2 Monday, April 9, 2018 • Last Mountain Times LMVBA meets Members of the Last Mountain Valley Business Association (LMVBA) met for their regular first-Wednesday-of-the-month meeting last week, with association president Kirby Kazeil chairing the meeting. Treasurer Ross McKee reported on the group’s current financial status, and then the discussion moved to ‘work in progress’ items, including ongoing desires to launch a ‘shop local’ promotion; the upcoming summer Show ‘n Shine car show annual event; and 2018 Grade 12 grad scholarships. The idea of a ‘shop local’ promotion to remind consumers to support their local community’s businesses generated quite a bit of discussion, and idea ‘blue-skying’ - including a highway signage idea, decals on local store doors or windows, and perhaps a kick-off educational / information event with a keynote speaker. Several possible keynote speakers have been identified, and the group agreed to explore the possibilities of corporation sponsorships to offset some of the significant costs associated with bringing in a professional speaker. It was also agree that the various towns and villages in the Last Mountain area should be approached about the possibility of a coordinated highway signage program. Further ideas will be explored at future meetings. Planning for the annual summer Show ‘n Shine event is already underway. Carol Schultz reported that Beth Krugal will again help promote the event by distributing flyers at other cars shows in the spring and summer, and will also help out at the event itself. More volunteers are always welcome, and people can contact Carol to explore those opportunities. It was agreed that several changes may be required, now that the annual event is attracting 100 + entries. Ideas discussed include: a more efficient registration process; a small entry fee to offset some of the costs associated with hosting the event; and perhaps a ‘swap meet’ area for automotive items. The event has already been advertised in a magazine circulated amongst vintage and showcar enthusiast. The group agreed to again provide two $500 scholarships to William Derby School’s 2018 Grade 12 grads. Information will be forwarded to the school in order to encourage grads (who are moving on to higher education) to apply. The scholarships will be presented at the WDS May 25th grad ceremonies. The LMVBA will meet again on Wednesday evening, May 2nd. -editor Minutes of Annual Meeting Last Mountain Pioneer Home Foundation (LMPH Foundation) -March 20, 2018 Prior to 1995 the Last Mountain Pioneer Home (LMP Home) was sponsored by the local municipalities the home served. In 1995 an amalgamation of Health Districts occurred, and the sponsorship of the home became part of the Province of Saskatchewan under the newly formed health district. Sponsoring municipalities had raised funds for the building of a new care home, however, the project was cancelled, and the Last Mountain Pioneer Home Foundation was born to oversee the use of the funds collected. The Foundation is a registered charity and issues tax receipts for donations received. For the 2018 operating year the following municipalities, towns or villages representatives are as follows: R.M. of Last Mountain Valley #250 – Ken Hagen & Don Dabrowski; R.M. of Longlaketon #219 – Warren Larsen; R.M. of McKillop – Marilyn Labatte; R.M. of Mount Hope #279 – Bob Digney; Village of Bulyea – Terry Myers; Village of Earl Grey – Cameron Fischer; Town of Govan – Del Skoropata; Town of Strasbourg – Kelvin Schapansky and Kevin Flavel; Members at large: Lucy Norleen, Maxine Flotre, Carol Schultz and Heather Hill. The following motions were made and carried: • Appointment of Review Engagement of Financials for 2018 - Strasbourg Agencies. • Appointment of Lawyer for 2018 - Ryan O’Malley of McKercher LLP. • Financial report and minutes to be placed in the Last Mountain Times. • Motion was made to give the Activity Center $4,000.00 with the request that a letter summarizing items purchased be provided to the Foundation. The Foundation will be working with the Last Mountain Pioneer Home Management on capital projects in the upcoming year. Carol Schultz advised the Last Mountain Pioneer Home Ladies Auxiliary is looking for members to join. If you are interested, please contact Linda Doetzel for more information about this worthwhile volunteer opportunity. Election of officers: Carol Schultz – Chairperson; Terry Myers – Vice Chairperson; Heather Hill - Secretary/Treasurer. -submitted by LMPH Foundation Ag sector: continued growth expected OTTAWA - Last week, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada released the 2018 Canadian Agricultural Outlook with analysis on the economic state of the agriculture and food sector. The Outlook report provides a forecast of farm income for 2017 and 2018, and looks ahead to longer-term trends that could impact the agriculture sector. According to the report, Canada’s producers are forecast to see record farm income levels in 2017 and near-record levels in 2018. Crop and livestock receipts are both set to increase in 2017 and 2018. Net cash income is forecast to reach a record level in 2017 and remain