Provincial Point of View
June 15, 2020
Premier Scott Moe, "Today we unveiled our new budget — our plan to support Saskatchewan people, jobs, and economic recovery through this challenging time.
It includes over a billion dollars in spending this year directly related to the pandemic.
And $7.5 billion over two years to build new schools, hospitals, highways and other infrastructure, boost our recovery and create thousands of jobs.
While we do have a deficit, it is a pandemic deficit, not a structural deficit.
That means as our economy recovers, our revenues will recover and we will return to balance, without cutting programs and services.
We faced the pandemic together. Now we are reopening the province together. And we will rebuild and recover together.
This budget is an important step in driving that economic recovery.
Let's keep working together to support Saskatchewan."
THANK YOU SASKATCHEWAN
These past few months have been unprecedented not just in Saskatchewan but across Canada and around the world. And while our COVID-19 response has not always been perfect, thanks to Saskatchewan people, we’ve performed well ahead of the pack.
Consider that Saskatchewan’s per capita rate of COVID-19 cases is nearly 80% below the national average, and our fatality rate is 95% below the national average. We have been fortunate – not lucky – because of the decisions each of us have made.
Our province managed to keep more of our economy open throughout the pandemic than most others and as a result, 87 per cent of Saskatchewan workers remained employed, the highest percentage in Canada. As of June 1st, 63% of our small businesses remained open, tied for 1st among the provinces. In addition to keeping more of our economy open, we were also the first province to release a plan to re-open.
Almost all types of businesses can now open in Saskatchewan and we are working hard to re-open remaining businesses and activities as quickly as possible, and as safely as possible. In May, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate was the second-lowest in Canada and our province is well-positioned for a strong economic recovery.
We faced the pandemic together; now we are re-opening the province together, and we will rebuild and recover together.
Re-Open Saskatchewan Update
With Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan underway, more of us can now go back to work, worship in accordance with our faith, get the medical services we need, and enjoy our communities and the great Saskatchewan summer.
This week’s update to Re-Open Saskatchewan includes changes to incrementally allow for larger gatherings in places of worship and for graduation ceremonies. Public health officials will monitor the outcomes of these types of gatherings over the next several weeks to determine future re-opening activities.
As restrictions are gradually lifted in the province, additional information will continue to be added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers. Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the guidelines and follow their recommendations to ensure the province can continue to re-open in a safe manner without a significant increase in the transmission of COVID-19.
You can click here to learn more about our Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Click here to watch the Premier congratulate the Class of 2020.
Graduation ceremonies and celebrations are important to so many families across our province and COVID-19 has forced schools and communities to get creative. Here are a few options for consideration:
Virtual services are the safest solution and the option that is recommended by public health officials.
Drive-in services may proceed with the necessary public health measures in place. Guidelines have been developed for staging safe drive-in services.
Outdoor services may proceed if they are held outdoors with a maximum of 30 graduates per class and an overall attendance of 150 people (including graduates, guests and staff). Schools with larger classes may need to hold multiple ceremonies.
All graduation services must comply with the public health measures and the guidelines in Re-Open Saskatchewan, including the need to maintain physical distancing.
High school graduates should know that Saskatchewan has a variety of student support programs including loans, grants and scholarships benefiting thousands of students.
You can click here to learn more.
Post-secondary students who remain and work in Saskatchewan after graduation are also eligible for up to $20,000 in tax credits as part of the Graduate Retention Program. To date, nearly 74,000 young people have claimed this tax credit.
Saskatchewan Students Returning to the Classroom
The traditional summer break in the regular school calendar is just about here but for students across the province, the current school year has been anything but regular.
Recently, Education Minister Gord Wyant announced that Prekindergarten to Grade 12 students will be returning to the classroom as early as September 1, 2020.
Click here to see Minister Wyant's news conference about Fall 2020 K-12 school semester.
SHA Cautiously Resuming Additional Health Services
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is continuing its resumption of everyday health services for the people of Saskatchewan.
- Increases in surgical and medical imaging volumes and additional services at SHA-operated specialty clinics beginning Tuesday, June 16th.
- Surgical capacity will increase over the coming weeks to 65-70 per cent provincially with urgent, emergent, and some elective procedures.
- More than 330 health services have now resumed.
Thank you to Saskatchewan’s health workers for your dedication in ensuring Saskatchewan people have access to these important services.
Supporting Saskatchewan Seniors and Those Who Support Them
Saskatchewan’s success in flattening the COVID-19 curve is the result of a collective and concerted effort that has been difficult at times, especially when it means distancing ourselves from seniors and those in long term care centres. Recently, we announced expanded visitation guidelines for Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities to allow residents to safely visit and support their loved ones in care.
We also recently announced the expansion of the Temporary Wage Supplement Program to include a larger number of workers who are helping our most vulnerable residents, including all of the workers in long-term care facilities. These workers have provided tremendous physical and emotional support to our seniors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and it is important we recognize their great work.
Continued Support for Small Businesses
Small businesses are a critical part of our economy and, as we settle into Phase 3 of our Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, it is important to ensure these businesses can continue to operate without the fear of being evicted. That is why we announced commercial eviction protection for tenants who have been impacted by the pandemic.
More information on the commercial eviction protection is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-businesses.
Good News for Saskatchewan’s Economy
North American Helium Inc. will soon be calling Saskatchewan home with the largest helium purification operation in Canada.
Saskatchewan’s new Growth Plan introduced a PST incentive designed to attract exploratory and downhole drilling companies like North American Helium Inc. to our province.
This investment will help create jobs and economic growth in southern Saskatchewan as we move towards our Growth Plan target of 100,000 new jobs by 2030.
And in a new two-stage pilot project, Prairie Lithium Corp. and LiEP Energy will begin Lithium exploration and development in Saskatchewan. Stage one will include the production up to 1.75 kg of lithium hydroxide per day and stage two will include the construction of one of Canada’s first lithium extraction refining facilities.
Our government is committed to continue to develop opportunities through innovation to grow and increase the sustainability of Saskatchewan’s economy.