Busy spring sitting in legislature

Alana Ross, MLA

The spring sitting of the Legislature has been busy as the Government of Saskatchewan works to support our growing province and expanding economy. Significant progress was made on projects that will increase jobs and affordability while also improving the health and safety of Prince Albert and area residents.
I was excited to tour the Paper Excellence Mill on May 5th with Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre and Minister of Environment Warren Kaeding. We walked the site and saw the work done so far in changing the facility from a pulp mill to a paper packing mill. Last fall, our province announced expanded timber allocations for Carrot River, Big River and two facilities in the Prince Albert area. The allocations resulted in another $1 billion of investment in our province. The Paper Excellence project will add 1,650 jobs directly and indirectly to the local economy.
As world events continue to pressure the global economy, the cost of living across Canada has increased. Our government is committed to ensuring life is affordable and will increase minimum wage in response. On October 1st, 2022, minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour. Minimum wage will rise to $14 per hour in October 2023 and to $15 per hour in October 2024. In 2007, minimum wage was $7.95, and by 2024 there will have been a total increase of nearly 89 per cent. This increase will support Saskatchewan workers and ensure our province is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
I was so pleased to bring greetings and offer congratulations at the Prince Albert Grand Opening of Riverheart, an affordable rental property for persons with disabilities on May 6th. Riverheart has eight one-bedroom units, two of which are accessible and six two-bedroom units with one accessible. Our government is proud to support this project that allows people with disabilities to live independently.
Last month, a piece of legislation came into force to provide further safeguards for victims and survivors of human trafficking. The Protection from Human Trafficking Act streamlines the process for victims to seek a protection order and includes a provision that prohibits traffickers from contacting their victims.
Routine childhood immunizations are free to all Saskatchewan families. They are the most effective way to protect children against preventable diseases like chickenpox, measles, mumps, whooping cough or polio. Information on Saskatchewan immunization programs, the Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule, as well as vaccine fact sheets are all available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/immunize.
Eligibility has expanded for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Saskatchewan residents aged 50 or older can now get the second booster shot. A fourth dose is recommended four months or longer after you have received your third dose.
During our spring session at the Legislature, I have had the honour of introducing some fine folks who call Prince Albert home. We were pleased to welcome Trevor Ives, Shauna Ives, Natalie Clyck and her daughter Minghella Coates, Deborah Chatsis and Ivan and Debbie Nahachewsky.
Trevor, who was diagnosed with myeloma in 2019, underwent successful treatment and a stem cell transplant. He now serves as a director with Myeloma Canada. Being part of the Myeloma community has allowed him to be a resource to several people who have been diagnosed with this second most common form of blood cancer.
Natalie, through Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), looks after the Community Cares Kitchen where clothing, wellness checks, compassion and over 220 meals are served daily to the vulnerable in Prince Albert. This past December, PAGC expanded their services to include a day warming shelter on 8th Street East.
Deborah was appointed to the Order of Canada for her leadership as the first woman of a First Nation to serve as an Ambassador for Canada. She was also recognized for her advocacy of human rights. Deborah served as Canada’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Ambassador to Guatemala and High Commissioner to Belize.
Ivan, a third-generation Ukrainian, was Chaplin and Greek Catholic Priest in Prince Albert and is now Chaplain for the Canadian Armed Forces in Saskatoon. In recognition of his work while deployed on Operation UNIFIER, Ivan received the Meritorious Service Medal. While in Ukraine, he helped create a chaplaincy program best suited to Ukraine’s needs.
If you have questions, comments, concerns or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, I encourage you to contact my constituency office located at #7, 598 15th Street East. We can be reached by telephone at 306-763-7677 or by email at: panorthcote.mla@sasktel.net.