HR issues in Saskatchewan's throne speech

Government promises to ban cellphones while driving and boost immigration

Saskatchewan is looking to ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, according to the latest speech from the throne.

The speech, delivered by Saskatchewan Lt.-Gov. Gordon Barnhart, also promised the province will look at implementing legislation to prevent members of a profession from escaping disciplinary proceedings by resigning.

The throne speech launches the fall session of the legislature and sets the government's agenda going forward, which includes boosting immigration.

In the past year, Saskatchewan has welcomed nearly 8,000 immigrants. For the coming year, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program has set the goal of attracting 3,400 nominations, a 100-per-cent increase over the goal set two years ago, according to the speech. The goal will be met by reducing processing times, according to the speech.


Improving early childhood education is another priority for Premire Gordon Wall's government.

As part of a government-wide initiative, community-based organizations now have three per cent more funding to recruit and retain early childhood educators, according to the speech. An additional $1.2 million has been added to enhance their training.

The government is also providing more funding to the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, the Gabriel Dumont Institute and other educational institutions to ensure First Nations and Métis young people have the skills they need to enter Saskatchewan’s growing workforce.

Doctor shortage

Saskatchewan's economy has been booming for the past couple of years and during the recession the province has had the lowest unemployment in the country. This has helped draw 16,000 people to the province, but the speech pointed out Saskatchewan is still experiencing a shortage of physicians.

Saskatchewan has fewer family physicians than the national average, fewer specialists and retains fewer of its medical graduates.

As part of Saskatchewan' physician recruitment strategy, the province is partnering with regional health authorities, the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine and the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The main focus of the strategy is to retain Saskatchewan's medical graduates and residents.

The province will also recruit the remaining 30 per cent (240) of the 800 additional nurses set as a goal two years ago.

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