim benefit, producers can contact their local Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation office, call the AgriStability Call Centre toll-free at 1-886-270-8450 or email agristability@scic.ca.

Thank you to all agricultural workers for feeding our families. I wish you a safe and successful growing season.

Moose Jaw Express April 28, 2020

newsprint

We Will Beat COVID-19

Warmer days and a reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the province are among the many reasons for optimism in the past week. COVID-19 recoveries have outpaced new and active cases since April 11th with health facilities managing the demands placed on them by the pandemic.

Thank you first and foremost to all health care workers and medical professionals. We know the increased infection control measures make your demanding work even more taxing, and your dedication is greatly appreciated. Thank you to educators and many who have been finding new ways of reaching those they serve through distance technology. To those in our grocery stores and other front-line services who are providing for our essential needs; thank you. And to everyone for adhering to the necessary requirement, thank you; we continue to make progress in reducing the spread and flattening the curve in the fight against COVID-19.

It is with these things in mind that our government recently announced our plan to gradually and cautiously begin to re-open businesses and services that have been ordered to close. Businesses that are currently closed should prepare themselves to operate under physical distancing and sanitation conditions as we look to reopen through phases in the weeks and months ahead.

Our Re-Open Saskatchewan plan introduces five phases to methodically, gradually, and cautiously re-open businesses and services across Saskatchewan beginning May 4th, 2020. The latest COVID-19 updates, including our Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, can be found online at  www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

The timing and order of the businesses and workplaces included in each phase is subject to change throughout the process based on a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors. Residents should remain diligent in maintaining physical distancing and practicing good hygiene.

The severity of the impact COVID-19 will have on Saskatchewan’s economy is still uncertain. Fortunately, strong management of the province’s finances in recent years has provided a solid fiscal foundation from which to manage the pressure of the current pandemic crisis and ultimate recovery.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price collapse, Saskatchewan was on track for a surplus in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Our province has maintained the second highest credit rating in the country, continues to have among the lowest net-debts as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and continues to maintain a solid cash position.

 

Setting a budget became a challenge for all levels of government as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. The Saskatchewan provincial budget had to be delayed with only spending estimates announced March 18. Despite this, our government believes that it is important to let Saskatchewan people know just how much of an impact the pandemic is having on our economy and revenues.

Our government has committed to providing the financial resources needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Minister Donna Harpauer recently provided a range of preliminary revenue impacts, using three different scenarios related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As can be expected, this is challenging with so many unknown variables.

It is important to remember that the resulting 2020‐21 deficit is not a structural deficit, it is a pandemic deficit.  The province of Saskatchewan will manage through this because we have the strength, resiliency, fiscal foundation and the people to do it.

From the Desk of Warren Michelson March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020 View this email in your browser
shield FROM THE DESK OF WARREN MICHELSON, MLA
NOTEDue to concerns for public and member safety,  Budget will be closed to                     the public.  

A group of students and a teacher visited my MLA office here in Moose Jaw with concerns about the current status of teachers bargaining.

I encourage my constituents to come into the MLA office however I was disappointed to learn that the teacher’s union continues to spread misinformation.

The government trustee bargaining committee has invited the teachers bargaining committee back to the bargaining table, and their goal remains to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for teachers.

The government trustee bargaining committee has a new mandate for the bargaining table and were also prepared to make a substantial investment regarding class composition as well.

The president and his Union has walked away; he walked away from bargaining and he walked away from conciliation and he has now asked his members to walk away from our students.

It is disappointing that the president of the Union has directed his members to withdraw services without even knowing what the new bargaining mandate from government is.


NORTH WEST CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
It was an honor to bring greetings at the Northwest Child Development Center as it celebrated its grand opening of a new 75-space facility on Hall Street.

Moose Jaw Celebrates Grand Opening Of New Child Care Centre

The Northwest Child Development Centre is celebrating its grand opening of a new 75-space facility which features state-of-the-art equipment, furniture and children’s literature.


The centre is expanding from a 39-space facility to a larger, newly renovated building to provide additional early learning and child care services for young families in the growing Moose Jaw area.


“I was an advocate for this project from its early stages,” Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson said on behalf of Education Minister Gordon Wyant.  “I know how much energy and effort centre staff have put in to reach this moment.”


“Our government is pleased to be able to offer financial assistance for the relocation and expansion of this child care centre,” Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence said on behalf of Education Minister Gordon Wyant.  “We know that the services offered at the Northwest Child Development Centre will be of significant benefit to families in and around our community.”


The Ministry of Education has provided a total of $282,000 to assist with this expansion.  The Government of Saskatchewan has allocated funding for more than 7,100 new child care spaces since 2007, an increase of 76.5 per cent.


In the last six months, new child care facilities offering nearly 200 additional child care spaces have also opened in Regina, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Leroy and Saskatoon.


