Legislative Report

23 June 2016

Investing in Student Success to Keep Saskatchewan Strong

As another school year comes to an end, our government is investing in students to keep our education system strong. Though challenges exist, we are increasing our investment in Education by $157.4 million over last year and we are adapting to a new and growing province by investing in infrastructure and putting dollars into the classrooms where they are needed most.

The government’s investment in infrastructure includes:

  • $310.5 million, an increase of $153.1 million for 18 joint-use schools being built on nine sites;
  • $33.4 million, an increase of 24 per cent, for preventative maintenance and renewal;
  • $4.6 million for emergency building repairs;
  • $41.9 million for ongoing capital projects including schools in St. Brieux, Langenburg, Gravelbourg, and Martensville as well as École Connaught, Sacred Heart and the new Mâmawêyatitân Centre replacing Scott Collegiate in Regina; and
  • $1.0 million for school facility assessments.

Our government’s commitment to supporting early education and child care includes the creation of 810 new child care spaces being developed as part of the 18 new elementary schools currently under construction on nine joint-use sites in Saskatoon, Regina, Warman and Martensville.

The 2016-17 Education Budget increases funding for classroom supports by $4.0 million to $288 million. This includes supports for students with intensive needs, students in vulnerable circumstances and students who require English as an additional language support. In addition, $5.4 million of school operating funding is being targeted to support Syrian refugee students.

Having students reach their full potential in the classroom continues to be a priority for our government. We remain committed to working with our sector partners to achieve the goals set out in The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and the Education Sector Strategic Plan, including improving achievements in reading and leading the country in graduation rates by 2020.

Investments in Housing Creating Jobs in Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to meeting housing need and encouraging economic development. Since 2007 our government has invested nearly $700 million in housing, encouraging an additional investment of $1.6 billion and generating more than 11,000 jobs in the housing industry.

With our partnerships with municipalities, builders, lenders and non-profit organizations, we are seeing tangible results of these investments as we work to provide housing to Saskatchewan’s growing population. Over half of the 11,000 jobs were directly related to the increased housing activity. The remaining jobs were in other industries that support housing activities in Saskatchewan.

Additionally, the 2016-17 Budget saw an increase of $2.2 million to Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, plus $8 million in new money that has been allocated for the Graduate Retention Program First Home Plan. These investments will further our poverty reduction strategy with improved access to safe and affordable homes, support our recent graduates, and provide job opportunities in the residential housing construction sector which will create security for people and grow the economy.

Innovative Project Poised to Reach Five Year Goal Early

Sweet Dreams provides vulnerable mothers with a safe place to live with their children while they receive parenting support, access to education and the chance to develop skills so they can best care for their families. The five-year goal is to keep 22 children out of foster care by keeping them safely with their mothers continuously for more than six months after participating in the program.

Sweet Dreams was made possible by a Social Impact Bond – a funding model that uses private capital to provide a social program. Together, along with private investors, project partners set out specific goals and then agree to pay those investors a pre-arranged sum if the project goes on to accomplish the stated goal. This approach allows governments and communities to proceed with social innovation projects more quickly while also increasing the accountability and transparency of the project.

The spring 2016 periodic review from an independent assessor confirmed that 21 children and their mothers had achieved this to date, significantly reducing the likelihood of those children having to come into care in the future. The Sweet Dreams pilot project is set to continue until 2019.

Saskatchewan and Québec Joining Forces on Carbon Capture and Storage

Thanks to SaskPower’s initiatives at Boundary Dam 3, Saskatchewan is capturing both carbon and the world’s attention. The Province of Quebec recognizes the world leading expertise that Saskatchewan has developed in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.

Saskatchewan and Quebec are entering into a new collaborative relationship to further develop knowledge and best practices in the use of CCS technologies. This announcement comes on the heels of the establishment of the BHP Billiton SaskPower CCS Knowledge Centre in Regina.

On a yearly basis, China’s fleet of coal fired power plants emit more than 20 times as much CO2 as Canada’s entire energy sector. As the federal Environment Minister noted, during a recent visit to BD3, there is an opportunity for $50 trillion worth of technology transfer in China alone.

By leading the world in the development of commercial-scale CCS technology, Saskatchewan is helping to create a solution for the global problem of climate change.

If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Randy.

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