(4 Oct 2012)
The Saskatchewan Advantage
The Saskatchewan Advantage is about ensuring people and businesses have the tools they need to keep our province moving forward. On September 28th, our government announced that we had asked for, and received, an extension from the federal government to their deadline for returning spectrum (frequency). Industry Canada’s changes affect SaskTel’s ability to provide fixed wireless internet service to approximately 8,000 people in rural Saskatchewan. Those changes were supposed to come into effect this year; under our extension, SaskTel will have until March 31st, 2014 to assist customers in transitioning to new service options. SaskTel is committed to providing customers with comparable or better services to what they presently have, and will continue to invest in technology that can better serve the needs of rural Saskatchewan. SaskTel will also be closely communicating with those customers affected over the next fifteen months. If you have any questions, please call SaskTel at 1-800-727-5835.
Our government kept another promise this week when we announced the new Senior Home Security Program. Under this program, seniors who qualify can get a free home safety assessment to determine their security needs, which could lead to the installation, at no charge, of deadbolts, door viewers, smoke and carbon dioxide alarms and batteries for those alarms. In order to qualify, you must be 65 or older and have annual household net incomes of $35,000 or less or have been the victim of a break and enter or home invasion. Go to http://www.seniorsecurity.gov.sk.ca
The timing could not have been better. With the release of our government’s new growth plan just around the corner, we have learned that between July of 2011 and July of 2012, the province’s population grew by 22,000 people. That is the fastest rate of year-over-year growth in more than 90 years. As of July 1, 2012, there are 1,079,958 people living in Saskatchewan. In the coming weeks our government will release a growth plan designed to ensure that are both meeting the challenges and opportunities of growth in the years ahead.
Your Saskatchewan Party government continues to ensure society’s most vulnerable citizens benefit from the Saskatchewan Advantage. On December 1, 2012, the minimum wage in Saskatchewan will increase to $10.00 per hour. When we first formed government in 2007, the minimum wage was only $7.95. When you combine the increases to the minimum wage with the significant tax cuts for lower-income earners implemented by our government, our province will have one of the highest rates of take-home pay in Canada for low-income earners. That’s the Saskatchewan Advantage.
The recently announced move to eliminate licence plate stickers will allow us to re-direct an estimated $100,000 per year to support traffic safety enforcement technology, such as Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) equipment. The stickers are no longer used to indicate valid vehicle registration, so they don’t really serve a purpose anymore. This change comes into effect November 1, 2012.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Ken.
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