Report from the Legislature
March 12, 2020
The challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind as the number of cases increases around the world.Public Health Agency of Canada advises:
  • All travelers returning to Canada should monitor their health. Monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. If an employee has these symptoms, they are directed to self-isolate and stay at home and to contact HealthLine 811 for assessment and direction.
  • If you have travelled to a country with a level three travel advisory, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days starting the day you began your journey to Canada. This means self-isolate and stay at home. Contact HealthLine 811 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for direction.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who is ill with COVID-19 should self-isolate for 14 days.
Saskatchewan residents can take a number of steps to protect themselves from respiratory illness:
• Wash your hands frequently – for at least 20 seconds;
• Do not touch surfaces and then your mouth, eyes or nose;
• Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose of them immediately (use your elbow if a tissue is unavailable); and
• Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of illness.You can keep up to date on COVID-19 at www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus, including questions and answers for the public and care providers, and testing surveillance.
The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has affected our stock markets. Markets have been hit hard again after the steep drop in oil prices. As you know, lower oil prices are a challenge for our government and for our Saskatchewan economy.
There is always volatility in resources prices. That’s the reason we made the decision three years ago to reduce our dependency on resource revenues in the provincial budget. Our reliance on these revenues once peaked at 32 per cent; today it is 11 per cent. Oil revenues now make up less than 5 per cent of our provincial budget.
Saskatchewan is in a strong financial position and we will not respond to dropping oil prices in a knee-jerk fashion by cutting programs or services. Rather, we think it’s time to invest in programs and services, and that’s what you will see in the budget.
Recently, we announced that the upcoming provincial budget will include funding for a renewed and expanded Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced more than $300 million for a new multi-storey addition that will include a new acute care tower, replacement of the existing adult mental health space and renovations to the current facility.
This hospital will have:
  • an additional 69 acute care beds – a 40% increase in capacity
  • an expanded emergency department;
  • more space for ambulatory, diagnostic and inpatient services;
  • a new rooftop helipad to accommodate STARS Air Ambulance; and
  • enhanced medical imaging services which will include an MRI.

This significant investment reflects the importance of Victoria Hospital in providing a wider and improved variety of health services, not only to people in Prince Albert, but to patients and clients across central and northern Saskatchewan.

Recently, we announced that the Government of Saskatchewan would be moving forward with its 2020 Targeted Initiatives for Older Workers program. This is in an effort to increase the engagement of older workers in our labour force. The program is aimed at workers aged 55-64 who are currently unemployed and are legally entitled to work in Canada, but lack the skills needed to successfully secure employment.

The Government of Saskatchewan is also investing in English for Employment programming to assist newcomers to overcome language barriers and engage in the labour force. English for Employment programming assists those with a low English proficiency in developing their language skills, with a focus on supporting their capacity to find and maintain employment in Saskatchewan.

It is anticipated that more than 300 newcomers will participate in English for Employment programming over the coming year.

These investments and the latest figures from Statistics Canada show us that Saskatchewan people are hard at work, contrary to what you might have heard from the NDP Opposition.

The most recent job numbers show that 569,700 people in our province were employed in February – an increase of 4,900 compared to February 2019.

Over the same period, full-time employment has increased by 3,100 and part-time employment increased by 1,900.

The latest numbers also showed strength in retail trade and housing starts.

This growth highlights the importance of a plan for our economy and that is why your Saskatchewan Party government has a long-term plan for growth.

Saskatchewan’s economy remains strong and in sharp contrast to the way things were under the NDP when Saskatchewan had the worst job numbers in the country.


Saskatchewan Job Seekers To Benefit From Career Training Investments

The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $650,000 to help transition unemployed individuals to the workforce through Enhanced Career Bridging programs.  This funding will allow up to 160 individuals to participate in opportunities in Prince Albert, Humboldt and Saskatoon.

“Enhanced Career Bridging programs align with the priorities identified in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan and our government’s commitment to promote employment opportunities for under-represented job seekers,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said.  “These individuals have valuable skills to contribute and we want to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed.”


The programs will be delivered by the Prince Albert Multicultural Council, Humboldt and District Community Services Inc., Saskatchewan Abilities Council Inc. and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.  Program participants come from groups that may be under-represented or facing barriers to employment in the Saskatchewan labour market, including Indigenous individuals, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and women.


Offering practical instruction, employability skills and work experience, the targeted programs are designed to respond to the unique needs of participants while addressing the relevant needs of employers, providing training that aids in obtaining quality jobs and building long-term careers.


As outlined in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan, the Government of Saskatchewan is committed to developing the potential of Saskatchewan’s diverse population and providing people with education, training and employment opportunities that will help build a stronger Saskatchewan.


