December 5, 2016

Legislative Report

1 December 2016

Fall Session Summary

Members of the Legislative Assembly mourn the passing of our good friend and colleague Roger Parent, MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin. Roger, a strong advocate and proud representative for his community and province, passed away November 29 with family members at his side.

Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to Roger’s family. His passing was sudden and came as a shock to our Caucus and to all those who knew him. On the final day of the fall sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature, all members of the Assembly came together to remember him.

You can watch Premier Wall’s tribute to Roger on Youtube.

The fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly saw our government deliver on key commitments to keep Saskatchewan strong, including legislation to fight impaired driving, expand workers’ compensation coverage to workers experiencing psychological injuries, and increasing compassionate care leave.

Effective January 1, 2017, changes to The Traffic Safety Act include:

  • Adding a three-day vehicle seizure for experienced drivers who are charged for the first time with having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .04;
  • Applying zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol to drivers 21 and under; and
  • Strengthening ignition interlock laws to be the most effective in Canada, by extending mandatory ignition interlock to drivers who register a BAC over .16 or refuse to provide a breath sample (first offence - two years; second offence - five years; third and subsequent offence - 10 years).

The Workers’ Compensation Act has been changed to:

  • Establish a rebuttal presumption for all forms of psychological injuries, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to ensure that workers will not have to prove their injury happened in the workplace; and
  • Make Saskatchewan the first province in Canada to enact legislation that covers other forms of psychological injury that workers experience as a result of being exposed to traumatic events or situations at work.

We made a commitment to update provincial compassionate care provisions for families. While nothing can truly ease the stress of caring for a gravely ill loved one, we believe the last thing families need to worry about is how it will impact their job.

The passage of The Extension of Compassionate Care Act, 2016, ensures that compassionate care for Saskatchewan families caring for ailing relatives is harmonized with recent changes to federal Employment Insurance benefits. We believe these changes provide that peace of mind.

Government kept other key campaign commitments, including:

  • Passing The Patient Choice Medical Imaging Act, fulfilling the campaign commitment to reduce wait lists for CT scans by allowing patients to pay for private CT scans under the two-for-one system already in place for MRI services; and
  • Expanding private liquor retailing in Saskatchewan to give consumers more choice, more convenience and more competitive pricing through the selection of 49 private retailers through a Request for Proposals conducted by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority and KPMG.

The Assembly also passed a motion supporting Premier Wall's strong stance against the federal government’s unilateral decision to impose a national carbon tax on Saskatchewan.

This sitting of the Legislative Assembly also saw the introduction of The Pipelines Amendment Act, 2016 to enhance regulatory oversight of the oil and gas industry. The new legislation creates a legal framework for phased-in licensing for more than 80,000 flowlines which are currently exempt under previous legislation. It also establishes new inspection, investigation and compliance audit powers for ministry staff while updating and modernizing penalties.

A new committee of government MLAs has also been created with a focus on reducing crime rates in Saskatchewan.

The Caucus Committee on Crime Reduction will consult with municipalities, police agencies and other organizations to determine what the major issues are and what can be done to better address each. Particular areas of concern are rising property crime rates in rural areas and an increase in guns, gang activity and highly addictive and dangerous drugs such as fentanyl.

This new committee will focus on causes and make recommendations on what the province and our partners, like municipalities and police forces, can do to reduce crime.

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

Past Legislative Reports