For Immediate Release
Federal Priorities for Rural Saskatchewan
According to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the following issues are federal priorities for rural Saskatchewan. These policy solutions would provide some much needed assistance to the economy as well as a net benefit to all of Saskatchewan.
Agri-Stability is a risk management program that assists farm operations facing large margin declines caused by production loss, increased costs or market conditions. Originally this program provided relief at 85 per cent of a producer’s reference margin; however, in recent years it was amended to initiate at 70 per cent of a producer’s reference margin. Restoring this margin to 85 per cent will provide a needed benefit to Saskatchewan’s agriculture producers who continue to remain a core component of Saskatchewan’s economy.
Rural broadband access and cellular service are critical infrastructure components that provide rural businesses and families with connectivity in a connected world. It allows them to conduct their business transactions, obtain information and communicate. Reliable internet connection and cellular service has become the difference between a thriving competitive business and a struggling business trying stay afloat. SARM recommends that the Federal Government ensures unused wireless spectrum is allocated to Internet Service Providers who are willing to bring service to rural Saskatchewan and that any auctions for spectrum are fair for regional carriers.
SARM supports the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) position regarding rail safety. Therefore SARM recommends that more focus is placed on enforcing existing regulations, shortline railways be treated differently than Class 1 railways for insurance purposes and that municipalities have the authority to share information received by railways on dangerous goods with emergency service personnel.
Rail level of service is also in need of improvements. Ensuring that there is a high rail level of service provides many benefits to our economy. Saskatchewan is home to an abundance of natural resources that rely on rail transportation to carry goods to market. It is imperative that we continue to ship our products to market. For more information please visit SARM’s webpage (https://www.sarm.ca) to see the Canada Transportation Act Review submission.
Many municipalities offer fire services and road maintenance to First Nations. The municipalities negotiate directly with First Nations to establish Mutual Aide Agreements to provide emergency response services. SARM would like to see road maintenance agreements made mandatory to ensure that municipalities are adequately compensated for providing such services; ensuring economic and infrastructure sustainability.
Improving the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) and National Disaster Mitigation and Recovery programs will provide important assistance for municipalities facing the disastrous results of climate change. DFAA ensures the continued survival and livelihood of our communities and the mitigation programs provide municipalities with the resources they need to prepare for extreme climate and for their economies to recover from these events.
Asset management also plays an important role in municipalities preparing for climate change events but also for the efficient management of their assets. SARM recommends that the Federal Government engage the provinces, territories and local governments to develop a standardized asset management process, and assist in increasing local government capacity for asset management.
“I believe that the federal policy solutions offered by SARM provide some key areas for the Federal Government to consider when creating their budget. This will help drive Saskatchewan’s economy, support families and protect the environment during these hard economic times,” said SARM President Ray Orb.
Members can view more information online at https://sarm.ca/advocacy or for a complete list of the rural issues please contact Jay Meyer, Executive Director.
– 30 –
For more information please contact:
“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”