high in 2018. At the same time, continued growth in asset values is expected to raise average farm net worth to $3.16 million by 2018. Crop receipts are expected to grow by one per cent in 2017 to $34.5 billion and increase by a further two per cent in 2018 to $35 billion, which would be a record level for total crops. Livestock receipts are forecast to increase by four per cent to $24.8 billion in 2017, and then increase once again to $24.9 billion in 2018. “Strong international demand for Canada’s safe, high-quality agricultural products has helped make the sector a key driver of the economy. The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure farmers and the agriculture and food system as a whole, are prepared to meet global needs, helping to strengthen the middle class and keep Canada on the path to prosperity,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
NEWS IN BRIEF Strong Job Growth in March Quoting their interpretation of recently released Stats Canada figures, the Sask Party government announced last week that there were 4,200 new jobs created in Saskatchewan in March when compared to February (seasonally adjusted), a 0.7 per cent increase. There were 562,700 people employed in March, 1,500 more than in March 2017. Female employment hit a record high for the month of March at 264,400. The unemployment rate in March for the province was 5.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted), down from 6.1 per cent a year ago. Saskatchewan had the fourth lowest unemployment rate among provinces in March. Nationally, the unemployment rate was also 5.8 per cent. Other March highlights include: major yearover-year gains were reported for transportation and warehousing up 3,600; health care and social assistance up 2,500; forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas up 2,400. Youth unemployment rate was the third lowest among provinces at 11 per cent (seasonally adjusted). The NDP Opposition had a different interpretation of the same Stats Canada figures: “Outside of Newfoundland & Labrador, Saskatchewan had the slowest rate of job growth in the country. Saskatchewan’s 0.3 per cent increase in jobs compared to last year was nowhere near the 32,000 additional jobs in British Columbia or 46,600 in Alberta.” “The Sask. Party’s PST hike continues to hurt the Food Services industry, as 1,100 jobs were lost compared to last year. A lack of investment and failure to diversify the economy has resulted in 6,500 jobs being lost in professional, scientific and technical services year over year. Meanwhile, 1,200 jobs in agriculture were lost compared to the same time last year and 1,800 jobs were lost in trade. The First Nations employment rate continues to hover around 20 per cent.” WCB releases 2017 operating results REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2017 Annual Report was tabled in the provincial legislature late last month. Key points from the 2017 Annual Report include: the WCB’s Injury Fund is at $555.0 million as of Monday, April 9, 2018 • Last Mountain Times year-end 2017 compared to $446.2 million in 2016. The WCB remains fully funded at 117.8 per cent; claims costs decreased from $286.2 million in 2016 to $230.2 million in 2017; benefits liabilities increased 1.4 per cent in 2017 to $1,228.4 million due to changing the method of calculating future claims liabilities for non-pension benefits; the average duration of time loss claims decreased by 6.8 per cent in 2017 to 40.16 days. The WCB accepted 7,888 time loss claims in 2017, up slightly from 7,813 claims accepted in 2016; the WCB covered a record 423,527 workers in 2017 compared to 420,279 workers in 2016. Social Work Students speak out Dozens of Social Work students at the University of Regina are appealing to the Provincial Government to halt cuts to post-secondary education and restore funding to their program. The group is speaking out after learning that a number of spring and summer courses that they count on for their degrees will be reduced in 2018. Their concerns were outlined in a letter sent to the Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister of Advanced Education and Premier Scott Moe last week by the President of the Saskatoon Chapter of the Social Work Student Society (SWSS), Heather Crooks. After bringing their concerns to Faculty of Social Work administrators, Crooks learned that programming was being reduced due to a lack of resources at the University of Regina directly linked to the 3% cut in funding to post-secondary education in last year’s Provincial Budget. “The budget cuts put increased pressure on a program that was already bursting at the seams. Our program is relying heavily on sessional instructors to deliver our courses,” Crooks noted. “In fact, we have learned that the Faculty of Social Work is at risk of losing its accreditation with the Canadian Association of Social Work Education if majority of classes continue to be taught by sessionals. The situation is “unsustainable and unacceptable.” SWSS is awaiting a response from the Provincial Government. They will be watching intently as the details of the Provincial Budget are released this week. 3