The Voice of Business in Saskatchewan
action! online In this issue... • Update: Sask Plan for Growth • 3 New Policies for Sask Chamber • Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program • WCB tables Annual Report ... and more!
015 ed May, 2
Attending the Raj Manek dinner were several Chamber folks: Steve McLellan, CEO with Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce; Ernie Quintal, President of Warman Chamber of Commerce; Kent Smith-Windsor, CEO Saskatoon & District Chamber of Commerce; Bruce Anderson, 2014-15 Chair, Saskatchewan Chamber & Managing Partner, b-creative group; Gerry Shortall, BTS Group Inc. & Raj Manek Mentor; and John Hopkins, CEO Regina & District Chamber of Commerce. Social Media www.facebook.com/saskchamber www.twitter.com/SaskChamber
Get in Touch Tel: 306.352.2671 Email: [email protected]
Table of Contents 3
Update: Saskatchewan Plan for Growth
Advocacy in Action
Photos from Make a Connection Reception
Strategic Business Overview & Procurement Forum
Members in the News
Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program
Chamber EDs at Raj Manek Dinner
WorkSafe Sask 2015 Safe Worker & Safe Employer
Policy: Ownership of Sask Farmland by Canadian Pension Plans
Sask Chamber Supports Service Excellence
Mining Week Breakfast Invitation
WCB Annual Report Tabled
Policy: Implementation of NBTF Recommendations
ABEX ROI: Cost vs. Benefit
Policy: Impact of Rail Access on Saskatchewan’s Export Potential
Dates to Remember
A SPECIAL NOTE TO SASKATCHEWAN CHAMBER MEMBERS:
We would like to invite you to participate in our annual Membership Survey. This survey helps us to continually improve our advocacy and member services work. The survey closes at 5:00 p.m. on May 21st, so please take a few minutes today to provide your thoughts. Thanks!
CEO’s Message Spring has certainly sprung, so “Stay Calm and Saskatchewan On”
When you add together the natural increased speed in which we all move as the weather is warmer and sunnier with the mad rush to get things done before summer and then add in a case of pre-election pressures and we are up to our knees – or higher – in May 2015. Combine that with some degree of nervousness felt across the business community driven by the price of oil, government budget restraints and some headlines about layoffs and the wrinkled foreheads are more and more noticeable. Spring is a busy time of year in our personal lives and also in our work lives but this year has a different (not better or worse, but different) feel to it. However to rehash an old WWII slogan with a prairie twist, we should “Stay Calm and Saskatchewan on”. That means we should do as we have always done – focus on identifying priorities, set our sights and get to work. We will as we always have, lose the wrinkles and find ourselves and our province out the other side of the tunnel very soon. Even though oil forecasts seem to agree prices will be in the $50-60 range for the next year or so we are reminded of how diversified our economy is and that provincial economies, like all big things, need to simply shake themselves every once in a while to readjust and get the kinks out. Picture a horse doing its shake once the saddle goes on to get it just right. Economies do that too. As chambers are not immune from these issues, we are working hard to keep the focus on our priorities and are doing pretty well at it. We have just finished our best ever Make a Connection reception with a great turnout of members and government officials. We recently hosted the Conference on Business and had some great speakers lined up, excellent food and
some entertainment for the Chair’s Gala who were crowd favorites. On March 30th we launched our Rail report which provides very solid recommendations on what we need to do to ensure our products get to our markets in a timely manner. And surprise, surprise we are not recommending the governments poke the rail lines with sharp sticks! Get a copy from our website at www.saskchamber.com. The very positive news from WCB of an almost $80 million rebate to employers from a surplus of investment income is good news for those businesses whose record of safety is positive. We have been on this file for a long time and while the $79 million is only about 55% of the surplus, we will now focus our attention on the balance while ensuring the reserve funds are fully funded. There are many moving parts in the WCB world right now. A Committee of Review has just been appointed, and as such our focus will remain on this important file for some time. So now is the time to plan your Saskatchewan vacation and ensure you take an opportunity to explore this amazing province with your family and friends. We have so much to appreciate and be thankful for so remember two old lines, “All work and no play makes… (you can fill in the blank)” and most importantly.. remember we are doing exceptionally well in so many ways, so “Stay Calm and Saskatchewan on”.
