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Back on track, Saskatchewan government

Budget day in Saskatchewan is seeing the provincial government peg the price of oil at US$75.75 per barrel and potash at US$407 per KCl tonne.

“Saskatchewan is back on track,” Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. “We are seeing strong economic growth and job creation as we come out of the pandemic and as a result, the province’s financial outlook has improved significantly.”

Expenses are at $17.6 billion, up 3.1per cent from the 2021-22 Budget and revenue is $17.2 billion, up 18.5 per cent from the previous year. This gives a deficit of $463 million.

Some of the beneficiaries include Health – $6.8 billion, Education – $3.8 billion, Agriculture – $1 billion and Social Services – $1.6 billion

The health budget is up $21.6 million over that of the previous fiscal year as the province says it aims to tackle the surgical waitlist, provide supports for seniors, recruit and retain staff including new doctors and $95 million dollars is allocated for the ongoing pandemic response.

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The education file is getting about $2.0 billion in operating funding for the 27 school divisions and as well funds to cover the 2.0 per cent salary increase as part of the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Highlights on the Social Services file include $11.4 million to increase Saskatchewan Income Support basic benefits by $30 per month and shelter benefits by up to $25 per month, $679.0 million in funding for people with disabilities and some $400 million in funding to community based organizations.

On the capital budget, $3.2 billion is set aside for capital projects.  Highlights include health care capital – $156.6 million, roads and highways – $846.0 million and school infrastructure – $168.6 million.

The Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program for film and television moves up to $10.0 million of available funding.

“The deficit has been reduced by over $2.0 billion. Our economy is growing, with 30,000 new jobs created over the past year and the second highest rate of job growth in Canada so far in 2022,” says Harpauer.

More details can be found on the government’s website.

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