(14 May 2014)
We want to ensure every Saskatchewan resident has the opportunity to participate in the electoral process – particularly those who face challenges in casting their vote. This is why, in consultation with the Official Opposition, our government has introduced amendments that are going to make it easier for Saskatchewan people to vote in future provincial elections.
The Election Amendment Act, 2014 will establish a permanent voter registry and remove the requirement for door-to-door enumeration, restrictions on who can vote at advance polls and provide for home-bound voting for voters with a disability. These new provisions will allow voters with a disability to apply to have election officials come to their home to take their vote. Additional changes will broaden voter assistance provisions and make it easier for voters to designate a friend or access an interpreter to help them cast their vote.
We are particularly proud of a change that provides special residence recognition to voters serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Active members of the military who are from Saskatchewan will retain their residency while serving outside the province while members who are coming from outside the province to serve in Saskatchewan will immediately be able to vote in provincial elections. We are the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement this change.
As part of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth, we expect to add 60,000 more people to our workforce by 2020. To that end, we’re making record investments in post-secondary education so people can receive the training needed to participate in our dynamic labour market.
Saving for our children’s education is a priority for all parents and our government recognizes and understands the challenges families may face. The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) is one way we’re working to make post-secondary education more affordable.
Modelled after the Canada Education Savings Grant, it enables the Government of Saskatchewan to provide a grant of 10% on contributions into a Registered Education Savings Plan (to a maximum of $250 per child per year). People with new and existing RESP’s can apply through participating financial institutions or investment companies. Contributions made to eligible RESPs will receive the SAGES grant retroactively to January 1, 2013.
We want to ensure more students have the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education. SAGES will help to achieve this by encouraging families to plan ahead for their children’s future and promoting the importance of completing a post-secondary education.
Many of us are ready to replace memories of a long winter and late spring with memories of summer fun at Saskatchewan Provincial Parks. Summer might be a few weeks away but campers are kicking off the Victoria Day long weekend by visiting our parks. Since it is still early in the season, some parks may have reduced services – details can be found at saskparks.net.
Saskatchewan Provincial Parks set a visitation record in 2013, part of the reason our government continues to invest in them. For example, funding for parks is up 4.6% this year. We want to keep the experience enjoyable for everyone and we’re doing that through electrical expansion, service and visitor centre replacements and water system upgrades.
Governments can make stronger rules and tougher sanctions but the only way to make our roads safer is for us, as drivers, to think about the choices we can make to prevent crashes. With another busy travel season upon us, we have launched The Road Safety Challenge. This is designed to get you thinking about safe driving and how you can make a difference.
In 2012, there were 184 deaths and 7,311 injuries due to vehicle collisions on Saskatchewan roads. Our target through The Road Safety Challenge is a 10 per cent reduction in deaths and injuries by Saskatchewan Day 2015 and a 20 per cent reduction by Saskatchewan Day 2017.
It’s easy to blame other drivers for the behaviour causing collisions so we’re challenging all drivers to take personal responsibility by making simple changes in driving habits that can lead to big safety benefits. Changes could include volunteering to be the designated driver, always wearing a seatbelt, easing off the gas pedal, and putting down the distractions like cellphones while driving. As you travel the province, remember, small changes can have a big impact.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Nancy.
Past Legislative Reports