Report from the Legislature – April 28, 2022

This past month has reminded us just how unpredictable weather on the prairies can be. At the start of April, a winter snowstorm hit many areas. Around Maple Creek, SaskPower crews and contractors replaced more than 600 power poles while repairing 50 kilometres of power lines. This past weekend, more damage was recorded as another storm rolled in with nearly 25,000 customers in southeast Saskatchewan left without power.

Thank you to everyone who worked during and after the storm to restore services to those in need.

These two storms serve as a reminder about how important reliable utilities are. Our government is committed to investing in Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations. With the 2022/23 Budget, we will spend nearly $1.8 billion on capital projects to maintain and enhance utility infrastructure while supporting economic growth.

SaskPower will invest a record $1.1 billion to improve reliability, replace aging electrical infrastructure, and meet customer demand. This will include increasing our ability to generate electricity for our growing province. Work has started on a new natural gas-fired electrical plant just south of Moose Jaw and updates at the EB Campbell Hydroelectric Station will extend its life and increase access to clean, reliable power.

This budget invests more than $272 million into Saskatchewan’s natural gas transmission and distribution system to ensure safe, reliable and affordable services to SaskEnergy customers. This year, the Crown gas company will expand the Regina East and West transmission lines, complete connections to supply the Moose Jaw electrical plant with natural gas and expand the distribution system to support new customers.

For SaskTel, the telecommunications company remains focused on connecting people to the world by investing $337 million into the province’s information and communication technology infrastructure. Investments will support quality networks, continued deployment of fibre service to rural customers and modernization of network infrastructure with the rollout of SaskTel’s 5G wireless network.

With our growing province comes a growing need for sustainable water and wastewater systems. SaskWater will invest nearly $53 million to support significant industrial growth along with continued investment in the water systems.

Support for our water network extends over to the Water Security Agency (WSA) with $72 million in funding. Our economy has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years and many of those new industries require water for their production facilities. Our communities are growing as more people move to Saskatchewan. This growth presents unique challenges, and this budget will support WSA in its efforts to ensure a safe and secure water supply. Their efforts will increase the sustainability of our economic growth while building a water supply network that is resilient to extreme weather patterns like the 2021 drought. To help manage that water supply, $45 million will rehabilitate infrastructure such as dams and other water control structures. Another $25 will support large and small irrigation projects that contribute to economic, irrigation and food security goals.

In our Growth Plan, we set goals to create 100,000 new jobs, grow private capital investment to $16 billion annually and increase the provincial population to 1.4 million people by 2030. In order to support that growth, our Crown corporations will invest more than $8 billion over the next five years to make capital infrastructure improvements.

Altogether, our provincial Crown corporations offer one of the lowest utility bundles in the country. Our government is committed to ensuring safe, reliable, high-quality services for Saskatchewan residents.