November 30, 2016

Fall Sitting of the Legislative Assembly Delivers Key Initiatives to Keep Saskatchewan Strong

Premier Brad Wall said the government delivered on key commitments during the 25 day fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly that ended today.

“Our government passed key pieces of legislation during this sitting to keep Saskatchewan strong by fighting impaired driving, expanding workers’ compensation coverage to workers experiencing psychological injuries, and increasing compassionate care leave,” Wall said.

Changes to The Traffic Safety Act were introduced and passed unanimously through all stages of the legislative process in one day, and 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).

Changes to The Workers’ Compensation Act were also introduced and passed unanimously in one day to:

  • Establish a rebuttable 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.

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 made a campaign commitment to update provincial compassionate care provisions for Saskatchewan families,” Wall said.  “We know that nothing can truly ease the stress of caring for a gravely ill loved one but we believe the last thing families need to worry about is how it will impact their job, and these changes provide that peace of mind.”

Government also kept other key campaign commitments this sitting:

  • 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.

The next sitting of the Legislative Assembly is scheduled to begin March 6, 2017.