January 2016

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January, 2016 edition

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The Voice of Business in Saskatchewan

In this issue... • •

2015 Pre-Budget Survey Results Changes to TFW abuse consequences ... and more!

OnTrack 2016

Social Media www.facebook.com/saskchamber www.twitter.com/SaskChamber

Get in Touch Tel: 306.352.2671 Email: [email protected]

Table of Contents 3

CEO’s Message


Members in the News


Dates to Remember


2015 Pre-Budget Survey Results


Changes to TFW Abuse Consequences


Membership Central


Advocacy in Action


OnTrack 2016

CEO’s Message A really BIG year ahead

company is and can be going. We still have a growing economy, and our population continues to climb. There is new business to be had, and its yours to go get. So what should we all do next? Think ‘P’ words. After spending 2015 watching some commodities sink and the world get even crazier, it’s time to look forward and plan for your best year EVER. Your “best year ever” may not be defined in terms of your highest revenues, as we see a persistent plateau happening in the economy; a good year should not be revenue-based alone. Make this the year you train yourself and your staff in areas that will move them and your services higher than ever in performance and productivity. It can be the year when you develop new products or services to use the excess capacity of your production line, but still match your overall product offering -- or maybe it’s something brand new for your company. This is the year when… wait for it… you take a real summer vacation. 2016 will be an interesting year, but I advise people who tend to act in the short term to stop reading newspapers and watching TV news. The media catches your attention with challenges, not opportunities.

Proactive, Professional, Productive, Progressive, Proficient and Profitable. If you speak in these terms and act in this manner the last word should come automatically. (I know…..profit is never really automatic). With the negative messaging expected by our own provincial political parties about to hit the media, the US election which is goofy at best, and the world economy being unpredictable, it is your own world you need to control -- and that can be done. Saskatchewan will one day soon return to firing on all cylinders, and when that happens, you’ll want to be ready. I believe for many years businesses were drinking from a fire hose as too much business was coming their way. Now as you drink from a garden hose, don’t worry about dying of thirst. Worry instead about dying from standing still. I hope to see you at Political Forum on Jan 14th in Regina. Come out and hear Premier Wall’s plans for the election on April 4th and beyond. Have a great 2016.

My 20 year old daughter watched the 6 p.m. news yesterday and said she had to turn it off as it was so depressing; it seemed the whole world was at war. I told her we are likely more peaceful as a global community now than in any century before us, but we simply see and hear more now, with so many media options. So I am not advising that you stick your head in the sand, but I am saying look locally to where your



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DATES to REMEMBER Save the date for the Saskatchewan Chamber annual conference May 11 & 12, 2016 in Saskatoon; more details to come! Also keep June 9, 2016 open in your calendar for the Make a Connection Reception in Regina! Register today for the CCPPP Seminar “Saskatchewan: Reaping the Benefits of P3s”, to be held in Regina on January 28 at the Doubletree Hotel & Conference Centre. For more information, or to register, visit http://www.pppcouncil. ca/pdf/regina_seminar_012016.pdf.

Members in The News By Elissa LaLiberte, Director of Membership Engagement On December 11th CN announced that they will be donating $5 million to help communities resettle Syrian refugees across Canada. Robert Pace, chairman of the board of directors of CN, said, “CN is very active in helping to build stronger communities. I’m proud that CN is assisting Syrian refugees with their transition to a better life, filled with the same hopes for their families and children that all Canadians share.” The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other Canadian business leaders will work with CN to direct funds to assist with housing and other needs of Syrian refugees. The full media release can be found here. Redhead Equipment announced on December 3rd that they were providing support to the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw through a donation of $100,000. “The healthcare sector has been the number one area that we support in Saskatchewan,” said Gary Redhead, President and CEO of Redhead Equipment. “We know so many of the families that live in Moose Jaw and have done business here for many, many years. This donation is about giving back to those that have supported us.” To read more about this generous donation click here. Farm Credit Canada provided financial support to 251 4-H Clubs in Canada in the amount of $122,000. In Saskatchewan 35 4-H Clubs received a total of $17,000. These funds are part of a $1 million contribution that FCC has committed over four years to 4-H Canada. “FCC believes in building partnerships that make our industry stronger,” said Todd Klink, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at FCC. Read more about FCC and their support of 4-H Canada here.


