Report from the Legislature – July 21, 2022

Saskatchewan’s economy is moving forward with significant strength, and our government is working hard to promote the local business climate and investment opportunities. Figures released in recent weeks show our province leading in several key economic indicators once again.

The value of wholesale trade increased by 44 per cent between May 2021 and May 2022, leading all provinces in growth. To provide some context, Alberta saw the second highest increase at 20.6 per cent. Saskatchewan has the resources and products the world wants and needs.

That positive business climate has translated into some solid employment figures. The Statistics Canada June report shows that Saskatchewan now has more people working than ever. Data shows that 22,300 jobs were added to the province over the last year, resulting in a record high of 592,900 jobs. Unemployment fell to 3.9 per cent, the second lowest among the provinces and the lowest since November 2014.

More jobs will soon be coming to our province after a significant announcement from BHP. The international company has announced their Jansen potash mine will be ready for production in 2026 rather than 2027. The project is expected to need 600 miners; and Brandt Industries also announced this month they will be looking to hire 200 employees for their new manufacturing facility in the City of Moose Jaw.

Another economic performance indicator is in the latest housing starts report. Once again, Saskatchewan is one of the top performing provinces, with an 87 per cent increase in urban housing starts between June 2021 and June 2022. This was the second highest year-over-year growth in Canada.

Our continued economic success and opportunity for future sustainable growth have caught the attention of two more major credit rating organizations. Moody’s Investor Services has maintained Saskatchewan’s Aa1 credit rating, reflecting a strong financial picture. DBRS Morningstar also confirmed their AA credit rating for the province. In their report they stated, “the elected government has long demonstrated commitment to a pro-growth agenda, a low and competitive tax regime, balanced budget and low debt.” This is a continuation of S&P Global Ratings who affirmed Saskatchewan’s AA credit rating and stable outlook in June of this year. The credit reports are another endorsement of Saskatchewan’s sound fiscal policy and direction.

Our government recognizes that inflation and the cost of living are top of mind for Saskatchewan families. Recently, we announced school divisions would receive a one-time investment of $20 million to assist with rising fuel and insurance costs for the 2022-23 school year. This boost will allow divisions to address inflationary costs rather than diverting resources from the classroom. With this additional investment, school operating funding will exceed $2 billion for the first time in provincial history.

In addition to measures like reduced child care costs, the second lowest utility bundle in Canada and maintaining one of the highest tax-free thresholds in the country, we continue to look for ways to make life more affordable here in Saskatchewan. As the fiscal year continues, we will review the financial picture in the coming months and make necessary adjustments to support Saskatchewan residents.

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