Report from the Legislature July 12, 2018

Jul 12, 2018

Summer in Saskatchewan is a great time to enjoy recreation and relaxation.

When travelling throughout our province, our government understands the importance of high-speed internet and cellular connections both in business and in our personal lives.

We also understand that too many rural areas still have poor cellular coverage and slow internet service which is why we’re working with SaskTel to expand and enhance its network.

Late last year, we announced a four-phase initiative to provide rural Saskatchewan communities with enhanced access to communications services. This work started with a SaskTel-led investment of $4.2 million to expand its High-Speed Fusion Internet Service to 34 additional towers.

The second phase of this initiative will see SaskTel deploy small cellular sites to will improve the level of service in 100 rural communities. The upgrades on the first 43 towers will be completed by March 31, 2019. The remaining 57 locations to receive upgrades will be announced once details are finalized.

This most recent round of wireless improvements will greatly benefit many residents, farms, and businesses across rural Saskatchewan.

Phase 3 will see us continue to explore ways for SaskTel to enhance its cooperation with the private sector to look for additional opportunities to improve rural wireless services while the fourth phase will involve research gathered to identify coverage gaps in mobility and internet service. The data collected will be used by SaskTel to formulate a broad expansion plan to improve services.

Keeping connected and staying safe are key to enjoying recreation and relaxation in Saskatchewan. Earlier this month, the new Saskatchewan Highway Patrol vehicles hit the road with the former Commercial Vehicle Enforcement group taking on expanded responsibilities.

If you’re travelling around the province this summer, you should be aware that Saskatchewan Highway Patrol officers are now responding to situations where previously only the police would be involved. In addition to the enforcement of commercial vehicles, the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol is supporting the provincial Protection and Response Team (PRT) by enforcing Criminal Code violations.

Last year, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the creation of the PRT to help reduce crime in rural Saskatchewan. The team is comprised of police officers from the RCMP and municipal police forces, as well as Saskatchewan Highway Patrol officers from the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers.

Commercial vehicle enforcement will remain the primary responsibility of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol. However, the officers will have additional responsibilities, including arrest and detention powers, to support their role on the PRT.

Other duties include:

  • Responding to 911 calls;
  • Investigating impaired drivers;
  • Enforcing speed limits and other traffic violations – inside and outside of work zones;
  • Responding to motor vehicle accidents; and
  • Taking action when offences are committed. 
Wherever your summer travels take you, stay safe and enjoy!