Report from the Legislature – August 26, 2021

Saskatchewan is well-positioned for a strong economic recovery from COVID-19.


BHP has announced a $7.5 billion investment in the Jansen potash mine, the single largest private sector investment in Saskatchewan’s history. This will create 3,500 jobs during peak construction and offer 600 permanent full-time jobs while producing 4.35 million tonnes of potash per year.


Cargill has also announced that their new $350 million canola processing facility will be constructed at the Global Transportation Hub, west of Regina. With a target open date of 2024, the processing facility will add 50 full-time jobs and support our government’s Growth Plan goal of crushing 75 per cent of the canola grown here in Saskatchewan.


These projects build on other exciting announcements that will add value to the products we produce, create local jobs, and support economic growth. These include Richardson International doubling their canola crush capacity in Yorkton; Viterra building of the world’s largest integrated canola crush plant outside Regina; and Ceres investing $350 million to build a canola crush facility in Northgate. Red Leaf Pulp Ltd. has also announced a $350 million wheat straw-based pulp mill for Regina while Brandt Group of Companies announced plans to hire 1,000 new employees with half of those new hires to occur in Saskatchewan.


S&P Global Ratings recently affirmed Saskatchewan’s credit rating at AA with a stable outlook in a recent report. All three major rating agencies have now updated their credit rating and outlook for Saskatchewan following the 2021-22 Budget, and we continue to have the second-highest overall credit rating among Canadian provinces.


We are pleased that the major rating agencies continue to have confidence in our government’s fiscal and budgetary approach, despite the significant challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.


The S&P report states that “we expect that with the resumption of economic growth, the province’s revenues will begin to recover, and its fiscal results will materially improve in the next two years.” The report adds that “Saskatchewan’s creditworthiness is supported by what we view as the province’s strong financial management … With respect to revenue and expenditure management, the government has historically demonstrated a willingness to take corrective steps to control spending to offset revenue volatility.  Debt and liquidity management policies and practices are prudent and risk averse.”


S&P also noted that economic reopening and higher commodity prices should help Saskatchewan’s economic rebound gain traction through the remainder of 2021.


Saskatchewan has one of the most competitive business environments in all of Canada, and we continue to be leaders in the nation in our key sectors of oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, and others.


Manufacturing sales are trending upwards with a 61 per cent (seasonally-adjusted) jump in sales in June of 2021 compared to June 2020, the second highest increase among provinces.  Manufacturing sales were valued at over $1.7 billion.


Monthly sales saw June 2021 increase by 7.5 per cent compared to May 2021 (seasonally-adjusted), the highest increase among provinces.


Nationally, manufacturing sales grew by 20 per cent, year over year.


June 2021 wholesale trade also recorded a seasonally adjusted increase of 2.5 per cent year over year.  The value of Saskatchewan wholesale trade for June was approximately $2.4 billion.


As we continue to transition back to normal life, we are looking to limit the spread of COVID-19 without imposing widespread public health orders and restrictions, as was necessary before vaccines were widely available.


New COVID cases and serious outcomes from those cases are now overwhelmingly among unvaccinated individuals. Getting vaccinated remains the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.


Vaccines are now widely accessible in every part of the province, so if you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated.


There are no COVID-19 vaccines approved for children under 12.  All those who are eligible are encouraged to be fully vaccinated to afford these groups the best circle of protection possible.


As students of all ages return to class, school divisions have been working with local medical health officers to tailor back-to-school plans based on local circumstances, vaccination rates, case counts, and other factors. This flexibility allows local boards the ability to develop plans that are best for them.


At minimum, it is recommended that children under the age of 12, unvaccinated teachers and unvaccinated support staff wear masks in common spaces such as hallways, washrooms, lunchrooms, libraries, and school buses. While there may be some circumstances where students can socially distance or remove masks, these decisions are best made by local divisions in consultation with local medical health officers.


As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, please contact our Constituency Office at 306-205-2126.