MLA Report — Prince Albert Carlton

A vastly improved financial picture has allowed our government to present a budget for 2022-23 that will touch all corners of the province. This budget will support Saskatchewan people, foster a strong and growing economy, and build a strong Saskatchewan for future generations.
This budget strengthens and protects Saskatchewan with key investments into priorities such as health care, social services and assistance, education and protection of persons and property. A record $3.2 billion in capital investments will focus on needed infrastructure like hospitals, schools, highways, municipal and Crown projects. The twinning of Highway 3 is on that list with funding earmarked for nearly eight kilometres west of Prince Albert.
Our government will use this budget to improve health care services across the province, such as our efforts to tackle the surgical waitlist caused by the pandemic. We have committed $21.6 million to reduce wait times by performing an additional 7,000 surgeries this year, compared to last year and increasing each subsequent year. We will also work on capacity by creating a new independent recruitment agency to bring more health care professionals to Saskatchewan. Here at home, another 150 nursing seats are being funded in our post-secondary institutions to train more Saskatchewan graduates.
The Neonatal ICU at Prince Albert Victoria Hospital will see $2.2 million to fund specialized care. Another $13.5 million will cover the procurement and design stages for the expansion and redevelopment project already underway for the hospital. When complete, the project will provide a larger emergency department, enhanced medical imaging services, and a 40 per cent increase in hospital beds, with shelled space to allow for future expansion.
Mental health and addictions services continue to be a priority area with a significant increase with $403 million directed to mental health and $67 million to addictions. The additional investment includes funding to support the launch of new harm reduction initiatives, ongoing work to establish an integrated services model for children and youth, along with support for the first year of a three-year commitment to add 150 treatment spaces across Saskatchewan.
Recognizing the importance of education, our 27 school divisions will receive nearly $2.0 billion in operating funding for the 2022-23 school year. The increase fully funds the 2 per cent salary increase as part of the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement along with hiring an additional 200 full-time educational assistants. Our government has also provided an additional $1.8 million to help cover unexpected staffing costs from the 2021-22 school year.
A changing entertainment industry will bring Saskatchewan’s film and television industry back into the spotlight. The 2022-23 Budget includes an $8 million increase for the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program. More streaming content has resulted in more opportunities for Saskatchewan businesses. Only Saskatchewan labour, goods, and services are eligible for support, ensuring the funds stay in the province.
Making life more affordable for Saskatchewan families, our province continues to have some of the lowest personal taxes in the country. A Saskatchewan family of four pays no provincial income tax on their first $53,435 of combined income, more than twice the limit compared to 2007. A family of four with $100,000 in total income pays $2,084 less this year compared to 2007.
This budget confirms funding to help make Saskatchewan safer with $947 million for the justice system. Funding has been included to implement the Electronic Monitoring Global Positioning System for high-risk offenders and establishing a Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team to target high-risk offenders with outstanding warrants. Funding will create a Provincial Protective Services branch that unites provincial peace officers into a single organizational structure, establish the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team, expand the Crime Reduction Teams and the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
These are just a few of the exciting announcements to come from this year’s budget. More details regarding individual programs and services will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months.
Our provincial economy is back on track. Provincial finances on back on track. And that allows government services to get back on track. The 2022-23 Budget protects and strengthens our province, ensuring investments made today are sustainable into the future.