Report from the Legislature – May 19, 2022

May 19th, 2022

As the spring session of the Legislature closed, our government was able to celebrate a number of provincial accomplishments. Our population is growing, the economy is expanding and diversifying, Northern Saskatchewan has renewed investment, and Saskatchewan continues to lead the country in multiple economic indicators.

If you listen to the NDP, none of this is good news. We want to recognize the hard work that Saskatchewan businesses and global investors are doing. To support that effort, the Government of Saskatchewan remains committed to creating an economic climate that will be sustainable for generations and create new jobs. This is Saskatchewan’s time to shine, and we’re happy with the progress made so far.

In March, the value of building permits increased by 20.2 per cent month-to-month and by 45.7 per cent year-over-year. Merchandise exports increased by 34.4 per cent month-to-month, 38.5 per cent year over year and 27.6 per cent year-to-date. The value of manufacturing sales increased by 11.1 per cent month-to-month and by 44.6 per cent year-over-year. The value of wholesale trade increased by 28.9 per cent year-over-year.

These key economic indicators cover a wide swath of sectors. The fact Saskatchewan is either leading or near the top in all of them says Saskatchewan’s economy is vibrant, diverse, and strong.

Yet to be fully realized are the economic benefits that four major investment projects for Northern Saskatchewan will bring. Over $1 billion was dedicated to the forestry sector with 2,600 jobs expected. As we continue to advance economic reconciliation and increase Indigenous participation in the economy, our government created the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation. Its goal is to provide support First Nations and Métis businesses owners who want to invest in forestry, mining, oil and gas, energy production and value-added agriculture. These investments create economic diversity, support growing communities and lead to more high-paying jobs.

This spring statistics show the number of Indigenous businesses in the province has been growing by leaps and bounds. With the support of organizations like the Saskatchewan Indigenous Economic Development Network, some areas have seen the number of Indigenous businesses double over the past decade.

Just this week, our government joined with Whitecap Resources and Federated Co-operatives Limited to begin a study that will analyze commercial-scale hydrogen opportunities. Saskatchewan has been at the forefront of carbon capture utilization and storage. This technology allows our province to potentially tap into the blue hydrogen market that uses steam to extract hydrogen from natural gas.

With increasing global use, hydrogen projects are in high demand. The study will accelerate the private sector’s interest in our province and the emerging hydrogen market. Last fall, policy commitments were announced to advance opportunities for an infrastructure hub in the Regina-Moose Jaw Industrial Corridor. A hydrogen/carbon capture hub in this region could allow for the development of an entire, commercial-scale hydrogen supply and demand chain in Saskatchewan.

Those are just some of the projects currently underway in Saskatchewan reflecting the confidence that private investors and multi-national corporations have in our province. They can invest anywhere in the world, but they choose to invest right here.

During this spring sitting, our government presented a budget that highlighted Saskatchewan’s improving finances and provided a clear path to balance. We made key investments in healthcare, education and mental health and addictions. We have crafted policies that will expand the economy, facilitate new investment and allow everyone to benefit.

This summer, we look forward to connecting with you. After two years of emails and phone calls, we’re excited to have more face-to-face conversations again. Chatting at the fair, the rodeo, on coffee row or in the constituency office can helps us plan for the future and meet the needs of a growing province.