What to Expect
While the CP rail strike will cause economic repercussions across the country, Saskatchewan will be particularly hard hit because of the prominence of agriculture in the province’s economy. There will be much relief now that workers are back with both sides agreeing to binding arbitration. In addition, Wednesday is budget day, and the government is already starting to tease some announcements, such as an extra $1.8 million for the province’s school divisions. Look for increasing revenues leading to more spending in some key areas like health care to deal with staffing and surgical wait times, infrastructure, and education. Also look for the governing Saskatchewan Party to press the Opposition NDP on their federal counterpart’s plan to prop up the minority Liberal government until 2025.
It’s voting day in Manitoba and the Fort Whyte byelection is getting interesting. Although history suggests the PCs will hold the seat, the question is by how much, and what that means for politics heading into the next election. Unofficial results are expected tonight. The Official Opposition is also strengthening its demand for a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the media echoing those calls.
The Week That Was
On March 15th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced $4 million in funding for the Economic Recovery Work Experience Initiative. This one-time pandemic recovery initiative provides funding for paid work experiences so that job seekers can connect with employers and gain practical skills in priority sectors such as hospitality, agriculture, retail services, health, and childcare.
On March 16th, Premier Scott Moe announced that more than $262 million of provincial funding will be invested for the overall Municipal Revenue Sharing (MRS) Program in 2022-23 to benefit Saskatchewan municipalities and support their priorities.
The Ministry of Energy and Resources (ER) will support the SRC with a grant of $140,000 to complete a Helium Liquefaction Hub Study, providing important analysis so the province can develop a commercial scale, value added, export-oriented helium sector in Saskatchewan.
On March 15th, Manitoba lifted its remaining public health orders and restrictions. Although public health orders requiring mask wearing in public spaces have ended, Manitoba Health reminds Manitobans that it is still required for all individuals attending a health-care facility, including visitors.
Additionally on March 15:
public health orders restricting travel to northern Manitoba will end;
individual case investigations related to COVID-19 will no longer occur and Manitoba will no longer generate key codes for the federal COVID Alert app; and
public health will no longer require people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate.
The Manitoba government has introduced amendments to the Police Services Act that would enhance police work, sharing of police intelligence, establish provincial policing standards and a standard code of conduct for all police services across Manitoba.
The province is changing the Winnipeg Charter Amendment Act to allow the city to hire third-party fire inspectors, extend timelines on planning applications, and update appeals on subdivisions, aggregate quarries and large-scale livestock operations to the Municipal Board from 14 days to 30 days.