Tag Archives: Government of Saskatchewan

Free ice fishing weekend!

February 14 to 16 marks another free fishing weekend in Saskatchewan – the first in winter – to promote the province’s many ice fishing opportunities.  This means everyone, including visitors from outside the province, can fish in Saskatchewan on Family Day weekend without having to purchase a licence.

Environment Minister Scott Moe said.  “The Family Day weekend is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to learn about and enjoy the sport of ice fishing, and to recognize the province’s diverse angling opportunities.”

Caution and common sense are key to safe and enjoyable ice fishing.  Test the ice thickness before you travel on it.  A minimum of 10 cm of good ice is required for walking and 30 cm for light vehicle travel.

Anglers are reminded that all other fishing regulations, including possession limits and reduced limits on some lakes and rivers, remain in effect.

More information about fishing in Saskatchewan can be found in the 2014 Anglers’ Guide, available wherever fishing licences are sold, or online at saskatchewan.ca/fishing

Nominations open for Premier’s Service Club Award

Nominations are open until Tuesday, February 17 for the second year of the Premier’s Service Club Award.

“Service clubs and fraternal organizations make our communities better places, which improves the quality of life for all Saskatchewan residents,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “I encourage all citizens to nominate one of these dedicated organizations which are so deserving of our gratitude for the work they do.”

This award was launched in 2013 to recognize service clubs and fraternal organizations which are ineligible to receive group recognition under other current provincial honours and awards programs.  Up to four awards will be given annually.

For a nomination form and a list of eligible organizations:

The inaugural recipients of this award were the Balgonie Elks No. 572; the Kipling and District Lions Club; the Meadow Lake Kinsmen and Kinettes; and the Young Fellows’ Club of Weyburn.

Organ and tissue donation campaign offers hope

Heart transplant recipient Cheryl Olson calls her organ donor her heart hero.

“She saved my life, so she’s my hero,” Olson said about the woman who made possible her heart transplant in 2008.  “Without organ donation – without someone having said yes – I wouldn’t be here today. My family would not be complete.  My donor not only saved my life, she saved my family.”

A wife and mother of two who loves to volunteer and travel, Olson is one of six people affected by organ and tissue donation who are taking part in a provincial campaign to raise awareness about the impact organ and tissue donations can have.

The Offer Hope campaign was launched at Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s Hospital to help individuals, families and their communities learn about the importance of talking to their loved ones about organ and tissue donation.  Families who have talked about their decision to donate are more likely to honour the wishes of their loved ones should organ and tissue donation be possible after death.

“This campaign is a reminder of the lifesaving and life-enhancing benefits of organ and tissue donation,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and one tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 75 people.  Everyone is a potential donor, and supporting donation is something we should all consider.”

Currently, there are about 90 Saskatchewan people waiting for a kidney transplant and a similar number waiting for corneas.  Many others need life-saving heart, lung or liver transplants.  Deciding to donate could save or improve someone’s life.

During the campaign, the inspiring stories of six donors and recipients will be told through videos and posters.  The first story, released December 2014, featured Acacia Tisher, a young woman whose donation of six organs after her death saved five lives.  Cheryl Olson’s story as a heart transplant recipient was released today.  A new story will be told each month until May.  See all the stories at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/transplant.

In addition to videos and posters, an online Offer Hope Toolkit is available to help families and communities start talking about organ and tissue donation.  Each toolkit includes a Thank You letter, How to Talk to Your Family brochure, Organ and Tissue Donation Myths and Facts, How to Get Involved fact sheet, posters, and organ and tissue donor stickers.

“Many people would not hesitate to accept a donated kidney or heart if it was needed to save their lives,” Provincial Saskatchewan Transplant Program Director Diane Shendruk said.  “It’s harder to make the decision to donate because often it comes as a result of a loved one’s death.  But it’s important for us to remember that organ and tissue donation isn’t just about death.  It’s about life, and the potential we have as human beings to offer hope even after our own life has ended.”

In addition to supporting the Offer Hope campaign, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced a bill in the legislature in November to update organ and tissue donation legislation and allow more timely regulatory changes.  That legislation is expected to be passed this spring.  Managed by Saskatoon Health Region, the Saskatchewan Transplant Program provides service in Saskatoon and Regina.

The Offer Hope campaign is supported by the Government of Saskatchewan, Lions Eye Bank of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Transplant Program, Saskatoon Health Region and Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region.  You can get more information at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/transplant.

Beware of travel discount scams!

The Saskatchewan government warned residents this week about scammers selling discount travel packages. The government press release is reprinted below:

The recent cold snap has people dreaming of sun and sand but the Consumer Protection Division of the Saskatchewan Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority reminds consumers to be aware of scam artists claiming to sell discount travel packages.

Callers claiming to represent Luxury Getaway Group have been offering travel packages to people in Saskatchewan. Luxury Getaway Group is not licensed as a direct seller.

