by Alana Ross
First and foremost, thank you to everyone for their efforts in containing the Cloverdale fire. The local and provincial response to this emergency was nothing short of incredible.
I continue to be encouraged by the strong and growing number of people in Saskatchewan who are getting vaccinated in the fight against COVID-19. These efforts have been driving down case numbers, hospitalizations, and helping to ease public health orders.
Just a few weeks ago, Step 1 of our Re-Opening Roadmap began with household gathering limits expanding up to 10 people and attendance at worship services, public gatherings, and table limits at restaurants all increasing. Youth and adult outdoor sports were able to resume as well.
Step 2 of our Re-Opening Roadmap begins this weekend, on Father’s Day. This means no capacity limits on retail, personal care services, bars, and restaurants; further increases to private gathering sizes; and organized indoor sports and recreational activities allowed to resume.
Three weeks after achieving the first dose vaccination threshold for Step 3, the last two public health orders will be removed. That will see the province remove the existing limits on event and gathering sizes, as well as the requirement for mandatory indoor masking.
Residents who have not received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are strongly encouraged to book an appointment and stick it to COVID. Meanwhile, those who have are reminded that it is equally important to follow up that first dose with a second once you become eligible to do so.
We are all looking forward to a return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. At this time of the year, I am reminded of our students, particularly those nearing the end of their high school careers. They have had to adapt and miss out on the more traditional graduation festivities. That does not, however, diminish their accomplishments or their ability to celebrate them.
Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2021!
Graduation is a symbol of all your hard work and will open doors to many opportunities. Your future may take you any number of directions. You might pursue post-secondary education or career training, or perhaps you’ll choose to go straight into the workforce. While your path may lead to other provinces and countries, I hope you choose Saskatchewan to build a life.
As a resident of Saskatchewan, you qualify for the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship which will cover a portion of your tuition if you enroll at a Saskatchewan post-secondary institution that is recognized for Canada-Saskatchewan student loans. This year’s budget provides $7.1 million in funding. Since its inception, it has benefitted over 113,000 students.
Since 2007-08, our government has invested nearly $11 billion in post-secondary institutions and student supports. In 2021-22, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide over $102.2 million in student supports through loans, scholarships, bursaries, grants and other supports.
We offer multiple programs that help students during and after their studies, including the Graduate Retention Program which has benefited over 74,000 post-secondary grads. This is the only graduate retention program in Canada and since its inception we’ve provided $541 million in tax credits to graduates who live and work in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Student Loans Forgiveness Program for Nurses and Nurse Practitioners forgives up to $4,000 per year of Saskatchewan Student debt to a maximum of $20,000 over five years for nurses and nurse practitioners who practice in smaller, rural Saskatchewan communities.
The Government of Saskatchewan is also launching a Loan Forgiveness Program for Veterinarians and Vet Technologists who choose to work in rural and remote communities.
You can visit www.saskatchewan.ca to learn more about all the advantages available to high school and post-secondary grads here in our province.
If you have questions, comments, concerns or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, I encourage you to contact our Constituency Office located at 7 – 598 15th St. E. We can be reached by telephone at 306-763-7677 or by e-mail email@example.com.