(10 September 2014)
The start of a new school year can bring out a range of emotions. It provides a fresh start for excited parents, students, teachers and support staff. From early-learning to post-secondary, on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, I would like to express my appreciation to all those who are helping prepare our children and youth for a bright future in Saskatchewan.
Our government is committed to ensuring our schools are optimal learning environments in which students feel safe. Our Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying is one of the many ways we are working to achieve this.
As always, please remember to take extra caution in and around school zones. Over the summer our government strengthened traffic safety laws in an effort to keep all of us, including our children, safe. Please be careful and have a great start to the school year.
It has been said that the only day better than today in Saskatchewan, is tomorrow in Saskatchewan. As high school students start to look at their options post-graduation, it is encouraging to see so many furthering their education here at home. This is possible because of the new opportunities a growing Saskatchewan provides. Our government has also provided record support to make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.
The Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship, for example, provides up to $500 per year to a maximum of $2,000 for Grade 12 graduates attending designated Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions. Our Graduate Retention Program also provides a refund up to $20,000 of tuition fees paid by eligible grads who live in Saskatchewan and who file a Saskatchewan income tax return. Since 2008, rebates have been provided to 50,000 post-secondary grads.
The Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship provides $5 million to public post-secondary institutions for scholarships in the areas of innovation and opportunity. Through this, more than 4,000 students have received scholarships in previous years.
The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings is a new way in which families can save for their children’s post-secondary education. Our government will provide a grant of 10%, on contributions made since January 1, 2013, into a Registered Education Savings Plan (to a maximum of $250 per child per year). The maximum lifetime grant is $4,500 per child.
Student Financial Aid is another option for low and middle-income students. In 2014-15, the Student Aid Fund will provide $32.5 million to support loans, grants and bursaries and approximately 56% of overall Saskatchewan student financial assistance is non-repayable.
We wish our post-secondary students and recent grads the very best in their studies and future endeavours. Saskatchewan continues to lead the nation in terms of employment and opportunities, so we look forward to their contributions to our strong, growing economy.
Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate (4.2% in August) was the lowest in Canada for the 20th consecutive month and strong economic conditions are also helping to drive wages higher. The average Saskatchewan worker’s weekly wages are $980.11, up 3.6% over last year. This is another positive step when it comes to recruiting and retaining skilled labour. Saskatchewan is strong and it is encouraging to see steady growth and continued confidence in our province.
Keep up the great work!
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Nancy.
Past Legislative Reports