326 B High Street West Moose Jaw, SK

From the Desk of Warren Michelson March 22, 2019

March 22, 2019 View this email in your browser


The 2019 Provincial Budget is a balanced budget – and it’s the right balance for Saskatchewan.

It’s the right balance between keeping your taxes low and providing quality services for our children, families, and seniors.

It’s the right balance between important investments in both urban and rural Saskatchewan.

And it’s the right balance for building a stronger economy and creating jobs, now and in the future.

This year’s budget delivers record investments in mental health services, highway safety, our children’s classrooms and supports for persons with disabilities.

And there are no new taxes or tax increases.

This budget fulfills our government’s three-year fiscal plan in which some difficult decisions had to be made. Those choices reduced Saskatchewan’s reliance on volatile resource revenues and set Saskatchewan on a path to where we are today.

With a projected surplus of $34.4 million, this budget increases support in almost every area – in health, social services and assistance, protection of people and property, education, agriculture, community development, environment and natural resources, and transportation.

This budget provides a $700,000 increase for the Autism Individualized Funding benefit, increasing the benefit from $4,000 to $6,000 per year for children under age six.

Specific health care capital investments in this budget include funding the preconstruction design of a new Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert and planning for a new hospital in Weyburn.

Budget 2019-20 invests in the replacement of Northland Pioneers Lodge in Meadow Lake, fulfilling the government’s commitment to replace 13 long-term care facilities for seniors across the province. Additional home care support will also help people stay safely in their homes as long as possible through the Connected Care program.

The 2019-20 Budget also provides $1.1 million—an increase of more than $660,000—to the Alzheimer Society for the First Link program.

An increase of more than $27 million will support at-risk children and families while community-based organizations and those who deliver services to children and families and provide support for people with intellectual disabilities will receive an additional $5.9 million in 2019-20.

The budget also provides a $6.6 million increase in support for adults with intellectual disabilities, and $1.4 million has been designated to increase monthly payments for foster families who complete training.

This budget increases school division funding while Education Property Tax rates remain unchanged.

To improve safety at highway intersections, our government has introduced an Enhanced Intersection Safety Program that will improve signage, sight lines and lighting and add safety features like rumble strips at intersections throughout the province.

The budget also includes more than $60 million for twinning and passing lane projects. Overall, the budget provides funding to improve about 1,000 kilometres of the highway network in 2019-20.

This year we will continue funding 128 municipal police positions and targeted policing initiatives across the province with an additional $1.1 million designated for drug-impaired driving detection training for police.

While the formula has changed, communities across the province will continue to receive unconditional funding from the province through Municipal Revenue Sharing. The total allocated this year is up $10.5 million to $251 million.

This budget also achieves the right balance by investing a total of $2.7 billion into hospitals, schools, highways, and municipal and Crown infrastructure to help meet the needs of a growing population and economy, while ensuring that debt is managed responsibly.

Saskatchewan grew by over 11,000 people in 2018. A growing province means a growing demand for government services Saskatchewan people expect and deserve. Our government is committed to a responsible, sustainable plan to deliver and improve those services.

At a time when some jurisdictions have chosen a path of ongoing deficits, this budget sets Saskatchewan on a path to ensure balanced budgets in the years ahead. The 2019-20 Budget is part of our government’s plan to continue to balance into the future, and sustain needed investments in high-quality government services for all Saskatchewan people.

You can learn more at saskatchewan.ca/budget.

Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer and Warren after the 2019/20 Budget was announced. 


Saskatchewan Grew By Over 11,000 People In 2018

Saskatchewan’s population grew by 11,459 people in 2018 to 1,168,423, according to new figures released today by Statistics Canada.

Saskatchewan has now grown by nearly 160,000 people since 2007, the most growth in the province since the 1920s.

“Saskatchewan is a welcoming place,” Immigration and Career Training Minster Jeremy Harrison said.  “It is a province of opportunity and that’s why people from all over the world are choosing to make Saskatchewan their new home.”

