Report from the Legislature
August 24, 2017

Saskatchewan’s new Protection & Response Team (PRT) will help address crime, including in rural communities, with 258 armed resources to help across the province.

The new PRT is being created in response to recommendations by the Caucus Committee on Crime and will consist of armed officers who will have arrest and detention powers.

The PRT will be comprised of:

  • 120 police officers from RCMP and municipal police services;
  • 40 Ministry of Highways Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers with expanded powers; and
  • 98 Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers.

All PRT members will receive a comprehensive training curriculum which will be provided to all officers regardless of their designations.  PRT expands on the successes of blended policing models to:

  • Improve police response to emergency calls for service, including property crimes in progress;
  • Enhance uniform visibility and presence in rural Saskatchewan;
  • Increase the enforcement of drug trafficking on Saskatchewan’s roadways; and
  • Enhance the safety of Saskatchewan roads by reducing the number of serious collisions and fatalities.

The Committee’s recommendations also include ensuring RCMP resources and personnel are used effectively in rural areas; reviewing legislation to allow municipalities to jointly administer alternative policing programs; and providing more funding for on-reserve programming and services.

While the Committee heard several issues on crime in rural and urban areas, the absence of police visibility in rural areas was a main concern. The Ministry of Justice will be working with other ministries and agencies to ensure the PRT is fully staffed before the end of this fiscal year.

Another beautiful Saskatchewan summer is nearing an end and I want to thank all residents and the many out-of-province visitors who continue to support our great parks. I am happy to say that after recording nearly 4 million visits in 2016, we are on track to meet that again this year.

Saskatchewan parks have seen a 32% increase in visitation over the past decade. In that time, we have invested record funds into our world-renown provincial parks to make them even better. We have electrified 1,880 sites, upgraded service to 1,640 sites, and added 341 new serviced campsites while moving ahead with important upgrades to washrooms, playgrounds, boat launches, and sewer & water systems to improve the experience for all guests at our SaskParks.

Just recently, our government expanded the extremely popular beach wheelchair program. Free for park visitors, beach wheelchairs can be made available to help children and adults navigate over sand with relative ease and can be taken into one foot of water. There are now ten chairs across the province, doubling the number of beach wheelchairs available to visitors with mobility challenges. If you are interested in reserving a wheelchair, give the park a call about a week before your visit.

Projects like the beach wheelchair program help to ensure that we can all enjoy the amenities available in Saskatchewan’s provincial parks. They also support the government’s commitment to growing the high quality of life enjoyed within our province.

Saskatchewan is a province blessed with an abundance of beauty and natural resources, but our richest resource is our people.   If you would like to recognize someone for their outstanding contributions, I encourage you to visit saskatchewan.ca/honoursawards.

Nominations are now being accepted for potential recipients of the province’s highest honour – the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. The Saskatchewan Order of Merit provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate citizens who significantly impact the social, cultural and economic well-being of the province.

Individuals can also put forward names for the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal which recognizes those whose personal volunteerism helps others, and makes daily life in Saskatchewan better for everyone.

These provincial honours are designed to acknowledge citizens for their hard work, generosity and continued dedication to the people of Saskatchewan. If you know someone who should be recognized, be sure to nominate them.