Members in The News


The Mosaic Company announced a $1 million community investment to the Moose Jaw Health Foundation in December. The hospital plans to use these funds to purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment, including the provinces’ only hyperbaric chamber. “We’ve entered a new level of commitment to supporting the health of our employees and neighbors,” said Sarah Fedorchuk, Senior Director of Public Affairs at The Mosaic Company. “We’re proud to partner with the Foundation as they build this legacy of innovative health care, and ensure that this cutting-edge regional hospital contributes to the long-term strength and health of our neighbors.” The Mosaic media release can be read in it’s entirety here. The Saskatoon Blades, along with PotashCorp handed over a cheque for $36,257.28 to Food Banks of Saskatchewan on December 3rd. The Blades and PotashCorp hosted a Star Wars Night on November 28th to raise awareness, funds and product for Saskatchewan food banks. The team wore Star Wars jerseys during the game which led to a successful silent auction. The Blades raised $18,128.64 on Star Wars night which was matched by PotashCorp. To read the Saskatoon Blades media release click here. The University of Saskatchewan Junior Chamber of Commerce has a new President. Jordan Dutchak, along with Colton Wiegers began the U of S JCC three years ago. Under Jordan’s leadership the Junior Chamber of Commerce accomplished a great deal; including hosting several successful events, fundraising close to $90,000, and connecting young aspiring professionals with entrepreneurs and business professionals. Taking Jordan’s place at the head of the U of S Junior Chamber of Commerce is Noah Kelleher. Noah is a third-year commerce student at the U of S. The Board and staff of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce wish Jordan all the best in his future endeavors and look forward to working with Noah. New SaskTel wireless service has been made available in Stony Rapids and Black Lake, thanks to a partnership between SaskTel, Athabasca Basin Development and Huawei Canada. Wollaston Lake and Fond Du Lac also received wireless service under this initiative back in September 2015. This aligns with advocacy done by the Saskatchewan Chamber’s Northern Business Task Force, to increase comparable access to cellular coverage for northern communities. QuickLinkt Solutions Inc. (a Saskatoon start-up focused on technology products for the real estate industry) has been accepted into the 9Mile Labs Accelerator Progam in Seattle, Washington, which is designed to accelerate product development, market strategy, financing and customer traction for technology start-up companies. QuickLinkt is the only Canadian company selected in this year’s group. QuickLinkt was a finalist for the 2015 ABEX Innovation and New Ventures categories.

Free webinar - New Small Businesses and Taxes: Getting it Right from the Start! The Canada Revenue Agency is pleased to host a free interactive webinar about important tax topics for new small businesses. These topics include: • registering your business • GST/HST • payroll • keeping records • business income and expenses, and more… Participants can ask questions and get more information during the live webinar. When: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 English: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Standard Time Register now French: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time Register now


Issue in Focus January 2016

2015 Pre-Budget Survey Report Core Issue: To prepare to provide input to the Minister of Finance for the 2016/17 Provincial budget, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of its membership in December 2015. The results of this survey are summarized below.

Key Findings: 77 businesses people responded to the 2015 Pre-Budget survey o The top three issues identified by survey respondent were: 1. Infrastructure Investment 2. Managing and Encouraging Sustainable Growth 3. Regulatory Efficiency and Simplification o Infrastructure investment ranked number one when respondents were asked to evaluate the government’s recommended priorities overall. o Reducing expenditures for government operations/size was the cost reduction most frequently supported by respondents, followed by reducing immigration costs o 49.35% of respondents were comfortable or very comfortable with the province’s current debt level. o Increasing infrastructure investments, lessening regulatory burdens, and improving the availability of labour were identified as the best ways to encourage businesses to invest more capital and create new jobs in Saskatchewan. o Only 32.88% of respondents indicated that government involvement in private ventures is a significant or very significant issue in terms of restricting capital investment, growth, or competition, down from 40.86% last year. ** For full details on the Pre-Budget Survey Report, please click here to view the survey results on our website. **

Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

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Canada’s Energy Citizens is a grassroots advocacy movement for Canadians proud of our oil and natural gas industry. We know that the number of Canadians who support the oil and gas industry outnumber those who don’t by an almost 2-to-1 margin, but its opponents are three times as likely to publicly speak out against it. Through the program, we are building a community of like-minded Canadians and equipping them with the tools they need to better balance the all-too-often negative debate around the oil and natural gas industry. From local pub nights to facts and figures they can use in conversation with friends and family or articles they can share via social media, it’s all about giving supportive Canadians the voice they need to become proud advocates of an industry that plays an incredibly important role in the lives of thousands of families. For further information, visit www.energycitizens.ca.

Changes to consequences for abusing Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program On December 1, 2015, new regulations that allow the Government to impose more appropriate consequences on employers who abuse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP) came into force. As announced on July 6, 2015, employers who are found non-compliant could be subject to: • Administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million in a one-year period; and/or • Varied bans of 1, 2, 5 and 10 years, or a permanent ban for the most serious violations. These new rules apply to any violations that occur on or after December 1, 2015. For more information, including how employers may voluntary disclose potential violations and potentially reduce the consequences, please visit: General information – Temporary Foreign Worker Program http://www.edsc-esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/index.shtml Employer compliance – Temporary Foreign Worker Program http://www.edsc-esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/employer_compliance.shtml Voluntary disclosure – Temporary Foreign Worker Program http://www.edsc-esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/voluntary_disclosure.shtml Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-07-01/html/sor-dors144-eng.php



Welcome to our new members! The Prince Albert Co-op Prince Albert www.princealbertcoop.ca

By Jesse Chatterson, Director of Membership Sales

Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies Prince Albert www.pbgoc.com

Gensource Potash Corp. Saskatoon www.gensourcepotash.ca

Thanks to our returning members! Thank you to our members who renewed last month! Your continued support of the Chamber movement makes it possible for us to achieve on your behalf, and we want you to know we appreciate you as members! • •

SaskCulture Kelly Panteluk Construction

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Davies Supply Group Medallion Pipe Supply Global Infobrokers Gateway Mall Golden Opportunities Fund Gideon Dala Medical Prof Corp Grasslands Group Paradigm Consulting Group Saskatchewan Blue Cross Hypor Randy Sander CGA Prof Corp

• • • • •

Shercom Industries Star Egg Off Axis McKim Communications Group Hill & Knowlton Strategies

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ADVOCACY in ACTION By Curtis Hemming, Director of Government Relations

This should be a very interesting year for advocacy activities at the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. Not only will there be a provincial election on April 4th, there are also a lot of newly elected politicians in Ottawa that we are trying to build relationships with. As in every election, we will have a significant role to play in representing the interests of Saskatchewan businesses and making sure their voices are heard, both as the political parties have developed their platforms, and when they promise to do things that are either good or bad for business. We are also continuing to promote our own provincial election strategy document called OnTrack 2016, which was initially released last year at our annual Conference on Business, but which needed to be updated in December because numerous recommendations in it were acted upon by the government during the year. For more details, see the full OnTrack 2016 document in this issue.

On January 14 we are going to be holding our annual Provincial Political Forum event at the Hotel Saskatchewan here in Regina. Not only do we have numerous Ministers and Opposition Critics attending, we also have a great group of our members who have purchased tickets. There are several issues that we will be discussing with our elected representatives; this is going to be a particularly important Political Forum, since it is the last one that takes place before the spring election. In June we will be holding our Make a Connection Reception, which is an opportunity for our members to meet with Deputy Ministers from the provincial government, as well as Assistant Deputy Ministers, Chiefs of Staff, and Crown Corporation CEOs. While this is a less formal event than Political Forum, it is just as important because the public servants who attend this event are the ones that implement the policy decisions made by our MLAs.




