On April 10, the 2018-2019 provincial budget was announced in the legislature with a 1.6% increase in operating funds for PreK-12 Education. While the $30M in provincial funding restored by the government is encouraging for the education sector as a whole, Chinook will still face a shortfall as we develop budget for 2018-19.
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Roughly $3.5 billion of the $5.77 billion for health care will go to the newly-formed Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for their operation funding. Scott Livingstone, CEO of the SHA, said their initial reaction to the budget is they’re pleased. “The numbers are moving in the right direction,” he said.
The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is relieved to see that today’s provincial budget is maintaining support for Saskatchewan hometowns.
In today’s budget, the provincial government is reinstating the SaskEnergy municipal surcharge to 109 of our municipalities who saw it cut last year. The surcharge will also be extended to all Saskatchewan cities, towns and villages.
“We appreciate the return of SaskEnergy funding to our 109 municipalities that lost out last year,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “This funding helps our municipalities provide instrumental services.”
Revenue sharing related to PST is set to decrease from last year as expected. SUMA welcomes the opportunity for an open discussion with the provincial government on the future of the revenue sharing program.
“We didn’t get all that we hoped for, but we understand that the province is facing tough economic times,” said Barnhart. “We look forward to continuing in an open consultation process.”
There were 4,200 new jobs created in Saskatchewan in March when compared to February (seasonally adjusted), a 0.7 per cent increase and highest percentage increase among the provinces. The national percentage increase month-to-month was 0.2 per cent.
There were 562,700 people employed in March, 1,500 more than in March 2017. Female employment hit a record high for the month of March at 264,400.
The unemployment rate in March for the province was 5.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted), down from 6.1 per cent a year ago. Saskatchewan had the fourth lowest unemployment rate among provinces in March. Nationally, the unemployment rate was also 5.8 per cent.
“The increase in job numbers is really good news for the Saskatchewan economy,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “Recent indicators showing that Saskatchewan leads the nation in growth in manufacturing sales in January, and urban housing starts over the first two months of the year, in addition to month-to-month job growth in March, confirms our economy is positioned for growth in 2018.”
Other March highlights include:
Major year-over-year gains were reported for transportation and warehousing up 3,600; health care and social assistance up 2,500; forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas up 2,400.
Youth unemployment rate was the third lowest among provinces at 11 per cent (seasonally adjusted).
Source: Strong Job Growth In March