COLUMN: Victoria Jurgens — May 27, 2014

Victoria Jurgens
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The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) program was officially launched this month, meaning families can now apply to save for their children’s educational future.

To support our government’s Growth Plan, we want to ensure more students have the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education. SAGES helps to achieve this by encouraging families to plan for their children’s future and promote the importance of completing post-secondary education.

SAGES enables the Government of Saskatchewan to provide a grant of 10 per cent on contributions made since January 1, 2013, into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to a maximum of $250 per child per year.

To be eligible for SAGES, the following requirements must be met:

• the child is a resident of Saskatchewan when the RESP contribution is made; 

• is named as a beneficiary of an eligible RESP; and 

• the contribution is made on or before Dec. 31 of the year the child turns 17.

SAGES is modelled after the Canada Education Savings Grant, which is delivered on a national level by the Government of Canada.  The Government of Canada administers SAGES on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan.

People with new and existing RESPs can apply for SAGES through participating financial institutions or investment companies.  Contributions made to eligible RESPs will receive the SAGES grant retroactively to Jan. 1, 2013.

For questions or more information about SAGES, please contact the Government of Canada toll-free at 1-888-276-3624 or by email cesp-pcee@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca.

Your Saskatchewan Party government recognizes the value of adult education, and what it means to our growing economy.  As part of Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond, we expect to add 60,000 more people to our workforce by 2020.  We have provided a record investment of $5.5 billion in post-secondary education so that adult learners and others can receive the training needed to participate in our dynamic labour market.

In 2014-15, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing $25 million in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and foundational skills programs in Saskatchewan.  This will increase the number of ABE training seats to 8,580.  The 2014-15 budget also provides $31 million, through the Provincial Training Allowance, for living allowances and child care for adult learners in ABE and short-term skills training programs.

Our government also encourages high school graduates to move on to post-secondary through the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship (SAS).  This scholarship reduces tuition up to $500 per year to a lifetime maximum of $2,000 for new Saskatchewan Grade 12 graduates who enroll at a Saskatchewan post-secondary institution.  Since the program began in 2012, nearly 13,000 students have received the SAS, totalling more than $6.4 million in support.

Post-secondary educational institutions apply on the student’s behalf, and eligible students will have their tuition reduced by the scholarship amount.  Students have up to 10 years from graduation to access the scholarship. Further information on the scholarship is posted on the Ministry of Advanced Education's website at www.aeei.gov.sk.ca/scholarship-sas.

While the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship is reducing tuition fees for students, those same students could also get all of their tuition back, up to $20,000, if they stay and work in Saskatchewan after they finish their post-secondary education.

The Graduate Retention Program encourages our graduates to live, work and build a life in Saskatchewan. To be eligible, you have to live in the province and file a Saskatchewan income tax return.  More information may be found here:  http://ae.gov.sk.ca/grp-questions-and-answers

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Traffic Safety Legislation

Our government has also taken the safety of graduates, and all Saskatchewan people, to be of utmost importance.  In recent years we have seen many families affected by needless fatalities and injuries on our roads and highways.

Recommendations made by the Special Committee on Traffic Safety have led to new traffic safety legislation. We want to encourage all Saskatchewan drivers to think differently about their driving behaviour, to make the roads safer for everyone.  

The laws around impaired driving are a lot tougher. New drivers caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face a 60 day licence suspension and will have their vehicle seized for three days.  That is just for a first offence – penalties increase based on the number of offences.  Experienced drivers will also face longer license suspensions and vehicle seizures.

Other traffic laws being introduced in the province, effective June 27, include:

• Convicted impaired drivers will face mandatory user-pay installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a minimum nine months on a first offence and up to five years for subsequent offences.

• Drug-impaired drivers will face the same consequences as drinking drivers.

• Drivers caught using their cellphone while driving for the second time within one year will have their vehicle seized for up to seven days.

• Drivers will face harsher penalties when they’re travelling at 35 km/h or more over the speed limit (compared to the current 50 km/h).

• Booster seats will be mandatory for children under seven years of age, less than 145 cm (4’9”) in height and under 36 kg (80 lbs) in weight.

• Photo radar will be piloted at three high-risk locations (Circle Drive in Saskatoon, Highway 1 and 9th Avenue N.W. intersection in Moose Jaw, and Ring Road in Regina) and in school zones.

For more information about these traffic safety changes, visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca.

 

Victoria Jurgens is the MLA for Prince Albert Northcote. Constituents are always welcome to contact her office by calling 306-922-4220.  You may also visit her website at http://mlajurgens.ca or email mlajurgens@sasktel.net.  Her office is located at 5A 598 15th St. E. across from Superstore.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings, Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship, Canada Education Savings Grant Saskatchewan Party Saskatchewan Grade 12 Ministry of Advanced Education Special Committee on Traffic Safety

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada, Saskatoon Moose Jaw Ring Road Regina

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