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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Wall Releases One-Year Progress Report on the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth
Premier Brad Wall today announced 1,000 new training seats and the creation of a new Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will be two of the next steps the government is taking as part of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.
Wall released a one-year progress report on the Growth Plan – the government’s plan for meeting the challenges of a growing province.
“Our government believes in setting goals and in measuring our progress toward those goals,” Wall said. “The Growth Plan set 20 key goals and today we are reporting our progress. We are on track to meet our goals but there is still a lot to be done.”
Some of the key Growth Plan goals and progress to date include:
Goal: 1.2 million people living in Saskatchewan by 2020
Progress: Saskatchewan’s population is 1,108,303 as of July 1, 2013 after increasing by more than 100,000 people over the past six years.
Goal: Invest $2.5 billion in infrastructure over three years
Progress: This year, the government invested $847.5 million in infrastructure, slightly more than one-third of the targeted three-year commitment. Between the government and Crowns, infrastructure investment is up 110 per cent in the past six years compared to the previous six years.
Goal: 60,000 more people working in Saskatchewan by 2020
Progress: Through the first nine months of 2013, Saskatchewan is averaging employment growth of nearly 20,000, putting the province on pace for the strongest year of employment growth ever recorded.
Saskatchewan has also posted the lowest unemployment rate in Canada for the past nine months.
Goal: Increase the cap on provincial immigrant nominees from 4,000 to 6,000 per year
Progress: This year, the federal government increased Saskatchewan’s allocation under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program by 450, from 4,000 to 4,450. This represents 27 per cent of the additional nominees allocated across Canada in 2013.
Goal: Continue to balance the budget every year
Progress: The 2013-14 Saskatchewan budget is balanced on both a General Revenue Fund and Summary Financial Statement basis. Saskatchewan’s tax-supported debt is just six per cent of Gross Domestic Product – the second-lowest level among Canadian provinces, behind only Alberta.
Wall said a shortage of skilled labour is one of the challenges facing Saskatchewan businesses.
“In the coming year, we will work with educational institutions and employers to create 1,000 new training seats,” Wall said. “This includes another 300 new apprenticeship seats, bringing the total number of apprenticeship seats to 6,700 – an increase of 76 per cent since 2007.
“It also includes 700 new spots added to the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program as we work toward our Growth Plan goal of eliminating the wait list for this important program. This will bring the total number of ABE seats to 8,580 – an increase of 46 per cent since 2007.”
Wall also announced that the government will work with Saskatchewan’s manufacturing industry to create a Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in the province.
“Saskatchewan manufacturers play a key role in diversifying our resource-based economy,” Wall said. “This new Centre of Excellence will help to increase productivity, innovation and skills training for our manufacturing sector.
“One specific focus of the centre will be providing Saskatchewan’s First Nations and Métis people with the skills training needed for manufacturing jobs while encouraging and assisting employers in hiring aboriginal workers.”
Wall said further details of both the 1,000 new training seats and the Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will be provided as part of the 2014-15 Budget.
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