Legislative Report
(13 January 2010)

New Population Record Set

2009 ended with some great population news for our province. Just before Christmas, Statistics Canada released population numbers which showed there were 1,034,974 people living in Saskatchewan, a new all-time high. That number surpasses the old record of 1,032,799 set in 1987. Over the past year Saskatchewan’s population has grown by more than 16,000 people, many of them from outside of Canada. A growing population means a growing economy. A growing economy means Saskatchewan will continue to move forward.

2010 will also see Saskatchewan taxpayers continuing to keep more of their hard-earned money. Our government is, once again, fully indexing personal income tax brackets and credits to the national inflation rate. Indexing protects Saskatchewan taxpayers from “bracket creep,” which is what happens when people are pushed into higher tax brackets due to inflationary increases in income. This move builds on the $300 million income tax reduction that our government introduced in 2008, which was the largest-ever single-year income tax cut for Saskatchewan people. These tax cuts are saving families and individuals thousands of dollars.

Over the last number of weeks I have received a number of calls regarding the loss and lack of Doctors in both Arcola and Redvers. I know both communities have strong recruitment teams in place and are working hard to find and encourage physicians to locate in their communities. Commendations to both these hardworking teams!!

The province has moved to increase the number of training seats for medical students in Saskatchewan from 60 to 120. This, however, is a long term solution and does not resolve the current situation. The province is also working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons to insure that properly qualified physicians can immigrate and work in Saskatchewan more quickly.

Sun Country Health District is also involved in the recruitment of Physicians and they must work closely with the local recruitment committees to insure that physicians interested in moving to a community have an opportunity to do so. The role of the Health Districts’ management team should be to recruit for the entire district, work with local community recruiting teams when these teams find willing physicians and to expedite offers of employment when new qualified doctors are found.

When all these levels work together, the local communities, the Health District and the Provincial Ministry of Health, much can be accomplished. However, when one cog slips the results are less that we should expect. I would like to thank all those who called or wrote about the lack of physicians in our communities. You input on this and other issues is invaluable.

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

Past Legislative Reports