Unsolicited sales calls are considered direct sales under The Direct Sellers Act.  If a salesperson or company calls you to sell something, they are required to have a licence.

Red flags include:

  • Unsolicited phone calls or mailers that offer travel packages that sound too good to be true.
  • High pressure sales – If a caller pressures you to “buy now or lose out on a limited time offer”, you should be wary.

Protect yourself by:

  • Asking for the licence number and confirming it is valid on www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/fcaa411/.
  • Not giving out your credit card number over the phone unless you initiate the call and know who you are calling.
  • Checking with the Better Business Bureau and researching the company for free online at www.bbb.org/saskatchewan/.

If you think you are the target of a travel package scam, record the date and time of the call, the name of the telemarketer, their phone number, website or additional identification information and contact the Consumer Protection Division at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca or toll free at 1-877-880-5550.

Like the toucan below, captured in a shot on a trip south, keep your eyes open!

travel photo


First provincial service club awards handed out

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Second Year

The first four recipients of the new Premier’s Service Club Award were announced December 9 and represent volunteer community organizations from Balgonie, Kipling, Meadow Lake and Weyburn.

New nominations are now being accepted for the award.  Voluntary, non-profit service clubs or fraternal organizations that meet to perform charitable work either by hands-on effort or by raising money for other organizations are eligible.  The nomination deadline for the second year of this award is Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

For a nomination form and a list of eligible organizations, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/premierserviceclubaward, contact the Protocol Office via email at honours@gov.sk.ca or call toll free at 1-877-427-5505.

Launched in late 2013, this new award was created to recognize the dedicated service clubs and fraternal organizations that help improve Saskatchewan’s quality of life by contributing to the province’s communities.  These groups are ineligible to receive group recognition under the other current provincial honours and awards programs.

“Saskatchewan is truly blessed to have such wonderful and dedicated local service clubs which help when people need it the most and make our communities better places,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “I look forward to seeing many more of these organizations recognized for their charitable work in the years to come.”

The award’s inaugural recipients, who will be presented certificates signed by the Premier, are:

  • Balgonie Elks No. 572;
  • Kipling and District Lions Club;
  • Meadow Lake Kinsmen and Kinettes; and
  • Young Fellows’ Club of Weyburn.


Pharmacists to be allowed to do more under proposed legislative amendments

Health Minister Dustin Duncan introduced legislative amendments, October 30, that will expand the scope of practice for Saskatchewan pharmacists, benefiting residents through more efficient and accessible health care services.

“All health care providers, including pharmacists, play an increasingly important role by working to their full scopes of practice on a collaborative team,” Duncan said.  “In the spirit of putting the patient first, I believe that expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice will give patients even greater and more timely access to health services.”

Expected to take effect later next year, the amendments will allow pharmacists to administer vaccines and drugs, such as flu shots and vitamin B12 injections.  In addition, the amendments will enable pharmacists to order, access and use laboratory tests, working in collaboration with physicians.

As pharmacists move into a more clinically focused role, some pharmacy technicians will undertake additional training to become regulated under the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists and assume a number of the pharmacist’s technical duties, such as dispensing.  Amendments to the Act will allow for the regulation of pharmacy technicians to ensure they are able to independently perform many of these duties within pharmacies in a safe and effective manner.

Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists Registrar Ray Joubert said the College will work “to ensure appropriate standards and training are in place so that these services are delivered safely and properly co-ordinated within the health system.  This will include ensuring that pharmacy technicians are appropriately qualified to assume responsibility for their important supportive role of the pharmacist.”

Pharmacists’ Association of Saskatchewan Executive Director Dawn Martin said.  “Pharmacists being able to order and access lab results will help ensure patients are getting the health outcomes expected with their drug therapies.  This is another example of how pharmacists can provide innovative patient services within the health care system and to the benefit of Saskatchewan people.”

These amendments build on other changes to pharmacists’ scope of practice.  In 2011, Saskatchewan pharmacists were given the authority to prescribe medications to patients for specific minor ailments, extend refills on existing prescriptions, and provide emergency supplies of prescribed medications, while working in a collaborative practice environment.

There are approximately 1,400 pharmacists practising in Saskatchewan.

Funding available for community rinks

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that the Community Rink Affordability Grant will be offered in 2014.  This is the third consecutive year for the popular program.

The Community Rink Affordability Grant provides funding to Saskatchewan’s municipal indoor skating and curling rinks.  Communities, schools, non-profits and First Nations are eligible to apply to the program.  Successful applicants will receive a grant of $2,500 per indoor ice surface.  The grant may be used to help offset the cost of rink operations and minor capital upgrades.

“Skating and curling facilities have always played an important role within Saskatchewan communities,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Mark Docherty said.  “They serve as meeting places where we can socialize, meet new people and engage in physical activity.  By supporting the operation and maintenance of our local rinks, this grant will contribute to the enviable quality of life enjoyed by citizens across the province.”