Saskatchewan’s population growth in 2018 was driven by net international migration of 15,203 people and a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 6,138, partially offset by net interprovincial migration of 9,882.

Largest Commitment To Mental Health In Saskatchewan History

The 2019-20 Saskatchewan budget makes the largest investment in mental health and addictions services in Saskatchewan history.

The Ministry of Health funding for mental health and addictions increases by nearly $30 million in the 2019-20 Budget to a total of $402 million.  This includes a $13.7 million increase to support the new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford.

“This budget makes the largest commitment ever to mental health services in our province,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “This includes funding for more than 140 new beds to treat individuals with mental health and addictions challenges.”

$8.39 million in funding will be used to create:

  • Approximately 75 new residential support beds for individuals with intensive mental health needs who are transitioning from the hospital back into the community, freeing up in-hospital space for other patients;
  • Approximately 50 new pre- and post-addiction treatment beds for individuals who are transitioning between detox and in-patient treatment or back to the community – more than doubling pre- and post-addiction treatment bed capacity in Saskatchewan;
  • 10 new in-patient addiction treatment beds in Pine Lodge, a community-based organization located in Indian Head;
  • Six new inpatient addiction treatment beds will open in Calder Centre, an addictions treatment facility located in Saskatoon; and
  • Six new inpatient addictions beds for youth under 18 that will open in southern Saskatchewan in 2019-20.
The 2019-20 Budget also provides $1.6 million to support the launch of three Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.  RAAM clinics provide immediate access to addictions treatment by multi-disciplinary teams.  In other Canadian jurisdictions, they have reduced emergency department visits, shortened wait times and improved outcomes for patients.

$1.5 million in new funding will enable the temporary Mental Health Assessment Unit in Saskatoon to become a permanent Mental Health Short Stay Unit (MHSSU).  The seven bed MHSSU will provide individuals with acute mental health care needs a place to stay for up to seven days.

$1.1 million in new funding will be used to hire up to 12 new full-time staff to more effectively serve children and youth with mental health issues.

$685,000 in new funding will be used to hire up to seven Primary Care Counsellors to work in primary care centres across Saskatchewan.  More than 139,000 patients access this type of service annually, often for depression and anxiety.

$515,000 in new funding will be used to hire pediatric nurses and social workers to provide enhanced mental health services to children in the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital emergency department.

$375,000 in new funding will also be used to increase the number of nurses available to provide mental health support in the Regina General Hospital emergency department.

$300,000 in new funding will help provide 24/7 nursing supports at the La Ronge Detox Centre.  This funding will significantly improve the La Ronge Detox Centre’s ability to provide treatment to individuals who are detoxing from opioids, crystal meth or other substances.

Federal funding of $1.4 million through the Opioid Emergency Treatment Fund will be used to recruit and train more health care professionals to treat crystal meth and opioid addictions.

The 2019-20 Budget also increases funding for harm reduction to more than $1.0 million annually, nearly triple what was provided in 2007-08.  This funding will be used to support provincially funded harm reduction programs, which work to reduce blood borne infections like Hepatitis C and HIV by reducing the sharing of paraphernalia used to smoke or inject illegal drugs.

The 2019-20 Budget includes new funding for a number of community-based organizations that already provide critical mental health and addictions services in communities across Saskatchewan:
  • $1.2 million will launch 18 new mental health walk-in counselling clinics across Saskatchewan through Family Services Saskatchewan, a community-based organization partnership;
  • $420,000 will increase the availability of vocational programming for individuals with mental illnesses provided through the Canadian Mental Health Association of Saskatchewan;
  • $200,000 will be divided between the Autism Resource Centre in Regina and Autism Services of Saskatoon to enable each organization to hire a mental health professional to provide enhanced treatment for autism-specific mental health disorders;
  • $250,000 will expand the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Roots of Hope Suicide Prevention Initiative to Buffalo Narrows, the third Saskatchewan community incorporated into this program;
  • In partnership with the Ministry of Social Services, $600,000 in funding is being annualized to support Sanctum 1.5, a 10-bed unit that provides harm reduction care to pregnant women living with HIV and substance abuse issues.
These investments build on ongoing annual funding for previous initiatives and expand capacity to deliver services.  They support the recommendations in Saskatchewan’s Mental Health and Addiction Action Plan (https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/saskatchewan-health-initiatives/mental-health-and-addictions-action-plan), which guides and sets priorities for mental health and addictions.

