(28 May 2020)
As our province continues to feel the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am happy to report the province is seeing the results of our collective actions to reduce the spread of this virus. Together, we have done what was needed to keep each other safe and now we can move into the next phases of re-opening Saskatchewan.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all our essential workers from across this province. From those battling the pandemic on the front lines to our community grocery stores, your commitment to public safety and service has not gone unnoticed. As your MLA and your neighbour, I am grateful for your efforts.
By remaining physically distant we most certainly have come together for the future of our province. As we cautiously continue to re-open our economy, we must continue these important health practices and follow the restrictions set out by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
As the Legislature reconvenes on June 15, our province is well-positioned to recover from the impact of COVID-19. We will continue to work for our constituents in these coming weeks on ensuring that our families, communities, and economy can remain strong.
Recently, our government announced a two-year capital plan to stimulate Saskatchewan’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19. This $7.5 billion economic booster shot balances the need for smaller, short term projects to jump-start the economy with longer-term projects to provide the services and supports our families and communities require. Investments will be made in schools, highways, hospitals, Crown utility projects, and municipal infrastructure and will get Saskatchewan people back to work.
Municipalities can access additional funding through the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP). This investment of $150 million can be used for shovel ready infrastructure projects and initiatives. Funding is allocated on a per capita basis and must be used over the next two years.
Also included in this stimulus plan is $10.3 million for renewal projects across the provincial park system. Major highlights include significant campground upgrades, accessibility improvements at picnic sites, the construction of day-use pavilions at Pike Lake, Buffalo Pound, Duck Mountain, Echo Valley and Moose Mountain Provincial Parks.
Our government is also investing in our post-secondary institutions, with $17 million in projects at the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Moose Jaw campus. These projects will improve campus usability and safety in both academic and athletic pursuits.
Our government introduced a methodical phased-in approach called Re-Open Saskatchewan to lift restrictions slowly and responsibly on our businesses and services. The first phase focused on re-opening previously restricted medical services and allowing for some outdoor activities such as the operation of golf courses, parks and campgrounds. The second phase included re-opening retail and select personal care services.
Our government has set a target date of June 8, for Phase 3 as part of our Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan. This phase will include the reopening of:
- remaining personal services;
- restaurants and food services at a 50 per cent capacity limit;
- gym and fitness facilities; and
- places of worship.
The size of indoor public and private gatherings may be increased to 15 people, and outdoor gatherings will increase to 30. Physical distancing and good health hygiene must continue to be practiced for our province to continue its plan to re-open. Click here for the most up-to-date version of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.
If you are looking for support as we move into the next phase, I urge all constituents to please utilize our government resources listed on Saskatchewan.ca. Our government has expanded capacity within our healthcare system to allow for more candidates to qualify for a COVID-19 test. I want to thank our Saskatchewan Health Authority for their hard work and guidance as we cautiously Re-Open Saskatchewan.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Ken.
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