Update: The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth
By Kristin McKee, Director of Policy Development
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS Introduction In October 2012, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth which provided a vision with clear growth benchmarks for Saskatchewan until 2020. In many ways the Plan for Growth paralleled the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s pre-existing Sustainable Growth Strategy for the New Saskatchewan (2007). The most significant difference between the two strategies was the timeframe; the Chamber’s strategy planned farther ahead than the government’s, looking to 2030. As a sign of support, and recognition of the government’s impressive proposal to look and plan beyond the usual election cycles, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce determined that it would move off of the targets contained in the Sustainable Growth Strategy. Instead, the Chamber has decided to advance and monitor the province’s Plan for Growth. With over 80 years of experience in monitoring government activities, the Saskatchewan Chamber is well aware of how programs, targets, and initiatives can disappear as the government’s priorities are altered and/or targets starts to appear unattainable. In an effort to ensure ongoing momentum towards the achievement of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth targets, the Chamber has developed a monitoring process. The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring that data on the Plan for Growth targets remains readily available and publically communicated. It is worth noting, to ensure clarity of our purpose, that the Chamber’s monitoring of the Plan for Growth is not in any way a challenge to the Plan itself or the efforts of the Province to achieve it. The simple fact that the government set out goals as broad and as long term as these is worthy of applause. The Chamber has endorsed the Plan and this monitoring effort is undertaken to support the achievement of the goals. Even when goals may be worked on but not fully achieved, the value of a dedicated effort towards a shared common goal is still significant. The information available in this monitoring report will be updated each year in April and every effort will be undertaken to ensure that the year-over-year data is easily comparable.
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS Targets This symbol indicates that progress is being made towards achieving this target. This symbol indicates that initial process was made but that it has now stopped
This symbol indicates that progress has not been made towards achieving this target.
This symbol indicates that a target has been achieved and no additional action is required. This symbol indicates that the Government is no longer attempting to achieve this target
Infrastructure Establish SaskBuilds
Transfer $150 million to the SaskBuilds Fund
Invest $2.5 billion over the next three years in infrastructure
Invest $344 million to add 12,600 new housing units by 2016
Progress Other Information SaskBuilds was established in October 2012.
A formal “SaskBuilds Fund,” has not been established and the province has decided that a formal fund is not the route they intend to take. Despite the decision not to establish a formal fund the province is continuing to move forward with P3s and will dedicate funds to them as necessary. Budget 2015/16 allocated $1.3 billion for infrastructure expenditures. This amount combined with the $886.9 million in 2014/15 and $847.5 million in 2013/14 brings the three year total to $3.03 billion. Budget 2015/16 included $800,000 to support the Rental Construction Incentive (RCI) and the Affordable Home Ownership Program. Also, the province continues to support the federal/provincial Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement (the second year of a five-year extension). This Agreement brings $9.19 million of federal funding to Saskatchewan that must be matched by the Province on a 50-50 basis. The largest investment in affordable housing mentioned in the Growth Plan is the over $200
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS million represented by the HeadStart on a Home program (an immigrant investor program that provides low interest loans to builders). The federal government has cancelled the immigrant investor program, but HeadStart on a Home will continue to operate for the next four years as the immigrant investor program is phased out.
Progress Other Information
1.2 million people living in Saskatchewan by 2020
As of October 1, 2014, there were 1,129,899 people living in Saskatchewan, up from 1,114,170 in October 2013. This represents an increase of 15,729, an amount above the annual increase of 14,300 necessary to achieve this target by 2020. The population increased by 19,797 from 2012 to 2013.
Increase the cap on provincial immigrant nominees from 4,000 to 6,000
The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program received an increase of 775 people in December 2014 which brought the annual nomination level up to 5,500.
Labour Force 60,000 more people working in Saskatchewan by 2020 (this would reflect an approximate workforce of 600,000)
Education Lead the country in Grade 12 graduation rates by 2020 3|Page
Progress Other Information
According to Statistics Canada, as of September 2014 the Saskatchewan workforce was 566,700, an increase of 11,200 over September 2013 (555,500 persons employed) and an increase of 25,900 over September 2012 (540,800 persons employed).
Progress Other Information
According to the report Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2014, Saskatchewan ranks eighth among Canadian provinces in high school completion. This ranking has remained unchanged since 2012.
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS
Reduce the difference in graduation rates between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students
Eliminate the waiting list for Adult Basic Education programs by the end of 2015 Provide a new “Saskatchewan’s International Future Scholarship” to 20 Saskatchewan students annually to study business at an international institution if they return to Saskatchewan for at least five years after they graduate
Eliminate wait times in emergency rooms by 2017
According to Ministry of Education’s data the graduation rate for Aboriginal students who graduated Grade 12 within three years of starting Grade 10 was 40.3% in 2013-14. This rate includes all students in the province (those attending schools in provincial school divisions, First Nations schools, and independent schools). The 2010/11 data for off-reserve First Nations students was used for the generation of this goal, which at that time had a graduation rate of 30%.
Budget 15/16 increased the province’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) investment by $600,000 (to a total of $25 million) adding 200 ABE seats for an estimated total program capacity of 8,780 seats. Despite these increases, the waitlist remains.
