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Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal Recipients Announced

Released on April 4, 2017

Today Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield announced ten of the province’s most dedicated volunteers who will receive the 2016 Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal during National Volunteer Week, April 23 to 29.

“These recipients of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal exemplify the very best of Canadian qualities, including generosity, compassion and service,” Solomon Schofield said. “I congratulate each of them on this well-deserved honour, and I thank them for their enormous contributions to the people and communities of Saskatchewan.”

The 2016 Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal recipients to be honoured during the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada are:

Colin Bachynski, Business Consultant, Regina
Shelley Fraser, Adult-English as a Second Language Instructor, Debden Lori Glauser, Business Owner, Yorkton
Eva and Harry Martens, Retired Dairy Farmers, Osler Faeeza Moolla, Community Builder, Regina
Reggie Newkirk, Consultant, Lumsden
Janis Olesko, Retired Educator, Prince Albert
Mary Wright, Retired, Denare Beach
Peter Zakreski, C.M., Retired Senior Vice-President, Federated Cooperatives Ltd., Saskatoon

Saskatchewan has a long and proud history of volunteerism with more than 8,000 community-based organizations active in the province today. The spirit of helping one’s neighbour, which helped build this province, continues to shine in this special anniversary year. In four Statistics Canada surveys between 2004 and 2013, Saskatchewan led the country in volunteerism.

The Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal was established in 1995 to recognize volunteers and those who demonstrate exceptional community involvement. This recognition cannot happen without the effort of those who submit nominations.

The recipients will receive their medals during a ceremony with Solomon Schofield in Regina on Monday, April 24, 2017. For more information about the Saskatchewan Honours and Awards Program and to nominate an outstanding Saskatchewan citizen, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/honoursawards.

For more information, contact:

Jay Teneycke
Intergovernmental Affairs
Regina
Phone: 306-798-6095
Email: jay.teneycke@gov.sk.ca

Randy had the honour of presenting Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Eva Martens to the Lieutenant Governor as they received their Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal 2016 in the Biggar-Sask Valley Constituency.

GOVERNMENT ENDS SASKATCHEWAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (STC) SUBSIDY – BUS COMPANY TO BE WOUND DOWN

Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave today announced that operating and capital subsidies to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) will end in 2017-18, leading to the company being wound down. Freight will continue to be accepted for delivery until May 19, and passenger services will cease May 31, 2017.

“As ridership has declined and costs have increased, STC’s subsidy has reached unsustainable levels,” Hargrave said. “STC’s per passenger subsidy has grown from $25 per passenger 10 years ago to $94 per passenger today.

“Over the next five years, STC is forecasted to require more than $85.0 million in subsidies to continue operating. Our government believes that those funds can be put to better use elsewhere in government.”

A number of long-term trends have contributed to the deterioration of the sustainability of STC:

  • Canadian intercity bus travel continues to decline - National trends in intercity bus travel continue to impact STC’s ability to provide service. Decreased connecting schedules in neighbouring provinces, increased vehicle ownership, moderate fuel prices, and increased migration to urban centres have led to a decline in intercity bus travel. (Statistics Canada, The Daily, July 25, 2016)
  • Provincial ridership is steadily declining - Only two out of twenty-seven routes in STC’s network are profitable. The popularity of intercity bus travel in Saskatchewan peaked thirty-five years ago and has declined by 77 per cent since then.
  • Competition with parcel delivery sector - Competition with private sector delivery companies has been a concern. Removing STC from the parcel delivery sector opens up the competitive process for the private sector operators.
  • Efforts to limit the growth of the company’s subsidies have been exhausted.

Throughout the 1990s, thirteen routes were discontinued and service frequencies were reduced. Beginning in 2012, further frequency reductions and schedule adjustments were implemented on numerous routes and three additional routes were discontinued. Despite these and other efforts, the subsidy continues to grow.

EMBARGOED RELEASE
Mar 22, 2017
Until 2:15 PM

"The decision to wind down STC was not arrived at easily,” Hargrave said. “Over the last number of years, our government has made a determined effort to contain the growth of the company’s annual subsidy. But based on all of the trends, it is clear that ridership will continue to decline, costs will continue to rise and more and more money would go into STC to keep it operating. The $85.0 million that would have been spent on STC’s operations over the next five years can be redirected to other priorities.”

A total of 224 staff will be impacted by the closure. STC employees will receive fair treatment in accordance with corporate policies.

