Report from the Legislature – December 01, 2022

This past week, Saskatchewan was the hub for agriculture as thousands of people descended on the province for the year’s most anticipated event, Canadian Western Agribition.

Once again, Agribition hosted 10,000 schoolchildren for programs that passed on the knowledge of where our food comes from, advocated proper animal care, and the importance of the agriculture industry. Canadian Western Agribition showcases our agriculture sector and helps us share our sustainability story with the world. Local producers continue to lead in sustainable agriculture practices, technology, innovation, science, and breeding genetics, which helps build public trust and knowledge of the industry.

Like the agriculture sector, Agribition positively impacts our provincial economy. The show injects an estimated $70 million into the Saskatchewan economy each year thanks to attendance, sales and business agreements made during the week. Traditionally, over 120,000 people attend the show from over 80 countries.

It is a pleasure to see this event return to Regina each year, promoting one of the strongest industries in our province. Our government is proud to support Saskatchewan farmers with several programs and services, such as the Crop Insurance Program or funding for water management projects. In 2021, Saskatchewan set a record with $17.5 billion in agri-food exports, producing 98 per cent of Canada’s lentils and 80 per cent of the national durum crop. As we look to increase our exports by 50 per cent by 2030, the agriculture sector will play a large role in that vision. Increasing exports will create more jobs and support a growing province.

Saskatchewan is set to kick off 2023 with vigour and enthusiasm. There is so much to be proud of after facing one of the most challenging economic times in recent history. By working together and creating a positive business environment, our province is seeing financial growth when many other jurisdictions are staving off a recession.

We are on track to balance the budget, with the Mid-Year Financial Report forecasting a $1.1 billion surplus. The increase is largely the result of high potash and oil prices, and higher revenues, reflecting solid economic growth. Our government is using higher-than-expected revenue to help people and businesses address higher costs due to inflation while reducing debt.

The Four Point Affordability Plan announced earlier this year was made possible because of this economic success. We are delivering a one-time Saskatchewan Affordability Tax Credit cheque of $500 to all adult residents who have filed a 2021 tax return in the province, exempted the PST on fitness and gym memberships, along with other recreational youth activities, extended the small business tax rate reduction and are paying down $1 billion in provincial debt. Putting more money back in your pocket while retiring debt strikes the right balance and helps our province move forward.

The good news does not end there. Based on an average of private sector forecasts, Saskatchewan’s real Gross Domestic Product is forecast to have grown by 5.3 per cent in 2022 and increase by 1.9 per cent in 2023, the highest growth among the provinces in both years. Saskatchewan has the second-highest credit rating in the country when considering all three major credit agencies.

Businesses and international investors see this positivity as a solid indication of success, leading to new investments, more jobs and increased family support. Our government will foster that growth and re-invest in the programs and services that make a difference in day-to-day life. The future is bright for our province, and 2023 will certainly be an exciting time to live in Saskatchewan.