More information on finding a job, accessing training and working in Saskatchewan can be found at 
www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/jobs-working-and-training


PRISM AWARDS

The Business Women of Moose Jaw celebrated leadership, achievement and success at the annual PRISM AWARDS, in support of the Moose Jaw Transition House.
There has been 120 nomiations raising over $90,000 for Transition House .
This years the awards were presented with a 1920s theme.
Teagan Witko of Goldenwest Radio emceed the awards.
Greetings were presented by Transition House President Kayla Dale, chairperson Lauren Dawling and Exec Director Jenn Angus.
Guest Speaker was CWO Marlene Shillingford of 15 Wing.
Awards to:
Julie Knox – Perseverance,
Jackie Wilson – Role Model
Roberta Fonger – Influential
Marcy Duffey – Successful
Jocelyn MacLeod – Mentor
Jamie Lynn-Hodgson – Youth Achievement
Joann Buckmaster – Lifetime Achievement
Congratulations to all winners and to all nominees.


Nominations For Saskatchewan’s 2020 Council Of The Federation Literacy Award Are Now Open

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Canada’s Premiers’ Council of the Federation Literacy Award.

Saskatchewan recognizes literacy champions by focusing on a different category every two years, rotating the award with literacy learners, literacy volunteers and literacy leaders.  This year, Saskatchewan will honour a family literacy volunteer.

“The dedication of our literacy volunteers gives Saskatchewan families a strong start to a bright future,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said.  “The Council of the Federation Literacy Award recognizes the important work that volunteers do to support increasing literacy levels.”

Family literacy volunteers provide an important service to Saskatchewan families by growing engagement and improving families’ capacity to support their children’s learning.  Nominees for the 2020 Council of the Federation Literacy Award promote family literacy awareness, contribute to providing programming, advance collaborative partnerships in communities and educate on the benefits of family literacy.

This year’s award will go to a volunteer who has made a significant contribution to family literacy in Saskatchewan.  Unpaid literacy volunteers living in Saskatchewan who are currently, or since January 1, 2019, have contributed significant knowledge, time and/or expertise to assist family literacy learners, family literacy organizations or communities are eligible to be nominated.

Nominations will be reviewed by a panel, and the award recipient will be honoured at a presentation ceremony at the Saskatchewan Legislature later this year.  The Council of the Federation Literacy Award is an annual award that recognizes the valuable contributions made by Canadians across the entire field of literacy.  This includes family, Aboriginal, health, workplace and community literacy.

The Council of the Federation is made up of all provincial and territorial premiers.  It enables premiers to work collaboratively on key initiatives that are important to all Canadians.  This year’s nomination deadline is June 12, 2020.

To make a nomination, please visit the following link for the nomination guidelines, criteria, form and a list of previous award recipients at http://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/heritage-honours-and-awards/council-of-the-federation-literacy-award.

For more information about the Council of the Federation, visit http://canadaspremiers.ca.


March 16-22 Proclaimed Social Work Week In Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan has officially proclaimed March 16-22 as Social Work Week in Saskatchewan.  The theme for this year’s celebration is United by Diversity. Strengthened by Inclusion.

“Social Work Week gives us the chance to celebrate the life-changing work that social workers do in our province every day,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.  “I want to thank all of Saskatchewan’s registered social workers and the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers for their commitment to supporting and empowering our most vulnerable citizens.”


Across the province, social workers can be found working in public or private practice, or for community-based organizations across the health, education, justice, disability and child welfare sectors.  They may also be engaged in policy, planning or administration.


The Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers promotes and governs the profession of social work in the province, ensuring accountability of Registered Social Workers and protecting the public through recognized, ethical standards of practice.  The member-based organization was first established in October 1962, and has grown from an active membership of 83 to more than 2,000 registered members.


“The theme for Social Work Week is fitting as social workers are truly united by diversity and strengthened by inclusion,” Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers President Wanda Miller said.  “Social workers engage with people in every area of the province, with people of all ages, and with people of all backgrounds.  They help people reach their full potential and make our communities better places to live.  This week is an opportunity to promote the vital work they undertake and to thank them for their efforts.”


Social Work Week activities are planned in a number of communities across Saskatchewan.


For more information on Social Work Week in Saskatchewan, please visit the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers’ website at 
www.sasw.ca or the SASW Facebook page.


WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MOOSE JAW

Friday, March 13, 2020

What: Adult Comedy & Magic Night
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 
Place: Kinsmen cafe

Saturday, March 14, 2020

What: Prairie Bee Meadery Launch
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m, 
Place: Main St. location 

What: Town and Country Social Dance with “Just Us”
Time:  7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Place: Church of Our Lady Community Centre
Tickets:  $15 includes lunch
306 691-6634

What: Eagles Club Spring Cabaret with “The Milkman’s Sons”
Time:  8:00 p.m.
Place: The Eagles Club
Tickets:  $15 – 306 693-1715

Sunday, March 15 , 2020

What: Trinity United Church Stew Supper
Time:  5:30 p.m.
Place: Trinity United Church
Tickets: Adults $17, Children $10  Preschoolers Free
306 692-2780

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Provincial Budget 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Budget Luncheon with Finance Minister
Heritage Inn
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tickets: $30

Report from the Legislature March 12, 2020

Summer at the Legislative Building

The challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind as the number of cases increases around the world.

Public Health Agency of Canada advises:

  • All travelers returning to Canada should monitor their health. Monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. If an employee has these symptoms, they are directed to self-isolate and stay at home and to contact HealthLine 811 for assessment and direction.
  • If you have travelled to a country with a level three travel advisory, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days starting the day you began your journey to Canada. This means self-isolate and stay at home. Contact HealthLine 811 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for direction.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who is ill with COVID-19 should self-isolate for 14 days.

Saskatchewan residents can take a number of steps to protect themselves from respiratory illness:
• Wash your hands frequently – for at least 20 seconds;
• Do not touch surfaces and then your mouth, eyes or nose;
• Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose of them immediately (use your elbow if a tissue is unavailable); and
• Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of illness.

You can keep up to date on COVID-19 at www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus, including questions and answers for the public and care providers, and testing surveillance.
The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has affected our stock markets. Markets have been hit hard again after the steep drop in oil prices. As you know, lower oil prices are a challenge for our government and for our Saskatchewan economy.
There is always volatility in resources prices. That’s the reason we made the decision three years ago to reduce our dependency on resource revenues in the provincial budget. Our reliance on these revenues once peaked at 32 per cent; today it is 11 per cent. Oil revenues now make up less than 5 per cent of our provincial budget.
Saskatchewan is in a strong financial position and we will not respond to dropping oil prices in a knee-jerk fashion by cutting programs or services. Rather, we think it’s time to invest in programs and services, and that’s what you will see in the budget.
Recently, we announced that the upcoming provincial budget will include funding for a renewed and expanded Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced more than $300 million for a new multi-storey addition that will include a new acute care tower, replacement of the existing adult mental health space and renovations to the current facility.
This hospital will have:

  • an additional 69 acute care beds – a 40% increase in capacity
  • an expanded emergency department;
  • more space for ambulatory, diagnostic and inpatient services;
  • a new rooftop helipad to accommodate STARS Air Ambulance; and
  • enhanced medical imaging services which will include an MRI.

This significant investment reflects the importance of Victoria Hospital in providing a wider and improved variety of health services, not only to people in Prince Albert, but to patients and clients across central and northern Saskatchewan.

Recently, we announced that the Government of Saskatchewan would be moving forward with its 2020 Targeted Initiatives for Older Workers program. This is in an effort to increase the engagement of older workers in our labour force. The program is aimed at workers aged 55-64 who are currently unemployed and are legally entitled to work in Canada, but lack the skills needed to successfully secure employment.

The Government of Saskatchewan is also investing in English for Employment programming to assist newcomers to overcome language barriers and engage in the labour force. English for Employment programming assists those with a low English proficiency in developing their language skills, with a focus on supporting their capacity to find and maintain employment in Saskatchewan.

It is anticipated that more than 300 newcomers will participate in English for Employment programming over the coming year.

These investments and the latest figures from Statistics Canada show us that Saskatchewan people are hard at work, contrary to what you might have heard from the NDP Opposition.

The most recent job numbers show that 569,700 people in our province were employed in February – an increase of 4,900 compared to February 2019.

Over the same period, full-time employment has increased by 3,100 and part-time employment increased by 1,900.

The latest numbers also showed strength in retail trade and housing starts.

This growth highlights the importance of a plan for our economy and that is why your Saskatchewan Party government has a long-term plan for growth.

Saskatchewan’s economy remains strong and in sharp contrast to the way things were under the NDP when Saskatchewan had the worst job numbers in the country.

From the Desk of Warren Michelson March 6, 2020

March 6, 2020 View this email in your browser
shield FROM THE DESK OF WARREN MICHELSON, MLA

FIRST DAY OF SPRING SESSION
What Season Is It Anyway?

Both of these photos were taken within the last week.  I was raking leaves last weekend, and combining was going on in the Briercrest area.


Prepare To ‘Ring Those Phones’

Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, Lori Carr, and the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Saskatchewan announced Telemiracle Week runs March 1-7, 2020, when the 44th edition of the annual 20-hour live telethon kicks off.