OPERATIONAL NOTE: To enable STC staff to meet with management regarding the wind-down, operations will be curtailed on March 22-23:

  • Beginning at 1 p.m. March 22, various scheduled trips across the network will be suspended for the remainder of the day and into the morning of March 23.
  • The Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert terminals will remain open.
  • Services will resume regular schedules during the afternoon of March 23.

Please check the website at www.stcbus.com, call 1-800-663-7181, or call your local Terminal or Agency for further information on schedules during this period. For specific details and facts, see the attached backgrounder.

STC, The Saskatchewan Transportation Company
STC, The Saskatchewan Transportation Company is a provincial crown corporation providing passenger and express bus service to the people of Saskatchewan.
STCBUS.COM

Library Annoucement

As you all are aware, due to the financial circumstances of the province, difficult budget decisions had to be made. The reduction in library funding was one of these decisions. The 2017-18 budget for the provincial library system was reduced by $4.84 million.

2016-17: $11,090,000
2017-18: $$6,250,000

Regional and municipal libraries were particularly affected. Municipal libraries (Regina and Saskatoon) did not receive any funding in 2017-18. This represents a 2.75% reduction in the Regina Public Library’s operating budget, and a 3% reduction for the Saskatoon Public Library. Regional libraries saw a reduction of $3.5 million, from $6.02 million in 2016-17, to $2.5 million in 2017-18.

It is important to note that provincial grants do not support local branch operations, which are the responsibility of the local municipality.

We want to work with our libraries to adjust how they deliver their services with the available funding levels. Our focus is on supporting things such as electronic resources, interlibrary loans and community net. It is our hope that local libraries will work with their municipalities and school divisions to find new ways of delivering services.

Legislative Report

15 June 2017

More Doctors Practising in Saskatchewan

Our government has worked hard to increase the complement of physicians and specialists in Saskatchewan through training, retention, and international recruitment.

The Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment is a made-in-Saskatchewan solution created under our government to assess foreign-trained family physicians.

Sixteen doctors recently completed the assessment.

As a result of this program, which was fully implemented in 2012, 210 more physicians are serving Saskatchewan with 80% practicing in a rural or regional community.

I’m proud to say that since 2007, Saskatchewan has welcomed over 750 more doctors to communities throughout Saskatchewan, which means a better experience for patients across the system.

While we have had some success, there is more work to do and we’re going to continue our efforts to ensure Saskatchewan patients have even better access to health care.

Saskatchewan Population Continues to Grow

And it’s not just the number of practicing physicians that’s growing – the latest Statistics Canada figures confirm the province’s overall population continues to climb.

Over the past year, Saskatchewan’s population grew by 16,047 people – a growth rate of 1.4%. Since 2007 we have grown by nearly 164,000 people.

This decade of growth is a huge change from the previous decade of decline when Saskatchewan’s population actually dropped by more than 20,000 people.

Housing Starts and Job Numbers Up Over Last Year

As our population continues to grow, so does the demand for housing.

Urban housing starts in Saskatchewan are up 57% compared to 2% nationally. This growth comes at a time when more people are working and our economy is gaining momentum.

There are 1,300 more jobs over this time last year with strong growth in several sectors. Combine that with export, manufacturing and GDP growth and we have reason for optimism.

Investments in Infrastructure Continue

Saskatchewan’s economy is resilient and strong and our government is continuing to invest in infrastructure to support a growing province.

Our investments in infrastructure have helped repair and build new schools and highways, new hospitals and long-term care facilities. Even with the current fiscal challenge, our government continues to invest in infrastructure projects across the province.

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are working together to improve housing affordability and support in northern Saskatchewan. A combined investment will assist in the development of up to 44 affordable rental units and the rejuvenation of eight emergency shelter units.

As part of our commitment to investing in local infrastructure, we are working to improve access to modern, reliable water and wastewater services. The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan recently announced funding for 75 Saskatchewan projects.

The Government of Saskatchewan is also continuing to partner with communities and rural municipalities to maintain and upgrade vital airport infrastructure that supports economic development, accessibility and safety initiatives.

Since 2007 our government has invested more than $350 million in municipal infrastructure projects across the province. This is in addition to nearly $258 million in revenue sharing – unconditional funding provided to municipalities to invest in local priorities.

The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to invest in infrastructure projects to improve our quality of life as our province continues to grow.

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

Past Legislative Reports