2017 Saskatchewan Budget
Cuts, Spending Controls and Fiscal Restructuring
March 23,2017 - Legislative Building Regina
Finance Minister Kevin Doherty delivered a “tough love” budget at the Legislature.
On the one end, the Government is eliminating the Saskatchewan Transportation Company and laying off nearly 550 people. Couple this bad news with a reduction in tax exemptions and an increase to the PST to 6%, as well as an increase in a variety of so-called sin taxes, and this budget is not the news that many hoped for.
At the other end, however, targeted spending appears robust. For example, this budget provides $1.4 billion in social services and assistance, representing a record 9% increase since last year. This amount includes a funding increase to disability programs by $2.5 million.
Health spending will be held at not more than a .7% increase this fiscal year. Also on the health front, significant restructuring is planned, with the consolidation of 12 regional health authorities into one.
Interestingly, chiropractic services are among those no longer; the government will no longer cover this service for anyone.
And while the PST will increase to 6%, it is still far lower than comparable taxes in most provinces. That increase will be met by a drop in the personal income tax rate by 0.5%.
Clearly the “winner” in this year’s Saskatchewan budget is found in the social services and assistance portfolios. These areas also include increases to the Seniors Income Plan, Personal Care Home Benefit, and the Saskatchewan Employment Supplement.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2017-2018 Provincial Budget may be found at:
2016 Saskatchewan Budget Posts Deficit
June 1, 2016 - Legislative Assembly - Regina
Finance Minister Kevin Doherty delivered the first budget of Premier Brad Wall'[s government since having been re-elected just weeks ago.
While there are no income tax increases in this budget, there are targeted spending cuts with further reviews on the government's spending picture to be announced.
Expect not just a shift in where monies go, but in what falls into the role and definition of governance in Saskatchewan.
This budget provides considerable support for new and enhanced programming for Saskatchewan people experiencing disability, as well as funding to address increased program utilization.
- $210 million dedicated to the SAID or Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program for people experiencing significant and enduring disabilities;
- $3.4 million to address the emerging needs of people with intellectual disabilities, and support the transition of individuals from Valley View Centre as homes and programs become available.
- That represents a total of $494 million for income assistance programs - including SAID - that support more than 30,000 individuals and families. Funding for seniors programs has been maintained in this budget.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2016-2017 Provincial Budget may be found at:
Blame it on Oil: Economic Challenges Impact 2015 Spending Plans
March 18, 2015 - Legislative Assembly - Regina
To no one's surprise, the domino effect of sinking oil prices is making significant impacts on the budget of provincial governments this year, and Saskatchewan is no exception.
Finance Minister Ken Krawetz delivered his fifth and final budget as Finance Minister under the government of Premier Brad Wall. Despite the economic challenges, the 2015 budget contains no tax increases. Although the Finance Minister acknowledged that "there is no doubt this is a challenging budget", key programs for people with disabilities in Saskatchewan have not been cut.
Key to our interests is the funding envelope for social services and assistance, which received a 3.2% increase from last year's budget, bringing total spending in this area to $1.2 billion.
This Budget proposes $485.7 million for new or improved programming for people with disabilities, up $39.5 million from last year's budget, included in this is $200.4 million for the Saskatchewan Assured income for Disability program, an increase of $26.8 million from last year.
The Saskatchewan Assistance Program receives an increase of $6.7 million.
Child and Family Services funding is increased by $7.5 million.
Up $7.1 million from last year's budget is an allocation for community-based organizations to support residents transitioning out of Valley View Centre as well as to assist people with emerging and complex needs with expanded client services.
And the Seniors Income Plan monthly benefits receive a 1.8% increase, up by $10 a month each year for four years.
In addition $2 million in this budget will provide receive a 1.8% increase, up by $10 a month each year for four years.
In addition, $2 million in this budget will provide increased choice and flexibility in care options for home care clients, $1 million to improve quality and safety in long term care, and $700,000 to develop a new geriatric program in Regina.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2015-20146 Provincial Budget may be found at:
Disability, Child and Family Services receive more money in Saskatchewan 2014 Budget
March 29, 2014 – Legislative Assembly - Regina
The government of Premier Brad Wall made the commitment in the last election campaign to ensure that Saskatchewan becomes the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live, and today's budget delivered by Finance Minister Ken Krawetz does much to help meet that commitment.
The Ministry of Social Services receives a funding increase in this year's budget of $65.8 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Monthly benefits under the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program will increase starting this June by $50 per month for individuals.
Residential spaces and programs for people with intellectual disabilities increases by $20.4 million.
Community-based organizations that deliver programs to people with disabilities receive a $20.4 million increase.
The affordable housing portfolio, investing $9.2 million in the first of a five-year program, enhances funding for home adaptations, renovations and housing supplements.
And healthcare spending will be at a record-high of nearly $5 billion, which includes a new hospital in Moose Jaw, and continued construction of five new long-term care facilities. Seniors' care is boosted by approximately $7 million.