We are also holding our second annual Chair’s Invitational Dinner in September which will again have the provincial government’s Deputy Ministers and Crown Corporation CEO’s in attendance to answer questions from our business members. This event features a formal dinner and policy discussion, similar to our annual Provincial Political Forum, and we expect it to be a great continuation of what we started last year. Finally, in 2016 the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce will continue to do research, policy development, roundtable discussions, and lobbying work on behalf of the business community of this province. While a lot of this work is not as glamorous as our ABEX awards or some of the other high profile activities we do, these are the activities that give us credibility as a business advocacy organization and help to keep the interests of our members in the minds of our elected officials, their staff, and the people of Saskatchewan throughout the year. The business community of Saskatchewan is clearly the source of our province’s economic prosperity, without it there would be no jobs for people to make money, no taxes for governments to pay for social programs, no extra wealth for philanthropy, and no way for us to differentiate ourselves from struggling economies elsewhere in the world. Through all of the many activities we will undertake in 2016, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce will continue to represent the interests of that exceptional business community and with their hard work, our province will become an even better place to live, work, and invest in the year ahead.

BUSINESS INDUSTRY + DINNERS 2015 Please visit www.saskpolytech.ca/dinners for a listing of this year’s sponsors.


Thank you to the many industry partners who supported the 2015 Saskatchewan Polytechnic Business and Industry Dinners presented by Graham Group Ltd. A combined audience of more than 1,100 guests and students attended the four events held throughout November and December. Through the dinners, Sask Polytech has been able to provide one and a half million dollars in scholarships and bursaries to Sask Polytech students since 2009.







Saskatchewan is a big land for big people with big ideas: a vision for our province enunciated over 100 years ago by our first Premier Walter Scott, finding its realization today. Over the last decade incredible strides have dramatically elevated our economy and energized its growth across a broader range of activity than at any other time in our history. Our province’s increasingly diverse economy is beginning to fulfil Premier Scott’s century-old dream of enterprise, hope and well-being. We are de-coupling our future from the severe highs and lows of single-industry boom-bust cycles that was our fate for so long.


This change did not occur by accident. A renewed focus on opportunity, incentive and confidence in the resourcefulness of Saskatchewan people has built a foundation for continuing growth, of which we can be proud – and which we seek to continue. Entrepreneurship, investment and initiative flourish where they are enabled in a community through sound public policy. Facilitating, encouraging, and supporting growth and investment, by both the government and the private sector, have been key elements of this transition. The economic and population growth experienced as a result have offered numerous benefits including: more choice in employment opportunities, better pay, revitalized communities offering enhanced services, a sense of hope and sharing, and improved fiscal stability. Nevertheless, the work is not done. Saskatchewan’s changes are still vulnerable; a series of missteps could overturn the economic momentum and send our newly expanded population back to other jurisdictions. The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce believes avoiding such mistakes and staying on track is the most crucial challenge our province faces over the next decade. We have developed this series of recommendations to help the Government of Saskatchewan fulfill this mandate after the 2016 election. This revised 2nd edition of OnTrack 2016 reflects the changes that have occurred in the province since the initial release in May 2015, as well as the October 2015 federal election results. The list of proposed actions has been reduced from 34 to 31 due to positive actions recently undertaken by the provincial government.



ROLE OF THE CHAMBER The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is the “Voice of Business in Saskatchewan.” It is our responsibility to provide information and leadership on key business issues, and to build support for concepts and practices that can support better and more fulfilling lives through continuing growth. We strive to ignite constructive change for all of Saskatchewan with ideas and policy that can encourage enterprise and lower barriers to economic development. Representing the interests of over 10,000 businesses across the province

through the Chamber Network, our role is particularly important leading up to and during an election. The political discourse that occurs shapes the province for years to come and the viability of the business environment is an essential, but frequently overlooked, component of a successful province and population. As a non-partisan organization with roots in every region and industry in the province, our advice is uniquely situated to look at the best available options for the benefit of the broadest collection of stakeholders.

