12 commitments from Sask. government's speech from the throne

By Sarah Mills
May 17, 2016 - 2:45pm

The Saskatchewan Party is making good on its campaign promises as the government lays out its legislative agenda in the speech from the throne.

Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield delivered the speech from the throne Tuesday afternoon to begin the first session of the 28th legislature. Here are 12 highlights of what the government plans to accomplish this session.

  • The government is investing$70 million more into highway construction as part of the new Highways 2020 Plan. The province will spend a total of $2.7 billion over the next four years.
  • A record $3.6 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects including schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities and the Regina Bypass.
  • An amendment to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will be introduced that will see 40 government-owned liquor stores converted to private stores and 12 new private stores established.
  • Much like MRIs, the government will expand CT scans so a patient will be able to pay for one privately. Under the "two-for-one" deal, the clinic must then provide a scan for someone at the top of the public wait list.
  • The Standing Committee on Human Services will be asked to look at organ donation to make recommendations on how to increase the donation rate in the province.
  • The government will reduce health region administration costs by $7.5 million.
  • The First Home Plan will allow recipients of the Graduate Retention Program to use up to $10,000 of their benefits toward the down payment of their first home in Saskatchewan.
  • The government will put another $500,000 towards robotic telemedicine that connects health care providers with patients in northern Saskatchewan.
  • A new "patent box" tax incentive will be introduced for thecommercialization of patents and intellectual property right in Saskatchewan.
  • Changes to the Saskatchewan Employment Act will ensure people are eligible for 28 weeks of leave per year to take care of loved ones in the final stages of life.
  • Seniors with incomes under $70,000 will be able to defer the education portion of their property taxes.
  • Home-based businesses that sell high-quality, low-risk foods prepared in the home will be allowed to sell their products directly to consumers and retailers.

The government will announce its budget in two weeks, which will include a deficit that exceeds the $427 million forecast at third-quarter.  The speech from the throne calls the deficit smaller and more manageable than other provinces. It also says the upcoming budget will spark a "transformational change" to public services.


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