The federal government is contributing new funding of $6.275 million toward Saskatchewan’s expenditures on mental health and addictions this year.  Approximately $4.85 million is from the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Funding Agreement announced in January 2017, and an additional $1.425 million comes from the Emergency Treatment Fund.


Warren was invited to the Mulberry to enjoy lunch with the residents and to share information on government programs for seniors living in Saskatchewan retirement homes.

Thank you to the staff and residents of Mulberry,  your hospitality is always appreciated. 

Budget Includes More Money For Recycling Program, Aerial Wildfire Fighting Fleet

The Ministry of Environment will boost its funding for Saskatchewan’s successful beverage container recycling program in 2019-20, and continue to modernize the province’s fleet of firefighting aircraft.

The 2019-20 Budget includes an additional $2.248 million to help deliver the SARCAN Beverage Container Collection and Recycling Program, for a total of just over $27 million.

The ministry pays SARCAN an annual grant equal to the environmental handling charges collected two years prior – in this case, fees collected in 2017-18.  SARCAN employs more than 700 staff at its 72 collection depots province-wide.

“This additional funding will help ensure the ongoing success of Saskatchewan’s beverage container recycling program, and the continuation of all the benefits it provides to the province,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “In addition to diverting a significant amount of waste from our landfills, SARCAN contributes to the well-being of persons with disabilities and others that work within the operation.”

The 2019-20 Budget also includes $9.252 million to begin the purchase of one CL215T air tanker.  The new firefighting aircraft will replace the province’s one remaining CL215P piston tanker, at a cost of just over $37 million over three years, and will join the fleet for the 2022 wildfire season.  Saskatchewan’s aerial fleet currently includes four land-based air tankers, six water-scooping aircraft and seven smaller bird-dog planes that are used to guide tanker aircraft.

These two key investments support the Ministry of Environment’s core mandate of environmental protection and sustainable resource management.  They balance the need to carefully manage spending while continuing to invest in needed services, programs and infrastructure for Saskatchewan people.


More Funding For Classrooms, Libraries And New Schools

The provincial government is supporting Saskatchewan students by increasing funding for classrooms, libraries, community-based organizations and early learning programs in the Ministry of Education’s 2019-20 Budget.

The 2019-20 Budget provides $2.48 billion for the Ministry of Education, which supports Prekindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms, early learning and child care, libraries and literacy.

Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions will receive $1.9 billion in school operating funding for the 2019-20 school year, an increase of $26.2 million over last year’s $1.87 billion budget.

“We know the importance of education in our province and we have heard from people across Saskatchewan about what they need in their communities,” Education Minister Gordon Wyant said.  “As a result of those conversations, we will not only be maintaining operating funding, we are increasing it, outpacing enrollment growth.”

In addition to classroom learning, school infrastructure investments will increase by nearly $20 million over last year to total $95.6 million in the 2019-20 Budget.

This includes:

  • $3.0 million to provide planning and design funding for the following new major capital projects:
    • a joint-use replacement of Ecole St. Pius X Elementary School and Argyle Elementary School in Regina; and
    • a joint-use replacement and consolidation of Sacred Heart, St. Mary Elementary Schools, Empire and Westmount schools in Moose Jaw;
  • $250,000 to determine the scope of a replacement school for St. Frances Elementary in Saskatoon Catholic School Division;
  • $29 million to provide funding for two ongoing major school consolidation projects in Rosthern and Weyburn;
  • $55.9 million for preventative maintenance, renewal and emergency funding;
  • $6.4 million for relocatable classrooms; and
  • $1.0 million for school facility assessments.
Also within the 2019-20 Budget is $72.6 million for child care.  This includes $57.6 million in provincial funding, an increase of $1.6 million over last year.  The change includes an increase in funding to community-based organizations. In addition, $15.1 million is being provided by the Federal Government through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

In 2019-20, the Ministry of Education is increasing funding for the Early Childhood Intervention Program to $4.3 million, an increase of $300,000 over last year’s funding.