The activities and recommendations of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce are guided by the following values and principles:

We support: • The free exchange of goods and opinions in open markets, and the right to associate and make contracts to advance this exchange • A democratic government and the right of each person and legal entity to liberty and equality before the law • Individual success as a foundation for community success We believe in: • Fair, balanced, and competitive labour market regulation that encourages full participation, innovation, productivity, mobility and investment in human capital. • Economic development and the growth of the private sector in the province for increased wealth creation. • Clear, concise and sensible regulations for business. • Simplicity, clarity, and accountability in taxation, using a regime that encourages the efficient use of resources. • A provincial policy framework that encourages entrepreneurs and attracts capital investment. • Accountability, transparency, efficiency, prudence and cost-effectiveness in government. • The development of a diverse, stable and skilled workforce for current and future needs. • Business as a primary stakeholder in all forms of education, and that lifelong learning is the basis of a strong workforce and vibrant community. WWW.SASKCHAMBER.COM


PURPOSE OF OnTrack 2016

OnTrack 2016 does not suggest that our province’s success depends on government action on behalf of business, or for that matter, on behalf of any sector. On the contrary, it is based on sustaining and enhancing an environment in which action outside the realm of government can continue to drive our province forward.

OnTrack 2016 is about public policy focusing on the blossoming of ideas and initiatives originating across all of society and the economy. Good ideas cross the lines of political party loyalties to attract support from people of good will. We have established a library of these good ideas through our policy positions, and the suggestions of our many business members throughout the province.

For OnTrack 2016 the Saskatchewan Chamber used its strategic plan, regional roundtable sessions, and numerous survey results to prioritize the areas of opportunity in the business environment. Eight opportunities for continued growth were identified as the most significant. Within each of these priority subsections the Chamber then evaluated existing policy recommendations, research documents and member feedback to construct the list of actions we support in these areas. Additional background information on many of these actions can be found on the SCC website: www.saskchamber.com.



The focus of these ideas is to offer long-term, sustained benefits to the province. Our policy contributors are industry-leading Saskatchewan citizens who understand the technical specifics of each issue as well as our regional values. We believe our positions could, and should, be incorporated into the political parties’ platforms for 2016, which is why we have undertaken the effort to present them through OnTrack 2016.

OnTrack 2016 has been created as a guide to the core provincial government controlled issues facing the local business community. It is our hope that by raising the profile of these issues we can encourage a faster adoption of the solutions.











STRENGTHEN TAXATION AND FISCAL FRAMEWORK Simplicity, clarity, competitiveness and accountability in taxation

WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? If Saskatchewan can reform and reduce its taxes in a strategic fashion to promote business competitiveness and investment, while maintaining critical social and infrastructure investment, the province will have the ability to leverage even greater economic gains in the future. This environment will encourage a virtuous circle of future growth, prosperity, and opportunity. The Canada West Foundation report: “A Tax Framework for Saskatchewan’s Continuing Prosperity” outlines the long term value of this type of environment. GOOD IDEAS WE SUPPORT: • • • •


Change the assessment cycle used to calculate property value from four years to two years. Simplify property tax tools, such as the inclusion rates, mill rates, mill rate factors, tiered mill rates, base tax, and minimum tax. Move to a dual-rate personal income tax structure of 9% and 12%. Reduce the corporate income tax rate to 10% as promised in the Plan for Growth.


“A strong taxation policy that is fair and not arbitrary allows all business to be competitive. Additionally, businesses invest and grow when the taxation and fiscal policies are known and stable. This stability is also important in property tax, differences by municipalities in taxation creates instability as they subjectively change property taxation by juggling the multiple tools at their disposal.” Ted Hillstead - FCGA/Senior Partner, Cogent Chartered Professional Accountants LLP

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? A stable, competitive, and attractive fiscal environment allows businesses to confidently invest with long-term goals in mind, preserve economic growth and attract broader capital investment, the basis for the creation of quality employment opportunities. In addition to the attractiveness a stable environment offers, the recommendations above aim to make the system more fair, competitive, simple, and responsive by shrinking the distortions within the system and offering benefits to all Saskatchewan residents.