The 2014-15 budget included $2.1 million in new funding to add 700 seats for ABE. This is in addition to the 300 seats added in Budget 2013-14. Commitment to the implementation of an annual International Future Scholarship was reiterated in the government’s 2014 International Education Strategy but it has not been funded yet.
Progress Other Information
Budget 2015-16 earmarked $4.0 million to reduce emergency department wait times and improve patient flow. This is the same amount budgeted in 2014-15, which included $1.7 million for an emergency department wait time initiative, $800,000 to develop a program to provide house calls to seniors with complex needs, and $1.5 million for implementation of the “hotspotting” concept (frequent users). The province has also indicated that they are developing baseline measurements to track progress.
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS
Reduce surgical wait times to no more than three months by 2014
Deliver on a targeted 15 per cent reduction in the size of the public service by 2013-14
Between November 1 and January 31, 2015, more than 89.8% of patients received their surgery, or an offer of surgery, within three months. The four-year Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative concluded in March 2014 but wait time information is continuing to be updated and the government is continuing to dedicate resources, including $48.8 million in Budget 2015-16, to maintain this standard.
Progress Other Information
This goal was initially introduced in Budget 2010-11 as a four year objective with an aim of achieving a 15% reduction in the public service by 2014-15. The planned reduction was based on the number of Full Time Equivalent employees (FTEs) in 2009-10 which was 12,677.2. In Budget 2014-15 the government budgeted for 10,945 FTEs, representing a reduction of 13.6%. At one point the government did achieve slightly better than the 13.6% reduction as they added 127 positions in 2013. In Budget 2015-16 the government budgeted 10,995.4 FTEs, an increase of 50 from the previous year. These changes put the FTE number at 13.3% less than 2009/10.
Maintain a target amount of $500 million in the Growth and Financial Security Fund with any excess amounts used to invest in infrastructure and reduce debt
According to the 3rd Quarter forecast the closing balance for the Growth and Financial Security Fund at the end of the 2014/15 fiscal year will be $191 million, down from $531.3 million at year end 2013/14. The withdrawal in 2014-15 was used to assist with disaster recovery and to offset the drop in oil revenue.
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS
Cut the provincial debt in half from its 2007 level by 2017
To determine whether the province is accomplishing this goal, the SCC has decided to use the debt number reported on the Summary Financial Statements for general public debt issued by the GRF and other government service organizations (not including government business enterprises). In 2007 this debt was 7.63 billion (therefore the government’s target is $3.815 billion). On March 31, 2015 this debt was $4.48 billion, up slightly from the $4.39 billion reported in 2014.
Continue to balance the budget every year
On the summary financial statements Budget 2015/16 is forecasting a surplus of $107 million. Based on the 2014/15 third quarter forecast the province will end the year with a surplus of $40 million, similar to 2012-13 when the province reported a surplus of $37 million.
Business Lower the corporate business tax rate from 12 to 10 per cent by 2015
After originally announcing this change for implementation in Budget 2013/14. The Government has failed to implement it in any of following budgets.
Double the value of Saskatchewan’s exports by 2020 ($59 billion by 2020)
Saskatchewan exports hit a record $35.12 billion for 2014, up 8.9% over the $32.25 billion recorded 2013 and 19% over the $29.5 billion recorded in 2011.
Increase crop production by 10 million tonnes by 2020
Statistics Canada’s November production survey of principal field crops estimates Saskatchewan 2014 production at 30.7 mmt (million metric tonnes) this is down from the 38.4 mmt reported in November 2013 but still up from 26.0 mmt in November 2012.
Increase exports of agricultural and food products from $10 billion in 2011 to $15 billion in 2020
Saskatchewan exported $13.9 billion in agricultural and agri-food products in 2014. This represents a 19% increase from the $11.7 billion exported in 2013.
Progress Other Information
MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS MONITORING AND EVALUATING FOR RESULTS The Saskatchewan Heritage Initiative Establish this initiative to identify
Progress Other Information
The Saskatchewan Heritage options and provide advice to the Initiative Government of Saskatchewan for how best to utilize Establish this initiative to identify Saskatchewan’s non-renewable options and provide advice to the natural resource revenue after the Government of Saskatchewan province’s debt has been fully for how best to utilize retired Saskatchewan’s non-renewable natural resource revenue after the province’s debt has been fully retired
On November 12, 2013 Peter MacKinnon, former President of the University of Saskatchewan, a report to the provincial government on Progress presented Other Information the establishment of the Saskatchewan Futures Fund. On November 12,has 2013 Peter MacKinnon, The government accepted MacKinnon’sformer President of the University of Saskatchewan, recommendations, but no decision has been made yet presented reportthe to the provincial on when toalaunch Futures Fund.government on the establishment of the Saskatchewan Futures Fund. The government has accepted MacKinnon’s recommendations, but no decision has been made yet on when to launch the Futures Fund.
