Ensuring a strong and growing economy, the Government of Saskatchewan announced our 2022-23 budget that bolsters our commitment to meet the needs of communities across the province. This budget has a record $3.2 billion for capital investments for new and existing infrastructure, such as hospitals, highways and schools.
The Prince Albert Victoria Hospital is a hub for essential services for patients across northern Saskatchewan. The 2022-23 budget allocated $13.5 million towards the redevelopment of Prince Albert Victoria Hospital and $2.2 million to fund more specialized care in the Neonatal ICU. This means sick babies and their families can stay closer to home to receive their care. When complete, the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital will provide a larger emergency department, enhanced medical imaging services, and a 40 per cent increase in hospital beds, with space to allow for future expansion.
The 2022-23 budget has dedicated over $21 million to significantly reduce the surgical waitlist by performing thousands of additional procedures in the upcoming fiscal year. This is the first year of a three-year plan to eliminate the surgical backlog and return to the pre-COVID wait times by the end of March 2025.
Eight new addiction treatment beds opened earlier this year at Our House in Prince Albert. These beds provide our most vulnerable with a safe place to stay before and after seeking treatment. This budget also increases mental health and addictions services funding to provide counselling, treatments, and further proactive measures across the province.
Provided in this year’s budget is an increase of $30 a month for our most vulnerable through Social Services and funding for our seniors through the Senior Income Plan, there is also an increase in funding to assist people on low income and those who are living with disabilities.
The Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement will help create 6,100 new child-care spaces across the province. The people of Prince Albert Northcote will benefit significantly from this investment. Life will be much more affordable for our young families with approval for child-care spaces at Cumberland Crossing, the Co-operative Heath Center and PAGC.
Enhancing public safety through targeted initiatives is key to fostering effective police services. To address specific challenges in our city, the Prince Albert Police Services has seen an increase of over a $1 million since 2020. Protecting the people of our province is a priority for our government.
Our government is investing to make our roads safer while supporting our economy. This includes the twinning of Highway 3 to nearly eight kilometers west of Prince Albert. This is the completion of the project that started with the passing lanes on Highway 3 and Highway 2 north of Prince Albert in 2021. These upgrades will improve traffic flow and safety for all who use our highways.
Forestry is the largest sector in our region; it supports nearly 8,000 jobs and relies on Indigenous businesses and workers. Last September, our government announced timber allocations to support four major forestry projects, including One Sky Forestry Products Ltd., OSB mill and the reopening of the Paper Excellence pulp mill in Prince Albert. An additional 2,350 jobs will be created for Prince Albert and surrounding Indigenous communities.
Supporting the forestry industry opens the doors for new businesses such as Pivot Furniture Technologies Inc. Pivot is a unique and environmentally focused furniture manufacturer and leasing company that employs approximately 20 people.
While other regions are just starting to venture down the road to recuperating after a challenging two years, Saskatchewan is already leading the way. We have enjoyed an increasing population, record private investment, record job numbers and expanded global interest in our products and services the world needs. Investing in new and existing infrastructure is key to getting Saskatchewan back on track and supporting long-term growth.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.