“Telemiracle is one of the many annual events in the province that brings out the kindness, generosity and good nature of Saskatchewan people,” Carr said.  “I encourage everyone across this great province to consider supporting Telemiracle 44 by tuning in for the telethon and telling your family, friends and neighbours to ‘ring those phones’ with donations.  The results will help enhance the quality of life of many in Saskatchewan.”


The fund-raiser will begin at 6:15 p.m., Saturday, March 7 online with a “Countdown to Telemiracle” streamed live on Telemiracle’s YouTube Channel.  At 9 p.m. that same day, the live television broadcast gets underway on CTV stations in Saskatchewan.  The telethon will air around the clock until it concludes at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 8.


“We are grateful for the honour of having Telemiracle Week declared in Saskatchewan, which helps raise awareness in advance of this important event,” Telemiracle 44 Chair Jesse Shkuratoff said.  “Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Kinsmen and Kinettes members and dedicated volunteers, the show continues to go on each year and helps touch the lives of Saskatchewan people, thanks to the compassion of all who call the Land of Living Skies home.”


Telemiracle is organized by the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Saskatchewan and held annually the first weekend in March.  Telemiracle proceeds are gifted through the Kinsmen Foundation to Saskatchewan residents in need of specialized mobility equipment and access to medical travel assistance.


Telemiracle 44 will take place at Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.  The event is open to the public and admission is free.  For more information and links to Telemiracle’s YouTube Channel and other social media platforms, visit 
www.telemiracle.com.


International Women’s Day – Sunday,March 8

Every March 8, Saskatchewan joins the world to mark International Women’s Day.  This day was chosen by the United Nations to acknowledge the contributions women make every day around the world.  The theme for 2020 United Nations International Women’s Day in Canada is “#Each for Equal.”


It is encouraging to see women in Saskatchewan making remarkable progress in many diverse roles in our economy and our communities. The women nominated for the Prism Awards are excellent examples of that.  Having the Prism Awards this Saturday is a great way to recognize International Women’s Day.


The International Women’s Day Luncheon and Retreat at the Grant Hall on Sunday, and the Potluck Supper at St. Andrew’s Church on Monday are other local events to recognize, celebrate and continue to promote equality and success for all women.





According to Statistics Canada preliminary trade data 2019, Saskatchewan exported nearly $30 billion worth of products to international markets in 2019 and continued to provide the food, fuel and fertilizer the world needs.


“The success of our economy depends on trade and these numbers are very encouraging, especially considering the market access issues in countries such as China,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said.  “Our government has made it a priority to diversify markets for our products through trade missions and international engagement and the result of these efforts is unprecedented market diversification in a relatively short period of time.  We will continue working to grow our exports, as outlined in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth, to build a strong economy that creates more jobs for a strong Saskatchewan.”

Saskatchewan’s top 10 export markets were the United States (U.S.), China, The European Union (EU), Japan, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Overall exports were down slightly by 3.0 per cent, due mainly to trade actions by China, which resulted in a decline in exports of 32 per cent to that market.


However, the decline in exports to China was partially offset by the growth in other emerging markets like Bangladesh (118 per cent increase), the EU (59 per cent), the UAE (40 per cent), India (23 per cent) and Brazil (13 per cent).


Saskatchewan’s top export products included crude oil, potash, wheat, pulse crops, canola oil, barley, oats, agricultural machinery, and refined petroleum.

The Government of Saskatchewan maintained an aggressive trade mission agenda in over the past year.  This included Premier and Ministerial trade missions to the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India, Mexico, Singapore, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and the EU.  Growing the province’s trade and exports is a key component of Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan.


The Plan includes goals to increase the value of exports by 50 per cent, grow the number of international markets to which Saskatchewan exports more than $1 billion annually, grow agri-food exports to $20 billion and increase the value of manufacturing exports by 50 per cent.


The plan includes several initiatives to help achieve these goals.  These include opening new international trade and investment offices in Japan, Singapore and India, undertaking SaskFirst new growth tax incentives, maintaining a competitive tax environment and expanding Saskatchewan’s export infrastructure.

REGINA GETS SNOW

Prepare To ‘Ring Those Phones’

Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, Lori Carr, and the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Saskatchewan announced Telemiracle Week runs March 1-7, 2020, when the 44th edition of the annual 20-hour live telethon kicks off.


“Telemiracle is one of the many annual events in the province that brings out the kindness, generosity and good nature of Saskatchewan people,” Carr said.  “I encourage everyone across this great province to consider supporting Telemiracle 44 by tuning in for the telethon and telling your family, friends and neighbours to ‘ring those phones’ with donations.  The results will help enhance the quality of life of many in Saskatchewan.”


The fund-raiser will begin at 6:15 p.m., Saturday, March 7 online with a “Countdown to Telemiracle” streamed live on Telemiracle’s YouTube Channel.  At 9 p.m. that same day, the live television broadcast gets underway on CTV stations in Saskatchewan.  The telethon will air around the clock until it concludes at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 8.


