MLA Report: Prince Albert Carlton

The fall session of the legislature has concluded, and it has been an honour to represent Prince Albert once again. Our government continues building and protecting a strong province.

During the fall sitting, the Legislative Assembly unanimously passed The SaskEnergy (Carbon Tax Fairness for Families) Amendment Act. This legislation builds on our government’s previous announcement that SaskEnergy will stop collecting the carbon tax on natural gas bills for residential customers. To ensure fairness for families, our government also recently announced SaskPower will stop collecting the federal carbon tax on electrical home heating.

These decisions come in response to the federal government’s removal of the carbon tax from home heating oil earlier this fall. Our government’s policies will help protect Saskatchewan families from the harmful impacts of the federal government’s unfair and unaffordable carbon tax. While we continue to call on the federal government to remove the carbon tax on everything for everyone, Saskatchewan now has measures in place to ensure affordability for families to heat their homes this winter.

Our government remains committed to investing in programs, services and infrastructure that matter to the people of Saskatchewan. Work continues to come along nicely for the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital. Upon completion, the new and improved hospital will include a larger emergency department and enhanced medical imaging services including MRI. The project will also increase the number of beds from 173 to 242, which will serve residents of Prince Albert and surrounding communities for the years to come.

To help increase accessibility to breast cancer diagnostics, a new initiative will accelerate urgent diagnostic breast cancer procedures including breast mammograms and biopsies. A centralized booking system for breast imaging and 3D breast imaging will also be implemented across the province, and the highest-risk patients are now receiving diagnostic care here in Saskatchewan.

As we build on these improvements for health care in our province, we receive good news on the work being done by Saskatchewan’s surgeons and their teams. Our province’s surgical system achieved the highest volumes ever recorded from April to September 2023 totaling 47,748 procedures performed. This is an increase of 10.4 per cent over the same period last year. Our government will continue to invest in the health care system to maximize capacity and keep wait times trending downward.

Our government also continues to support students pursuing careers in health care with several programs and initiatives. The Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Nurses and Nurse Practitioners is being expanded to include Prince Albert. This expansion will help retain graduates to stay and work in our community and is a step forward in addressing the need for more nurses.

Earlier this fall, free, rapid-access counseling services were launched for children, youth and their caregivers in Prince Albert. The launch is part of our government’s annual funding of $3.2 million to Family Services Saskatchewan: $1.7 million in new funding for expanding rapid access counseling services to children and youth, and $1.5 million to provide ongoing services to adults and families. A key focus under our new province-wide Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions is expanding our capacity for people to get help when and where they need it.

As we near the holiday season, I wish everyone all the best and a Merry Christmas. In preparation for the new year ahead, I look forward to hearing from you. Your questions and concerns help me continue to represent your best interests in the legislature. Please reach out to my constituency office at 306-922-2828 or Or feel free to stop by our office, located at Bay 4, 406 South Industrial Drive.