BUILD AND UTILIZE WATER RESOURCES Forward thinking, stable water resource development WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? New industrial developments being considered for Saskatchewan, such as mines, irrigation, as well as other value added activities for ag-products, will offer tremendous economic benefit and require stable access to water resources. Beyond these, the economic development opportunities associated with a stable water supply are abundant. These types of developments will significantly impact the water supply system. Determining the proper utilization of this valuable resource today is essential for the viability of Saskatchewan enterprises and residents over the long-term.


Create a comprehensive Water Resource Strategic Plan that examines how Saskatchewan’s water assets can be used to generate greater economic development opportunities in agriculture, recreation and industrial operations. Consolidate the regulatory management of water by assigning the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (SWSA) as the lead water agency within the Ministry of Environment. Enforce restrictions against development within the F500 flood-plain and do not make government disaster funds available to those that develop within the F500 flood-plains.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? Saskatchewan has barely scratched the surface regarding the economic potential of its water resource. The proper development of this resource will lead to long-term stability, better resource management, as well as job growth in new and exciting areas. Once better governance structures and foundational information are in place, enhancing the province’s reservoir and drainage system is the next logical step to help mitigate disasters and capture economic opportunities. WWW.SASKCHAMBER.COM


STRENGTHEN EDUCATION SYSTEM Learning is the basis of a strong workforce and entrepreneurial spirit

WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? Education relates to economic productivity, civic engagement, personal well-being and improved quality of life. No area is more significant to Saskatchewan’s future. According to the 2013 Pan-Canadian Assessment Program, Saskatchewan students perform below the Canadian mean in reading, mathematics and sciences. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to improve these outcomes. GOOD IDEAS WE SUPPORT: •

Reduce the disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal graduation rates by 50% by 2020 while ensuring that the quality of education remains high. Integrate entrepreneurship and business skills training in all levels of the K-12 education system.

• • •

Ensure that all high school students take at least one entrepreneurship course before graduation. Expand Industry Education Councils (IEC) programming on a regional and a provincial level. Make it a mandatory condition of graduating high school that a student must complete a personal finance course on the basics such as debt, credit, cash management, loans, and investing.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? Building a system that will enable Saskatchewan students to lead Canada in reading, mathematics and science will have significant, tangible long term benefits for the province. In addition to increasing lifetime earnings, non-monetary benefits of higher education attainment can include increased job satisfaction, improved health and greater longevity, lower stress levels, plus additional fringe employment benefits. Closing the Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal education gap is the best way to ensure this demographic capitalizes on these enhanced opportunities as well. 7


UTILIZE ALTERNATIVE SERVICE DELIVERY Grow the private sector for increased wealth creation and efficient resource deployment

WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? When there are private sector businesses willing, able, and capable of delivering products and services to the people of Saskatchewan, the government should adopt a philosophy of being the procurer, and not the sole provider, of such services. Government involvement ties up the government’s resources, making less available for those key sectors that require involvement. It is only through the precise utilization of government resources that Saskatchewan residents will experience the maximum benefits and, as such, alternative service delivery is a way to maximize value and expand service.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? Private sector participation creates competition, driving companies to reduce the costs to government/ residents and improve service. In addition, private sector participation brings in a level of innovation and flexibility that is not always readily available to the public sector. The combination of these factors means that Saskatchewan people enjoy more benefits for their money.


Create a private openly competitive marketplace for liquor sales. Outsource projects when possible using a broader range of alternative service delivery models across government. Focus on ensuring good value for money in all government procurement processes.



SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE ENHANCEMENT Efficiently move products and maintain a high quality of life WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? Despite several years of record provincial investment, Saskatchewan still has an infrastructure deficit. Saskatchewan’s vast, remote landscape means the infrastructure needs of the province are diverse but the transportation of goods, services and people are core to our export based economy. As the province looks to grow its exports and economy the necessity of this infrastructure increases and therefore more enhancements are required. GOOD IDEAS WE SUPPORT: • • •

Increase investment in municipal infrastructure and high-use roadways. Reduce the fuel tax Saskatchewan charges railways to lower shipping costs. Ensure greater coordination between supply chain partners in the rail sector.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? Saskatchewan people are reliant on public infrastructure for their health, safety, education, as well as their quality of life. The prosperity of the province would be considerably affected if our exports, which make up 40% of Saskatchewan’s GDP, were unable to get to market due to infrastructure constraints. Supporting infrastructure enhancements will facilitate the expansion of these exports in the future. Greater strategic infrastructure investment would also bring enhanced employment opportunities and expanded development to residents and businesses of Saskatchewan’s remote north.

“There are many challenges surrounding older infrastructure particularly when trying to accommodate new growth of mining, industrial and oil & gas sector. These new companies entering the province and expanding our export base need better assurance they can establish themselves here with sufficient, usable infrastructure. I see this first hand and it is having an impact on the choice for investment.” Kerry Heid, President & CEO, Shermco Industries Canada Inc.



ATTRACT AND GROW INVESTMENT Encourage entrepreneurs and attract capital investment WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY?


The level of new capital into existing businesses, or into the creation of new businesses, has not reached its full potential, especially considering the number of investment opportunities available in Saskatchewan. Expanding and diversifying Saskatchewan’s economy requires a large and steady stream of capital investments. Incorporating and facilitating a diverse investor mix including, but not limited to, existing entrepreneurs, pension funds, venture funds, foreign investors, angel investors, etc., into Saskatchewan’s economy in all areas will help grow the province into the future.

• •

• • •

Amend The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act to allow Canadian pension funds to purchase Saskatchewan farmland. Undertake an evaluation of the investment needs of Saskatchewan’s current and future agricultural producers to ensure that sufficient capital is available for them to grow. Encourage greater levels of angel investment in the province potentially through enhanced tax credits. Increase usage of creative funding models such as community bonds and social impact bonds. Encourage private sector involvement in the expansion of the renewable energy sector.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? The benefits offered to the province through attracting and growing investment are as diverse as the investment opportunities offered in the province. Incentives to support investment could help launch more start-up businesses or help existing businesses expand. Creating a positive environment for the re-investment of profits into existing local businesses supports job growth and capacity building; while investor attraction can offer crucial cash flow for changing organizations or help retirees receive the best value for their life’s work. WWW.SASKCHAMBER.COM


“In addition to the tremendous untapped economic opportunities, there are numerous economic, employment, and social challenges faced by our shareholders in the remote north. In order for business to improve in the north, life has to improve…which will, in turn, improve business. There are many examples of local success stories, whether they be individual stories of people overcoming incredible challenges to find success or successful local businesses. But we are still missing opportunities and there is still much room for improvement. The Athabasca area covers nearly a quarter of our province and is rich in resources; accelerating economic development in the North not only benefits residents in the area and improves their quality of life, but every resident in Saskatchewan benefits from the increased economic opportunities that are right here in our own province.”

ACCELERATE NORTHERN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Opportunities, viability, and success for Northern Saskatchewan

Geoff Gay – CEO, Athabasca Basin Development LP

WHY IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY? The opportunity in Saskatchewan’s north is exceptional; while sparsely populated, this region is flush with resources and welcoming people with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to the mining activities already taking place, there is the potential for greater exploration as well as the expansion of tourism, forestry, and more. Nevertheless, the ability of this region to attract business interest and investment suffers because of the high operating and access costs. Reducing these barriers will accelerate the economic development of the north. GOOD IDEAS WE SUPPORT: • • •


Change all northern communities from E03 electricity rate code to E02 code. Ensure comparable access to bandwidth and cellular coverage for northern communities as available in the south. Ensure that the provincial government urges Nutrition North Canada, a federal program, to provide greater fairness to Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities when subsidizing the transportation of healthy food. Build an all-weather road from Highway 905 to Wollaston Lake. WWW.SASKCHAMBER.COM

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SASKATCHEWAN PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES? Saskatchewan’s north is well poised for economic growth. Reducing the operating costs for businesses and residents in the region will make it more economical to capitalize on these opportunities. Additionally, reducing the cost of living and improving accessibility for those living in Saskatchewan’s north will provide them with new services and improve the overall quality of life. Enhancing the opportunity for employment through great economic development will also reduce the reliance on government social programs that are pronounced in this region.