“We are grateful for the honour of having Telemiracle Week declared in Saskatchewan, which helps raise awareness in advance of this important event,” Telemiracle 44 Chair Jesse Shkuratoff said.  “Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Kinsmen and Kinettes members and dedicated volunteers, the show continues to go on each year and helps touch the lives of Saskatchewan people, thanks to the compassion of all who call the Land of Living Skies home.”


Telemiracle is organized by the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Saskatchewan and held annually the first weekend in March.  Telemiracle proceeds are gifted through the Kinsmen Foundation to Saskatchewan residents in need of specialized mobility equipment and access to medical travel assistance.


Telemiracle 44 will take place at Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.  The event is open to the public and admission is free.  For more information and links to Telemiracle’s YouTube Channel and other social media platforms, visit 
www.telemiracle.com.


Helping Saskatchewan Farmers
Cope With Stress

Innovation Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, is asking technology entrepreneurs to develop a way for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers to monitor their mental health.  This latest Innovation Challenge aims to address a growing concern within Saskatchewan where calls to the farm stress line in 2018-2019 doubled from the previous year.


“Mental health is a concern within every industry but particularly acute in agriculture,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said.  “Our government believes technology can provide help to farm families dealing with this complex and demanding issue.”


The Innovation Challenge, launched on March 5, asks for expressions of interest from Saskatchewan-based companies and entrepreneurs to answer the following: What technological solutions can assist Saskatchewan farmers in actively monitoring their mental health?  A survey of Canadian farmers released in 2016 found over half the respondents met the classifications for anxiety and one third met the classifications for depression, which is significantly higher than most Canadians.


Solutions could take many forms including, but not limited to, a mobile phone app, website program, artificial intelligence interface or offline sensor linking to the internet.  Selected submissions will be shortlisted, and a pitch competition will determine a winner.  Winners will receive $10,000 in funding and a 16-week collaboration with government to develop their concept.  The deadline for submissions is April 30.


Public information sessions will be held in Saskatoon and Regina, on March 17 and 19 respectively, as well as online on March 24.  Further information on times and locations will be posted on Innovation Saskatchewan’s website.


Find previous Innovation Challenge winners and program information at 
https://innovationsask.ca/initiatives/innovation-challenge/previous-innovation-challenges

SET FOR CULTURE THEATER 

Province Proclaims Agriculture Literacy Month
The Government of Saskatchewan proclaimed March 1-31, 2020, as Agriculture Literacy Month in Saskatchewan.  Agriculture Literacy Month brings producers and industry professionals to the classroom to give students the opportunity to learn where the food on their plate comes from.


“Our food has a story and Agriculture Literacy Month allows students to hear that story first hand from producers,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said.  “It is important that our children and grandchildren receive accurate information about the work done by our agriculture industry straight from the experts.”


This year’s theme is technology, which will teach students about development, uses and the importance of innovation on modern farms and ranches.


“Agriculture has always been, and continues to be, a significant part of the province,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said.  “Our government supports classroom opportunities for Saskatchewan students to learn about agriculture and its contribution to our province.”


“There are so many myths and misconceptions about food and agriculture today, it is difficult for people to know what to believe,” Agriculture in the Classroom Executive Director Sara Shymko said.  “The classroom visits with real people working in the industry are so important because they give students a chance to ask questions and have them answered honestly and openly.”

March Deadline Approaching To Remove
Ice Fishing Shelters



As ice fishing season begins to wind down, anglers are reminded that all fishing shelters south of Highway 16 must be removed by March 15.  Shelters in areas north of Highway 16 must be removed by March 31.


Every year, ice fishing shelters are abandoned on the ice, which can pose a danger to boaters, water-skiers and others enjoying our lakes.  Pieces of abandoned shelters can also wash up on shore, causing environmental hazards.

If shelters are not removed, owners may be prosecuted and the structure and contents may be moved off the ice and confiscated.  Structures must be moved to a location where they can be loaded and transported to the owner’s residence or property.  Litter must also be removed when ice shelters are taken off the ice.


Anyone travelling on the ice should take extreme caution.  Slush indicates that ice is eroding from above and below at an advanced rate.  Changing temperatures can cause thermal cracks and pressure ridges, which are indicators of unsafe conditions.

Ice fishing shelters must have the owner’s complete name, address and phone number on the outside in legible letters that are at least 2.5 cm high.


Information about fishing in the province can be found in the Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide and online at 
www.saskatchewan.ca/fishing. If you suspect wildlife, fisheries, forestry or environmental violations, please call your local Ministry of Environment office, Saskatchewan’s toll-free Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561 or #5555 for SaskTel cellular subscribers.  Violations can also be reported online at www.saskatchewan.ca/tipp. You may be eligible for cash rewards from the SaskTip Reward Program.  Callers can remain anonymous.


