By 2030, the province would like to have a population of 1.4 million people and 100,000 more jobs.
Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty made the announcement during his speech, marking the start of the 2019-20 legislative session.
“Over the past 12 years, Saskatchewan has enjoyed a remarkable period of strong and sustained growth-growth in our province has not seen since the 1920s. Ten weeks from today, Saskatchewan will enter the 2020s. My government’s goal is to ensure Saskatchewan’s strong growth continues, that all Saskatchewan people continue to benefit from that growth and the 2020s will be a new decade of growth in the province,” Mirasty said.
The new Saskatchewan Plan for Growth will be released during the fall legislative session.
“The new Growth Plan will outline our government’s growth goals for the new decade and the actions we will be taking to those goals,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
“A growing province creates challenges, but we are all better off meeting those challenges than suffering the effects of decline as we have in some previous decades.”
Moe admitted the targets are ambitious. He added part of the growth plan will include trying to get more value out of Saskatchewan exports through trade missions like his recent trip to Japan and South Korea.
During his leadership campaign, Moe planned to hit 1.2 million people in Saskatchewan by 2020. Migration to the province will likely fall short of that. The population is currently around 1.17 million.
As for creating 100,000 jobs by 2030, job creation will have to skyrocket. According to Statistics Canada data, Saskatchewan added approximately 54,000 jobs between September 2010 and the same month in 2019.
Across the aisle, Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says they will be focusing on education in the coming session.
“You’re going to hear a lot from us about education. That’s everywhere we go we’re hearing loud and clear that they’re seeing the education system has failed and the Sask. Party has really gotten that wrong,” Meili said.
The speech is light on new promises in education, but Moe said the ministry is working on assembling a table of stakeholders to address issues like classroom capacity.
Meili added that he’s disappointed the speech doesn’t mention crystal meth or opioid addictions as a contributing factor to crime in Saskatchewan.
Wednesday’s throne speech included a number of other measures the province will take during legislative sessions.
- Creating a fund of up to $10 million to assist Estevan, Coronach and surrounding areas transition to new economic development opportunities for workers affected by the federally-mandated phase-out of coal-fired electricity by 2030;
- Introducing and funding a plan to reduce surgical wait times;
- Introducing legislation for the regulation of vaping and vaping products;
- Taking measures to improve the safety and well-being of First Nations children and reduce the number of children that need to come under the province’s care;
- Opening the new Regina Bypass;
- Introducing tougher penalties for cell phone usage while driving;
- Continuing the constitutional challenge to the federal carbon tax in the Supreme Court;
- Continuing to explore the potential for small modular reactors to produce emissions-free electricity using Saskatchewan uranium;
- Implementing Clare’s Law, which allows police to disclose information that could help protect potential victims of interpersonal violence;
- Introducing a new Fisheries Act to provide greater protection against invasive aquatic species;
- Amending The Lobbyists Act to address recommendations made by the Registrar of Lobbyists in his recent annual reports;
- Strengthening the enforcement of maintenance orders for child support payments; and
- Amending The Saskatchewan Employment Act to increase parental leave by eight weeks to ensure that employees who are entitled to the new shared parental employment insurance benefit have job protection while using the new leave benefit and to extend employment leave to individuals who are running for election to a First Nations Band Council.
“Our government will continue to plan for a growing province by keeping our economy strong, investing in important government services and ensuring everyone in Saskatchewan continues to enjoy the benefits of growth,” Moe said.