Report from the Legislature – March 01, 2018

This week our government moved to reinstate the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) exemption for agriculture, life and health insurance premiums.

We made the commitment after listening to Saskatchewan people.  And we will keep it while maintaining our 3-year plan to balance the budget.

The change, retroactive to August 1, 2017, includes crop, livestock and hail insurance premiums as well as disability, accident and sickness insurance.

The Ministry of Finance will be working with the insurance industry to determine the best way to refund individuals and businesses that have paid PST on these premiums.  More information about how refunds will be administered will be available soon.

Reinstating the aforementioned PST exemptions is part of our commitment to help families and small businesses save money, invest and help our province grow.

Saskatchewan is a great place to invest and a new report shows just how great it is.

The Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies ranks Saskatchewan 1st in Canada and 2nd on earth for mining investment attractiveness.

Our government works to encourage investment by ensuring that the right policies, and competitive royalty taxation structures are in place.  We also want our interactions with industry to be streamlined and efficient, which is why we work to modernize regulations and reduce red tape wherever possible.

Our government is committed to ensuring Saskatchewan remains one of the most attractive places in the world to invest and create jobs and opportunity for Saskatchewan people.  Our ranking in the Annual Survey of Mining Companies is a reflection of how we do business in Saskatchewan.

Strong growth in weekly earnings will help retain and attract workers to Saskatchewan.

Average weekly earnings were on the rise in December, up 2.7 per cent year-over-year.  This was the second highest percentage increase among the provinces.  Month-to-month, Saskatchewan led the country in growth with an increase of 1.6 per cent.

Saskatchewan’s average weekly earnings were $1,033.57 in December, third highest in the nation and above the national average of $992.87.  Industries with the highest year-over-year growth rate were management of companies and enterprises, accommodation and food services and construction.

This is good news not only for our economy, but for the hard-working women and men in our province.

I want to congratulate Saskatchewan’s Protein Industries Canada, a major recipient of the federal government’s superclusters initiative, supporting crop breeding, production, value-added processing, and export development.  This funding will create $700 million in new commercial activity, billions in new GDP, and 4,700 new jobs from our agriculture & value-added food processing sectors.

In a world with a growing population, especially in Asia, Saskatchewan and Canada have great potential to advance our role as a dominant secure supplier of quality high-protein food to many regions seeking these healthy improvements to their diet.

Thank you to the federal government for this important investment, and congratulations to the 120 private-sector companies, academic institutions, and stakeholders across western Canada on this key step forward.