Released on May 18, 2023
With the Spring sitting of the Legislature concluding today, Premier Scott Moe highlighted his government’s commitment to growth that works for everyone.
Key government initiatives included a balanced budget that increased funding to priority areas like health, education and social services, standing up to federal intrusion with the passing of the Saskatchewan First Act and the release of a made-in-Saskatchewan plan for affordable, reliable electrical generation, addressing health care staffing shortages, and the implementation of $10 per day child care that will make life more affordable for Saskatchewan families.
The 2023-24 Provincial Budget, introduced in March, is projected to pay down $1.0 billion in debt, which will save taxpayers $44 million in annual interest payments.
Highlights from the budget include:
- A record investment of $3.7 billion for capital for highways, hospitals, schools and other important projects to support a growing province.
- Increases to benefits for Saskatchewan Income Support, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, the Senior's Income Plan, and the Personal Care Home Benefit.
- Operational funding to support second stage housing, including intervention and counselling services for women and their children leaving interpersonal violence and abuse.
- Funding for additional addictions treatment spaces toward fulling government’s commitment of 150 new addictions treatment spaces.
- A record $297.9 million in municipal revenue sharing to support Saskatchewan’s growing municipalities.
- Funding to establish the new Saskatchewan Marshals Service (SMS) to increase policing capacity within the province, with a focus on rural and remote areas.
“Saskatchewan continues to be the most affordable place in Canada for a family to live,” Moe said. “Strong economic growth continues to create thousands of new jobs and has allowed us to make investments that matter most to people.”
This spring, the Government of Saskatchewan passed The Saskatchewan First Act. This legislation amends the Constitution of Saskatchewan to clearly confirm autonomy and assert the province's exclusive legislative jurisdiction over the exploration, development and management of non-renewable natural resources, forestry resources and the generation and production of electricity.
Building on The Saskatchewan First Act, Saskatchewan’s plan for electricity generation to 2035 and beyond was announced. The plan commits to achieving net-zero by 2050 with an energy mix that ensures reliable base load power and affordable rates for customers and includes using existing natural gas plant assets to the end of life and working toward small modular reactors, while continuing to expand intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar.
“Our plan will ensure that electrical generation in Saskatchewan is reliable, affordable, sustainable and achievable,” Moe said. “We are not going to drive up SaskPower rates for Saskatchewan families, just to reach the federal government’s arbitrary 2035 target.”
Legislative Highlights from the Spring Session include:
- Passing The Saskatchewan Firearms Act to enhance public safety and protect the rights of legal firearms owners.
- Providing municipalities with the authority to designate outdoor public places for consumption of alcoholic beverages and to allow golf carts on public roads.
- Establishing a provincial Distance Learning Centre to provide flexibility to students across the province.
- Introducing a new category of health care profession to add to the workforce.
- Increasing the Saskatchewan Mineral Exploration Tax Credit from 10 per cent to 30 per cent, making exploration incentives in the province among the most competitive in Canada.
In the health care sector, significant steps were taken to enhance the recruitment and retention of health care professionals to ensure Saskatchewan residents get the care they need when they need it. A new family physician compensation model option was announced to provide an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model and promote collaborative care. The Rural Physician Incentive Program was increased to $200,000 over five years to attract more family physicians to rural and northern communities in the province. Enhancements were made to the Internationally Educated Nurses pathway to accelerate timeframes and offer more options and supports for overseas nurses to begin working in Saskatchewan. And, legislation was introduced to license Physician Assistants, adding more skilled professionals to the health care system and supporting the team-based approach to care. These initiatives are all part of the broader Health Human Resources Action Plan, aimed at recruiting, training, incentivizing and retaining more health care workers in Saskatchewan.
To further support students in the province, a Distance Learning Corporation was created that will offer more than 180 online courses for Kindergarten to Grade 12, including more than 70 high school electives, with ready to use educational resources for students and teachers with instructional videos and lesson plans. Additionally, government reaffirmed its commitment to affordable, inclusive and high-quality childcare, reaching the goal of $10 a day child care three years ahead of schedule. This achievement was made possible through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
These significant investments and initiatives will continue to keep life affordable for Saskatchewan families and ensure they have access to the services they need.
“That’s growth that works for everyone,” Moe said.
For more information, contact:Matthew Glover