ENHANCE WORKFORCE SKILLS TRAINING A diverse, stable and skilled workforce for current and future needs

A labour shortage reduces the amount of services that would otherwise be available to residents and limits the ability of businesses to fulfill new customer demand; alleviating this shortage will boost the quality of life in the province. Additionally enhanced workforce development will assist in moving those currently unemployed into employment offering significant spin-off benefits to all residents. By ensuring accurate and current labour market information is available and used, the entire labour market will be more sustainable.



The economic opportunities offered by Saskatchewan will be irrelevant if the province does not have the workforce necessary to take advantage of them. Over the past five years, business leaders routinely identified a lack of available skilled workers as the leading constraint to Saskatchewan’s continued growth. However, the structural difficulties of Saskatchewan’s workforce are more significant than a shortage of persons as some segments of the population continue to be disproportionately unemployed. Enhancing the province’s workforce development will address both these barriers.

• • • •

Collect and widely distribute labour market information including post-secondary graduation rates, the on-reserve labour force, and the labour market experience of immigrants to Saskatchewan. Create a comprehensive plan to effectively monitor the provincial and regional retention rates of new immigrants. Institute a three-day Worker’s Compensation waiting period. Conduct an additional study on modernizing the overall governance structure of the WCB Board. Continue to promote the federal Canada Job Grant and provincial Graduate Retention Program.



SUPPORT THESE IDEAS By implementing the recommendations in OnTrack 2016 we know Saskatchewan can become a better place to live, work, and invest. We also know that these issues are not exclusive to us. As a reader of this document, we urge you to utilize this work. Whether it is talking to the candidates in your riding or sharing all or parts of this document with your contacts, we believe better engagement makes better policy and we look for your support in expanding the discussion. In addition to the information available in this piece, we have greater background material available at www.saskchamber.com on each of our proposals. Please use this material to help build informed opinions and consensus.



CONCLUSION The 2016 provincial election not only provides an opportunity for citizens to evaluate the performance and ideas of elected officials, but is also an opportunity for residents to determine what they want the province to look like in the future. Economic considerations are often not at the forefront of these debates but they are the very foundation for more topical issues like health and education. Saskatchewan’s economic fortune has changed over the past decade because of strategic decision making. It is important that this process stays on track. The membership of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has put forward 31 actionable items in this document that will build an attractive, competitive, growing business environment in the province. These proposals are based on sound principles and could fit any political ideology; it is the hope of the Saskatchewan Chamber that they are used to the fullest extent possible to shape the discussion in the upcoming provincial election. These ideas are good for business, but even more importantly, they are good for Saskatchewan.



action! online is a monthly membership e-publication of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

CHAMBER STAFF Steve McLellan CEO [email protected]

Kristin McKee (currently on leave) Director of Policy Development [email protected]

Elissa LaLiberte Director of Membership Engagement [email protected]

Marilyn Leier Executive Assistant [email protected]

Curtis Hemming Director of Government Relations [email protected]

Dawn M. Barker Director of Communications [email protected]

Cindy Wright Director of Special Events [email protected]

Jesse Chatterson Director of Member Services [email protected]

CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair - Randy Beattie (PFM Capital Inc.) 1st Vice-Chair - Shawna Nelson (Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon) 2nd Vice-Chair - Patricia Warsaba (McKercher LLP) Immediate Past-Chair - Bruce Anderson (b-creative group)

Directors Trina Warren (MNP LLP) Sean Young (Young’s Equipment) Monica Kreuger (Global Infobrokers Inc.) Peter Clarke (Seed Hawk Inc.) Ricardo Silva

1630 - 1920 Broad Street

Greg Hanwell (Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli) Michael Cossar (Federated Co-operatives) Kendal Netmaker (Neechie Gear) Clayton Veresh (MNP LLP)

Regina, SK S4P 3V2