Report from the Legislature
March 5, 2020



The spring session of the legislature started this week with a focus on the upcoming provincial budget which will build on the strength of our people with investments in stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger economy.


The budget – to be released March 18th – will build on the Growth Plan our government introduced last fall by providing financial stability and investment in communities and infrastructure to support expanding our export-based economy.


The Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear Saskatchewan’s argument against the federal carbon tax later this month. Your Saskatchewan Party government is calling on Prime Minster Trudeau to pause the carbon tax in Saskatchewan, until the Supreme Court delivers its ruling. The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled the carbon tax unconstitutional and we are confident the Supreme Court will rule the same.


On the economic front, our government recently delivered on a commitment to provide $10 million to support Estevan, Coronach, and nearby communities transitioning from coal-based industries to other economic opportunities. This situation was unfortunately imposed much earlier than planned by new federal regulations. Our government will work hard to ensure this part of our province can successfully move to cleaner energy sources and new business developments to remain prosperous and vibrant.


As we grow Saskatchewan over the next decade we have committed to building and upgrading another 10,000km of highway across our province.


The Government of Saskatchewan is upgrading Highway 5. This is a multi-year project, to be completed in three phases, which include passing lanes, widening of the shoulders, resurfacing, grade-line improvements, access consolidation, intersection realignment and treatments, as well as culvert replacements.


As part of our commitment to safety and growth, we also recently announced an agreement to improve 39km of Highway 21 and 9km of the Frenchman Butte Access, upgrading the surface to asphalt concrete from the current thin membrane surface.


As our government carries out the work of the legislative session, we continue to see quality of life improvements across our province.


Just recently, it was announced that thirty-six additional permanent acute care in-patient beds are opening at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Investing in these additional acute care beds allows our health system to better meet the urgent care needs of our residents. The new acute care beds initiative will receive annual funding of almost $8 million to staff more than 50 full-time nursing and support positions.


Our government has also directed the Saskatchewan Health Authority to gather information to determine the feasibility of a privately built, owned and operated parkade at Regina General Hospital. We know that parking at Regina General Hospital has been an issue for a long time, and we are committed to finding a long-term solution. It’s important that staff and visitors feel safe around the facility and have convenient access to the building. Since parking is a support service, not a direct health care service, we believe it could be appropriately provided through the private sector.


New homes for people with different abilities recently opened in Saskatoon. In partnership with LutherCare Communities, our government is providing over $530,000 in annual funding to cover residential and day program supports for new residents.


LutherCare Communities provides services to people with intellectual disabilities, high medical needs and complex needs. The funding for this new home is part of the more than $5.5 million provided to LutherCare Communities each year.


Our government also opened a new affordable rental housing project for six families in need of a safe, comfortable home. The project, in partnership with the Governments of Canada, the City of Saskatoon and SaskNative Rentals Inc. is designed for independence and affordability and is fully accessible to individuals with varying mobility.


One of the first announcements of the new legislative session was that in-province ministerial travel and expense reports will be publicly disclosed on a quarterly basis. The bi-annual public disclosure of out-of-province ministerial travel and expenses, a measure we introduced to increase transparency, will also now be posted quarterly.


Our government values the hard-earned tax dollars of Saskatchewan people. While we have previously taken steps to decrease travel costs and increase transparency, we feel it is necessary to continue these efforts to ensure the public knows how tax dollars are being spent by government ministers as they travel across the province.


Increased transparency measures accompany a number of steps the government has taken to reduce ministerial travel expenses. These include a 53 per cent reduction in travel costs in 2018-2019 compared to the last year of the former government in 2006-2007, and the shutdown of Executive Air, the former government-owned air service, for an annual savings of $1 million.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MOOSE JAW

Friday, March 6, 2020

What: MJ Warriors Home Game vs Winnipeg  “Snowbirds Night”
Time: 7:00 p.m. 
Place: Mosaic

Saturday, March 7, 2020

What: Sugar Shack Supper and Show
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Ecole Ducharme
Tickets: Supper and Show   Adults $20, Students $15, Under 10 $10 
Show only   Adults $10, 16 and Under  $5
Call 306 692-8112  acfmoosejaw@gmail.com

What: Prism Awards  –  Sold Out
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: SaskPolytech

What:  MJ and Dist. Seniors’ Dance with Len Gadica
Time:  7:30 – 11:00 p.m.
Place: Timothy Eaton Garden

Sunday, March 8, 2020

International Women’s Day

What: International Women’s Day Luncheon and Retreat
Time: 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Place: Grant Hall Hotel
Tickets: $50  Includes lunch and presentations.  (306) 972- 7546

What: Seedy Sunday
Time: 10:00  a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Place: Public Library
Free Admission

