Report from the Legislature December 1, 2016

Dec 1, 2016

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 here:

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.