The Government of Saskatchewan is committing $1.7 million to the grant program for 2014.  More than $3.2 million has been invested into the program in the last two years.  The program has benefited more than 380 communities across the province.

The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association will administer and deliver the program.

“Ice rinks bring communities together by providing individuals of all ages with the opportunity to participate in fun recreation activities,” Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association President Mike Powell said.  “Our organization is pleased to once again partner with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport in the administration of the Community Rink Affordability Grant.  This grant ensures that rinks continue to be well-maintained and well-operated so that Saskatchewan communities can enjoy cold weather activities in safe and quality environments.”

To register for the Community Rink Affordability Grant program, please complete the online form found on the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association’s website at www.spra.sk.ca/crag

Tentative agreement received with Saskatchewan teachers

The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) have reached a tentative provincial collective bargaining agreement, according to a press release issued by the Government of Saskatchewan May 15.

The offer includes a total compensation increase of 7.3 per cent over four years as well as a $700 pro-rated payment in the first year.  There will be funding for teachers in years three and four of the agreement in recognition of associated fees upon the establishment of a new teacher regulatory and disciplinary body in Saskatchewan.

“The Saskatchewan School Boards Association and government representatives have worked hard on this agreement with the STF,” Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee spokesperson Connie Bailey said.  “We are hopeful that this agreement will be ratified by the parties involved.”

The agreement deals with articles that are required by legislation to be bargained provincially by the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.  A commitment has also been made to address other important matters that fall outside of the agreement and bargaining process, including issues such as student and teacher time and developing a common understanding of the expectations put upon teachers.

Grain bag recycling program extended

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced funding of $100,000 to extend the Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project into 2014.  The announcement was made April 16.

The program includes recycling for both grain bags and twine.

“The high level of farmer participation in this project demonstrates the importance of responsibly disposing grain bags,” said Ritz.  “Our government is proud to continue to partner with the Government of Saskatchewan to support this program for producers.”

“We are pleased to extend the Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project until a permanent program is implemented,” Stewart said.  “With increasing use of grain bags to store the record crop from last year’s harvest, we want farmers to continue to have an option to responsibly dispose of their bags.”

The Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project was first implemented in March 2011.  Since inception, approximately 325,800 kg of plastic (2,172 bags) and 6,600 kg of twine has been recycled.

Recycling grain storage bagsThe Ministry of Environment is currently working on the creation of regulations that will form the basis for an industry-led, permanent recycling program for 2015.  The Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project is administered by Simply Agriculture Solutions Inc. (formerly the Provincial Council of Agriculture Development and Diversification Boards) and funded through the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 framework.

“Simply Agriculture Solutions looks forward to continuing to provide an environmentally responsible solution for the disposal of the grain bags and twine and working with producers across the province as we incorporate additional plastics (silage plastic and net wrap) into the pilot program,” Agricultural Plastic Recycling Co-ordinator Travis Quirk said.

Farmers and ranchers can access collection sites across the province in a number of locations, including Unity, SK.

For more information, producers can contact Simply Agriculture Solutions Inc. toll-free at 1-866-298-7222.

Most popular baby names in Saskatchewan in 2013

For the fourth year in a row, Liam was the most popular name for baby boys born in Saskatchewan.  Emma has been the most popular girls’ name for the last five years.

The second most popular names were Carter and Sophia, which moved up several spots from 2012.

There were 92 baby boys named Liam in 2013, followed by Carter, Noah, Lucas and Ethan.  Ethan held the honour as most popular boy’s name for eight years, from 2001 to 2009.

There were 80 baby girls named Emma, followed by Sophia, Emily, Olivia and Lily.  Olivia and Emily remained among the top five popular names from 2012.  Lily moved up from the sixth spot.

To date there are 15,222 live births registered in Saskatchewan in 2013, which is an increase from 15,046 in 2012.  These numbers do not include Saskatchewan mothers who gave birth outside of the province.

Top 20 Baby Boy Names (by count): Liam (92), Carter (69), Noah (65), Lucas (65), Ethan (60), Jacob (55), Mason (54), William (52), Owen (52), Jace (50), Alexander (49), Jaxon (49), Bentley (47), Benjamin (45), Jase (45), Logan (44), Hudson (43), Ryder (42), Hunter (42), Samuel (40).

Top 20 Baby Girl Names (by count): Emma (80), Sophia (72), Emily (64), Olivia (64), Lily (53), Ava (52), Brooklyn (45), Zoey (43), Brielle (40), Avery (38), Grace (38), Hannah (38), Mia (37), Hailey (37), Isabella (37), Aubrey (33), Ella (33), Abigail (33), Sadie (32), Chloe (30).

For more information on the most popular baby names and to see the list of popular names from previous years, visit the eHealth Saskatchewan website at www.ehealthsask.ca/vitalstats/births/BabyNames/Pages/default.aspx.