The 2014-2015 budget contains no new taxes. Saskatchewan's budget is also balanced, which is something of a rarity among provincial governments in Canada.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2014-2015 Provincial Budget may be found at:
Saskatchewan government delivers maintenance budget
March 20, 2013 – Regina
Canada's western-most provinces have been the first out of the gate this year with their 2013 budgets, all featured by the theme of modest and balanced spending. With few outstanding newsworthy items, Saskatchewan’s spending plan is no different.
"The overall budget is not going to stand out on its own," commented Premier Brad Wall of the 2014 Saskatchewan budget, delivered in the Legislative Assembly by Finance Minister Ken Krawetz. With the notable exception, that is, of the hefty increases to cigarette and alcohol taxes – some of the highest increases in recent years seen in Canada.
This year's budget makes no changes to personal income tax rates, exemptions or credits; the provincial sales tax rate remains the same; and the business sector will incur no increases on corporate tax rates either.
Saskatchewan moves into 2013-2014 with comparatively positive statistics: the provincial unemployment rate is expected to remain lower than the national average over the next fiscal year.
Health and social services received modest increases.
Agencies that provide critical services to vulnerable adults and children receive an increase of $17.4 million.
The Budget proposes a $3.3 million to increase level of care rates for residents of Approved Private Service Homes.
And the Seniors Income Plan sees a $3.2 million increase, including a $10/month increase to the benefit, effective July 2013, plus a benefit increase of a maximum of $25/month for clients living in special care homes. The Seniors Income Plan benefit is now $250 a month up $160 or 178 per cent since 2008 after being frozen at just $90 for 16 years.
The Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement was given $3.8 million more to keep pace with increases in the rental market.
An additional $383,000 will be spent for the Personal Care Home Benefit, increasing the monthly income threshold from $1,800 to $1,875.
The 2013 budget also contains further enhancements to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program.
Yet, perhaps more than the content of the 2013 Budget is the context and commentary from Government officials. Social Services Minister June Draude highlighted the Province's commitment to enhancing disability programs and services: "We want to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities... That is why we have committed to working with the disability community to develop a comprehensive disability strategy that will guide our work in the years to come." And herein is probably the greatest opportunity for March of Dimes to consult with the Government of Saskatchewan in the near future.
Most of Saskatchewan's newer programs and program spending was announced in previous budgets, notably the 2012 Budget. This year’s Budget maintains and, in some instances, enhances those programs.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2013-2014 Provincial Budget may be found at: http://www.finance.gov.sk.ca/budget2013-14.
Saskatchewan Budget Echoes 2011 Election Promises for Seniors and Disability Programs
March 21 – Regina
Premier’s Brad Wall’s governing Saskatchewan Party delivered its first budget since having been re-elected with an even greater electoral mandate from Saskatchewan voters, having moved, one might say, from "majority" to "super majority".
Finance Minister Ken Krawetz delivered the Province’s budget this afternoon, following a pre-budget message that all programs and services in this year’s budget are “on the table”.
This is Indeed the case. Saskatchewan seniors will see the cost of a single prescription will rise from $15 to $20 under the Seniors and Children's' Drug Plan. The change will cost an average of $125 annually for seniors and $20 per year for children under the plan. The increased drug charges are projected to save the Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan $10 million. The upside is that these charges have not been changed since 2007.
Fees under the Senior Citizen's Ambulance Assistance Plan will rise by $25 to $275 per trip. The changes are expected to save $675,000.
While every spending portfolio was subject to the fiscal microscope, a number of announcements either increased or introduced new measures to the already hefty health and social services sectors.
A few highlights from these areas:
- $3.5 million for the new Seniors Personal Care Home Benefit, to ultimately reach $369 per month by the fourth year of investment.
- $3.3 million increase to the Seniors Income Plan
- $113 million to provide expanded Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability – increasing the number of recipients who are eligible from 3,000 to 10,000.
- $6 million increase to the Saskatchewan Children and Youth Agenda, including the Community Mobilization initiatives.
- Increased funding to community-based organizations that provide services to people with disabilities (no specifics at this time).
Overall, government funding for disability programs has increased by $308 million. This is consistent with the election promises made by the Saskatchewan Party, with a significant block of platform expenditures targeted to seniors and people with disabilities.
Opposition MLAs have called on the government to move in a similar trajectory as recently announced in BC, Alberta and Quebec, shifting resources and recognizing the needs and value of at-home care and informal caregivers. Opposition MLAs correctly point out that this is the trend for care among the seniors and disability demographics.
There is some evidence of this trend in this year’s budget through the modest increase to allow seniors receiving increased supplements to retain licensed personal home care professionals—an increase, but by no means anywhere as encouraging as seen in the BC or Quebec budgets. Yet this measure must be seen in light of the existing disability, caregiver and medical expense tax credits already available in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan has seen its greatest growth in population in 50 years, now at 1,067,612 people. This year’s budget spends $10,486 per person in the Province.
Official budget documents for the Saskatchewan 2012-2013 Provincial Budget may be found at: www.finance.gov.sk.ca/budget2012-13.