What: Rugby Skills Training session
Time:  4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
Place: Yara Centre
Cost: $15 or $50 for all classes 
Mar 8 – 1-2pm
Mar 22 – 1-2pm
April 4 – 4-5pm

Monday, March 9, 2020

What: International Women’s Day Potluck Supper  “Realizing Women’s Rights”
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Place: St.Andrew’s United Church
Contact nazmia79@yahoo.com

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, March 14 , 2020

What: Town and Country Social Dance with “Just Us”
Time:  7:30 – 11:00 p.m.
Place: Church of Our Lady Community Centre
Tickets:  $15 includes lunch
306 691-6634

What: Eagles Club Spring Cabaret with “The Milkman’s Sons”
Time:  8:00 p.m.
Place: The Eagles Club
Tickets:  $15
306 693-1715

Sunday, March 15 , 2020

What: Trinity United Church Stew Supper
Time:  5:30 p.m.
Place: Trinity United Church
Tickets: Adults $17, Children $10  Preschoolers Free
306 692-2780

Report from the Legislature March 5, 2020

Summer at the Legislative Building

The spring session of the legislature started this week with a focus on the upcoming provincial budget which will build on the strength of our people with investments in stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger economy.

The budget – to be released March 18th – will build on the Growth Plan our government introduced last fall by providing financial stability and investment in communities and infrastructure to support expanding our export-based economy.

The Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear Saskatchewan’s argument against the federal carbon tax later this month. Your Saskatchewan Party government is calling on Prime Minster Trudeau to pause the carbon tax in Saskatchewan, until the Supreme Court delivers its ruling. The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled the carbon tax unconstitutional and we are confident the Supreme Court will rule the same.

On the economic front, our government recently delivered on a commitment to provide $10 million to support Estevan, Coronach, and nearby communities transitioning from coal-based industries to other economic opportunities. This situation was unfortunately imposed much earlier than planned by new federal regulations. Our government will work hard to ensure this part of our province can successfully move to cleaner energy sources and new business developments to remain prosperous and vibrant.

As we grow Saskatchewan over the next decade we have committed to building and upgrading another 10,000km of highway across our province.  The Government of Saskatchewan is upgrading Highway 5. This is a multi-year project, to be completed in three phases, which include passing lanes, widening of the shoulders, resurfacing, grade-line improvements, access consolidation, intersection realignment and treatments, as well as culvert replacements.  As part of our commitment to safety and growth, we also recently announced an agreement to improve 39km of Highway 21 and 9km of the Frenchman Butte Access, upgrading the surface to asphalt concrete from the current thin membrane surface.

As our government carries out the work of the legislative session, we continue to see quality of life improvements across our province.  Just recently, it was announced that thirty-six additional permanent acute care in-patient beds are opening at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Investing in these additional acute care beds allows our health system to better meet the urgent care needs of our residents. The new acute care beds initiative will receive annual funding of almost $8 million to staff more than 50 full-time nursing and support positions.

Our government has also directed the Saskatchewan Health Authority to gather information to determine the feasibility of a privately built, owned and operated parkade at Regina General Hospital. We know that parking at Regina General Hospital has been an issue for a long time, and we are committed to finding a long-term solution. It’s important that staff and visitors feel safe around the facility and have convenient access to the building. Since parking is a support service, not a direct health care service, we believe it could be appropriately provided through the private sector.

New homes for people with different abilities recently opened in Saskatoon. In partnership with LutherCare Communities, our government is providing over $530,000 in annual funding to cover residential and day program supports for new residents.  LutherCare Communities provides services to people with intellectual disabilities, high medical needs and complex needs. The funding for this new home is part of the more than $5.5 million provided to LutherCare Communities each year.

Our government also opened a new affordable rental housing project for six families in need of a safe, comfortable home. The project, in partnership with the Governments of Canada, the City of Saskatoon and SaskNative Rentals Inc. is designed for independence and affordability and is fully accessible to individuals with varying mobility.

One of the first announcements of the new legislative session was that in-province ministerial travel and expense reports will be publicly disclosed on a quarterly basis. The bi-annual public disclosure of out-of-province ministerial travel and expenses, a measure we introduced to increase transparency, will also now be posted quarterly.  Our government values the hard-earned tax dollars of Saskatchewan people. While we have previously taken steps to decrease travel costs and increase transparency, we feel it is necessary to continue these efforts to ensure the public knows how tax dollars are being spent by government ministers as they travel across the province.

Increased transparency measures accompany a number of steps the government has taken to reduce ministerial travel expenses. These include a 53 per cent reduction in travel costs in 2018-2019 compared to the last year of the former government in 2006-2007, and the shutdown of Executive Air, the former government-owned air service, for an annual savings of $1 million.