Report from the Legislature – February 10

MLAWeekly

Strong Saskatchewan Job Growth

The strength and resiliency of Saskatchewan’s economy is evident as our province posted one of Canada’s strongest year-over-year job growth rates in January.

While Saskatchewan is down 1,900 oil and resource jobs compared to this time last year, a diversified economy created new opportunities, adding 5,200 new jobs.

Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate is the lowest in Canada at 5.6%.

Premier Proposes Federal Assistance for Oil Services Sector

Despite overall employment growth in Saskatchewan, the resource sector nationally has lost jobs.  Saskatchewan for example is home to many energy service sector employees now without work.

The Accelerated Well Cleanup Program (AWCP) is a plan to protect jobs and help the environment by accelerating the clean-up of oil wells no longer capable of production.

The proposal, which calls for $156 million in federal funding to help stimulate employment, has been discussed with and forwarded to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for consideration.

Agri-Food Exports Surpass 2020 Growth Plan Target

Agriculture is the foundation of our province and remains a prominent economic driver, supporting our provincial finances as we deal with the downturn in the resource sector.

Saskatchewan continued to lead the nation as Canada’s top agri-food exporting province in 2015.  Our exports met the demand of 145 countries, setting a record with total sales of $15.1 billion.

The Government of Saskatchewan remains focused on market development and trade advocacy to ensure the high quality products Saskatchewan produces move freely to new and existing markets.

Investing In Innovation

BHP Billiton has recognized Saskatchewan’s leadership in carbon capture and storage (CCS) with a $20 million investment in a new CCS Knowledge Centre through the University of Regina.

The Knowledge Centre will attract interest and accelerate the development of CCS technology, which we know is an important part of the solution in the global fight against climate change.

January was the best month yet for our Boundary Dam 3 CCS facility, working every day and capturing 85,000 tonnes of CO2.

No Education Mill Rate Increase in 2016

Saskatchewan property owners will continue to receive the benefits realized by our commitment to reduce education property taxes and increase its share of funding for education costs.

The government has determined the 2016 education property tax mill rates will be:

•    2.67 mills for all agricultural property
•    5.03 mills for all residential property
•    8.28 mills for all commercial and industrial property
•    11.04 mills for all resource property

The province took over setting the education property tax mill rates in 2009, and all ratepayers in each respective property class were levied the same mill rates.  The cumulative savings on education property tax to the ratepayers of Saskatchewan has been in excess of $1 billion.

Free Fishing This Family Day Long Weekend

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your Family Day weekend, you may want to consider ice fishing. Saskatchewan’s free winter fishing weekend will be February 13th, 14th, and 15th.

Residents and visitors can fish without a licence on any of Saskatchewan’s public waters that have an open sport fishing season.  Free fishing weekend does not apply in national parks.

Anyone planning to take fish out of the province must purchase a licence.  All other fishing regulations remain in effect, including possession limits and reduced limits on some lakes and rivers.

You can learn more at http://www.saskatchewan.ca/fishing.

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