Saskatchewan’s public libraries will also receive increased funding, with a one per cent lift to increase total funding to $11.2 million.

In 2019-20, the Ministry of Education will provide an additional $709,000 to community-based organizations intended for salaries.


Agriculture Continues To See Strong Budget Support

The Ministry of Agriculture’s budget will increase three per cent in 2019-20 to $391.3 million, ensuring programming to support the success of farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses continues.  The budget fully funds business risk management programs and sustains investments in agricultural research.  This will encourage our agriculture sector to continue to grow.

“This provincial budget provides a stable foundation for Saskatchewan’s farm and ranch families with increases to the right programs and services,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said.  “This budget provides program enhancements and continued investment in research.”

In response to feedback from stakeholders and producers on the Pest Biosecurity Program introduced last year, funding to the Rat Control component of the program will increase by $350,000 to $1.25 million.  This increased funding will be directed to grants paid to rural municipalities and First Nation bands, to cover the cost incurred for rat inspections and bait.

The 2019-20 Budget contains $271.9 million to fully fund business risk management programs offered under the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), including Crop Insurance, AgriStability, AgriInvest and Western Livestock Price Insurance.

The Crop Insurance program includes a number of enhancements for 2019-20, including higher coverage on tame and native grazing land to better reflect the losses producers experience during a shortfall in forage production.  Approximately 30 million acres are anticipated to be insured under Crop Insurance this year.

The government continues to invest $31.9 million in agricultural research, with funding for research projects, demonstration and adoption of new technologies.  The research funding is part of the $71.2 million that will be invested this fiscal year into strategic programs under the five-year CAP agreement.

This budget continues to support a number of industry organizations, with funding for groups that include Agriculture in the Classroom Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan 4-H Council, and Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan.  These organizations, among others, help build trust in agriculture, develop future leaders and support a sustainable industry.

Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector is an important part of the province’s diverse economy.  Producers harvested a crop of more than 35 million tonnes in 2018, the sixth consecutive year the provincial harvest has been more than 30 million tonnes.  Saskatchewan’s 2018 total agri-food exports were $13.4 billion, an increase of more than 60 per cent since 2010.


Friday, March 22, 2019

What: Zion Village Flea Market
Time:   1:00 – 6:00 p.m
Place:  Zion Church

What: Sukanen Ship Antiques, Collectibles, and Vehicle Parts Show
Time:  12:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Place: Exhibition Grounds

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What: Sukanen Ship Antiques, Collectibles, and Vehicle Parts Show
Time:  9:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Place: Exhibition Grounds

What: Moose Jaw Thunder Creek Model Train Show
Time:  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Place:  WDM
Cost:  Regular Admission Applies.  WDM Members free.

What: Zion Village Flea Market
Time:   1:00 – 6:00 p.m
Place:  Zion Church

Sunday, March 24, 2019

What: Moose Jaw Thunder Creek Model Train Show
Time:  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Place:  WDM
Cost:  Regular Admission Applies.  WDM Members free.



March 28, 2019
Heartland Hospice Fundraiser:  An Evening of Love, Hope, and Inspiration
With Greg and Leone Ottenbreit
Mae Wilson Theatre
6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25 through the Theatre Box Office

Yara Community Gardens Registration Night
Hunger in MJ Office 269 – Stadacona St. W.
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

March 29, 2019
YMCA Home Alone Safety for Kids course
For ages 9 to 12
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
YMCA Fairford location
$45  ($35 for members)

April 6-7, 2019
Business Expo
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

April 10. 2019
MJBEX Awards
5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.