World-class, environmentally sustainable, tasty and nutritious. Those are just some of the ways that Saskatchewan agriculture products are described by consumers around the world. As we celebrate Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan, we’re taking time to thank the dedicated agriculture producers who put that food on our table.
In 2021, Saskatchewan set a record with $17.5 billion in agri-food exports, and hopes are high for another impressive year. To support that growth, our government is working to address the issues you have identified as potential barriers.
Minister of Highways and Water Security Agency Jeremy Cockrill joined me on a constituency tour to get first-hand knowledge of those issues and explore possible solutions. We reviewed highway conditions, transportation infrastructure and water control options for
the region. Minister Cockrill also met with officials from the Great Sandhills Railway to discuss improving rail transportation options. Drought conditions continue to be a concern for this part of the province. I was pleased to welcome Agriculture Minister David Marit to the constituency as we discussed further options to address the lack of moisture. With the support of the Water Security Agency, we are exploring dam infrastructure and opportunities for potential irrigation use in the future.
Hearing your concerns about the need to attract more animal health professionals to rural Saskatchewan, our government has made two announcements to help address the issue. We have expanded eligibility for the Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program. Any veterinary practice in the province that offers services to livestock stakeholders in rural and remote communities, including ambulatory services, will be recognized by the program. By forgiving up to $20,000 in Saskatchewan Student Loan debt, the program goal is to attract more professionals to rural areas. In addition, we have
increased the number of subsidized seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine from 20 to 25. The change will see more Saskatchewan students receive a high-quality education in veterinary medicine right here in our province.
Healthcare in rural Saskatchewan has been a significant focus for our government, leading to the Health Human Resources Action Plan announced this summer. In preparation, Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley toured the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek and the Shaunavon Union Hospital. While touring these facilities, Minister Hindley met with front-line healthcare workers to discuss opportunities to improve health services in Southwest Saskatchewan.
Our four-point plan starts with recruiting hundreds of healthcare workers from abroad over the next two years. Saskatchewan will become the first province in the country to introduce an accelerated training, assessment and licensing process for internationally educated nurses. We have added 150 nursing seats to the registered nursing, registered psychiatric nursing and nurse practitioner education programs to increase training opportunities here at home. A new incentive will provide up to $50,000 over three years for hard-to-recruit positions in rural and remote areas. And finally, we will work to retain more professionals by
creating 100 new permanent full-time positions and converting 150 part-time positions into full-time for high-demand professions in rural and remote areas.
Our province continues to grow, and we are expanding the services and programs that
residents need. We will deliver solutions that simplify processes, remove obstacles and
cut red tape so qualified people can work in Saskatchewan as quickly as possible.
If you have questions or need assistance with programs or services, please reach out to
my constituency office by calling 306-672-1755 or email to email@example.com.