Report From The Legislature

May 2, 2012

Saskatchewan has a proud history when it comes to our role in the Commonwealth. From a capital city named after Queen Victoria to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit in 1939 to The Princess Royal visit in 2007, we have long enjoyed a special relationship with the Crown. Evidence of that special relationship will be seen again later this month, when Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, come to Saskatchewan. The royal couple will be visiting Regina on May 22nd and 23rd to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee with the people of Saskatchewan. On May 23rd, they will visit the Legislative Building to celebrate its 100th anniversary, then tour the First Nations University of Canada, and finish the day by attending a performance by the Regina Symphony Orchestra. To keep up with the latest royal updates you can download the Crown in Canada iPhone application at www.CanadianCrown.gc.ca. If you have a Blackberry or Android smartphone, you can access that content at m.canadiancrown.gc.ca. You can also follow the latest updates on the 2012 Royal Tour Facebook page “The Crown in Canada” and on Twitter @TheCrownCa.

There was more good economic news this week about the Saskatchewan Advantage. Statistics Canada reported our economic growth in 2011 was at its fastest in almost 15 years, at 4.8 per cent. That’s the best performance since StatsCan began recording this statistic in 1997; and currently second highest in the nation. The Saskatchewan economy is strong and growing and our government will continue to take action to ensure it stays that way.

With growth come challenges such as finding affordable housing.

Our government is working on many fronts to increase rental housing in Saskatchewan. The new Corporate Income Tax Rebate will deal with one of the concerns regarding the current corporate income tax structure, which has been identified as a barrier to the development of new rental housing in our province. The rebate will help add 10,000 new rental units to the province by the end of 2016 at a cost of $34 million for the first five years. Corporations eligible for this rebate will receive the two per cent small business tax rate instead of the 12 per cent general Corporate Income Tax rate. This is a real step forward to providing quality rental housing across the province. Applications for registering eligible new residential rental housing are available by visiting the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation website at http://www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/housing, calling toll-free 1-800-667-7567 or contacting the SHC office in Regina at 306-787-4177.

The Corporate Income Tax Rebate is only one of the tools our government is using to address the issue of affordable housing. The Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, June Draude, recently travelled to Newfoundland to participate in the Canadian Housing Renewal Association's 44th Annual Congress on Housing and Homelessness. This event brings together decision makers and policy experts from across Canada to discuss and find solutions for common housing issues. It is through meaningful discussion with those on the front lines and with stakeholder that we find innovative solution that makes housing accessible to everyone. While our government has made significant progress ensuring everyone benefits from the Saskatchewan Advantage, there is still more work to do.