Report from the Legislature – December 02, 2021

Driven by our entrepreneurs and resource sector, Saskatchewan is seeing a strong economic recovery according to the 2021-22 Mid-Year Report released by the Ministry of Finance.

At mid-year, Saskatchewan’s economy is doing well and is forecast to increase by 4 per cent in 2021. A number of factors can be attributed to this positive news including a strong labour market this summer, higher investments in the housing market and strong commodity prices.

So far, total employment is up about 13,730 jobs and we are expecting to see a total of 15,900 new jobs for 2021. The outlook is good for 2022 with an anticipated 12,000 new jobs being created. Overall, Saskatchewan has the second highest employment rate in Canada.

Saskatchewan also saw the strongest growth in manufacturing sales and second highest growth in housing starts, so far this year. Both are strong indicators of a resilient economy that is on the path to recovery.

Perhaps the strongest indicator of growing confidence is the surge of capital investment that has flowed into the province during the last few months. Projects worth nearly $10 billion have been announced including advances in the forestry and helium industries along with value added agriculture production. Another $3 billion has been invested in provincial capital projects such as health care and school infrastructure improvements along with highway and Crown infrastructure upgrades.

Overall exports have increased by nearly 35 per cent this year with the global demand for our energy product exports resulting in a 63 per cent increase from January to September 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. Resource revenue is up $669 million from budget, with higher oil and potash prices reflecting strength in the energy and mining sectors.

Saskatchewan is on the rebound with revenue forecast to increase by $2.4 billion with significant increases across all categories. That has resulted in our province being able to benefit from the second-highest credit rating in the country when all three ratings from the major agencies are combined.

But there are still struggles out there, as we support agriculture producers working through a very difficult year of drought. The impact is reflected in reported expenses for the year and we are committed to provide the support our agriculture industry needs right now.

Total expense is forecast to be up $2.5 billion from budget, due to $1.8 billion for Crop Insurance claims, bringing the total Crop Insurance indemnity forecast to $2.4 billion for 2021-22. Livestock producers are also dealing with the fallout of the drought and we have committed an additional $292.5 million in relief.

Health expenses are also up, forecast to be $250 million higher than budget due to pandemic and drug plan pressures. A commitment of $1.7 billion has been made to COVID-19 related health, safety and economic support as part of a $5 billion multi-year response. An increase of $100.9 million in Protection of Persons and Property expense was also recorded due to wildfires which emerged during the dry conditions this summer.

The labour force has now recovered to 99 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels and investment dollars are flowing into the province as businesses look to the future. Saskatchewan is on the road to economic recovery thanks to the hard work of residents, entrepreneurs and investors during one of the most difficult global times in recent history.

A better, stronger Saskatchewan is on the horizon.