Report from the Legislature – October 18, 2018

The private sector in Saskatchewan is creating even more new and diverse job opportunities, according to the latest labour force figures from Stats Canada. Employment increased by 3,300 jobs from a year ago, largely driven by private sector growth.

Our government has been working to steadily increase jobs, strengthen the labour force, and attract more skilled workers to the province. Success in attracting more skilled workers shows that Saskatchewan continues to be a great place to live, work, and invest.

Small businesses continue to be major players in Saskatchewan, helping to keep our economy dynamic and competitive. Through innovation and a commitment to their communities, they offer goods and services that advance and enhance our quality of life.

The Government of Saskatchewan continues to invest in initiatives, services and programs that support small business.

Some of these include:

  • The Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive, the first “patent box” style incentive of its kind in North America;
  • The Saskatchewan Technology Start-Up Incentive, which offers a 45 per cent non-refundable tax credit for individual and corporate equity investments in eligible technology start-up businesses;
  • The Product2Market: Value Added incentive which helps support small-and-medium-sized agri-businesses, from product development through to marketing activities;
  • The Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant, an employer-driven program which helps employers train new or existing workers to meet their specific workforce needs;
  • A small business income tax rate, at two per cent, for Canadian-controlled private corporations.  The rate applies to the first $600,000 of business income and is among the lowest in the country;
  • A highly competitive tax structure which includes tax credits for research and development, as well as for manufacturing and processing equipment expenditures;
  • The proclamation of the Regulatory Modernization and Accountability Actin 2013, to remove red tape that could be a road block to business, and to remove some of the barriers to growth.

With the legalization of cannabis occurring across Canada, I want to ensure everyone is clear on what the new rules are when it comes to the legal purchase and possession of cannabis in Saskatchewan. Our government is committed to public safety, and it’s important for people to understand there are limitations on what is allowed, much the same as with alcohol consumption.

Under provincial cannabis legislation, the following rules apply:

  • The minimum age for non-medicinal cannabis consumption is 19.
  • Consuming all forms of non-medicinal cannabis in public spaces is prohibited.  The rules also apply to schools and daycares. Individuals can only carry up to 30 grams of dried or equivalent cannabis in public.
  • The province has 51 permitted retailers. Customers must be 19 years of age in order to enter the establishment and/or purchase cannabis. Proof of age must be shown to make a purchase.
  • There is zero tolerance for all drug-impaired driving in Saskatchewan. It remains illegal to drive while impaired in Saskatchewan whether by alcohol or any drug, including cannabis. Penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis may include immediate license suspension, vehicle seizure for up to 60 days, and licence suspension for up to five years upon conviction of drug-impaired driving. These laws apply to everyone, including medicinal users of cannabis.
  • The sale of edible cannabis products remains illegal, pending additional federal legislation; however, homemade edibles produced from legally purchased or grown cannabis will be allowed for personal consumption.
  • Possession of any amount of non-medicinal cannabis by a minor is prohibited. Possession of smaller amounts by a minor will be addressed primarily through ticketing and seizure of the cannabis. Possession of more than five grams will be a criminal offence subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
  • There are a variety of fines in place for provincial cannabis offences that range from $200 to $2,250. In more serious instances, individuals or corporations could be charged with a provincial offence and face fines ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.
  • Home production in Saskatchewan is limited to four plants per household for personal use only.
  • Renters and condo owners who wish to use or grow cannabis in their homes should make sure they understand the specifics of their rental agreements and condominium bylaws. Some rental agreements and condominium bylaws may restrict or prohibit cannabis.
  • Possessing, consuming or distributing cannabis in a vehicle could result in a $300 fine. Cannabis cannot be used in a vehicle and can only be transported from one lawful place (store, home) to another lawful place (home, another’s home). This is consistent with the rules already in place for alcohol and vehicles.
  • Cannabis is allowed on campsites, except when the minister responsible issues an order prohibiting it. This is similar to prohibitions on alcohol in campgrounds during the May long weekend.  You may only have cannabis within the individual campsite.

Government will be monitoring the long-term effects of the legalization of cannabis and the effectiveness of the provincial cannabis legislation.