The 22 goals identified in the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth will build a strong future for the province. In some instances the targets for the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth are still Summary five years away, while others have reached their expiration date. We understand that achieving many of these goals will take time and that the status of those already expired The continue 22 goals identified the Saskatchewan Planwill for Growth will a strong future for will to change.in Therefore, the Chamber continue, onbuild an annual basis, to assess the province. In some instances the targets for the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth are still the Plan’s success to date against the progress being made not against the strict five years away, whileIn others havewhere reached their expiration date.made We understand achievement of goals. instances progress has not been or where it that has achieving many of these goals will take time and that the status of those already expired stalled, our organization will look to ignite forward movement through meetings, will continue to change. Therefore, the Chamber will continue, an annual basis, to assess communications, policy recommendations, and other applicableonrecourses. the Plan’s success to date against the progress being made not against the strict achievement of goals. In instances where progress has not been made or where it has stalled, our organization will look to ignite forward movement through meetings, communications, policy recommendations, and other applicable recourses.
7 | P a g e Kudos for Bravery: SCC Past Chair Bruce Anderson performed an impromptu hoop dance at a Saskatchewan Polytechnic dinner recently, after receiving guidance from First Nations hoop dancer Jacob Pratt. 7|Page
ADVOCACY in ACTION By Curtis Hemming, Director of Government Relations On April 9th the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce held its annual Make a Connection Reception at the Royal Regina Golf Club, 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 people who attend this event are the ones that implement the policy decisions made by our MLAs. The turnout this year was the highest it has been in the history of the event, so we will look to expand it even further next year. We are also looking to create a new event for later this year which will be a more formal event where
business leaders meet with provincial Deputy Ministers for dinner and to discuss timely issues. There is a lot of support for this new event, so we expect to move forward with planning it over the next couple months. Also in the next while, we will be hosting another series of policy discussion roundtables across the province to get more grassroots input from our members and local Chambers about the issues they are facing in their communities. We went to Swift Current, Regina, Saskatoon, and Weyburn last November to do roundtables, so we are looking forward to visiting Yorkton on May 12 and Humboldt on May 13 to do two more sessions with our business members, as well as the members of the local Chambers in those communities.
ADVOCACY in ACTION (cont’d) Finally, this year is going to particularly busy for the Sask Chamber because there is going to be a federal election and potentially also a provincial election.
With the reality of possibly having two elections this year, we are going to be doing a lot more work with the media to make sure your voice is heard amidst all of the campaigning.
During every election we put a lot of time and money into promoting the views of Saskatchewan’s business community so that all of the candidates and the public are kept informed on our positions.
We released our provincial/federal election strategy document called OnTrack 2016, on May 6th at the Conference on Business.
IMAGES FROM MAKE A CONNECTION RECEPTION
Strategic Business Overview & Procurement Forum Learn about Saskatchewan infrastructure plans and how to do business with government. Saskatchewan is investing in infrastructure for a growing province. More than $3.3 billion in infrastructure projects were announced in Saskatchewan’s 2015-16 budget, ranging from power generation facilities to telecommunications networks, schools, highways and hospitals. The forum will provide an opportunity to learn more about the major infrastructure plans around information technology, construction, engineering and manufacturing services of Saskatchewan Crown corporations and ministries. There will also be a chance to network and to learn “how to do business” with the Crowns and ministries. Current participants include SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SaskWater, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, Ministry of Central Services, Priority Saskatchewan and Global Transportation Hub Authority. For updates or more information, please visit economy.gov.sk.ca/procurement-forum or call 306-933-7209. Register online at: http://tickets.saskatoonex.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=35
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hall A Prairieland Park Saskatoon, SK Tickets (includes lunch)
$35/person $190/table of 6
Members in The News By Elissa LaLiberte, Director of Membership Engagement
Saskatchewan Polytechnic held the President’s Partnership Awards 2015 on May 2nd at their Saskatoon Campus. We are so pleased to congratulate our members, Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina, Cameco Corporation, as well as our very own, Steve McLellan! Dr. Vianne Timmons accepted the Program Partnership Award on behalf of the University of Regina. Cameco Corporation’s Alice Wong accepted the Industry Partnership Award and Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce accepted the Alumni Partnership Award. To read more about the awards click here.
Members: Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel, recipient of the Tourism Employer of the Year Award and LB Distillers, recipient of the Business of the Year Award (under 20 full-time employees). The Tourism Saskatchewan media release can be found here.
Last month we congratulated our members for being among Canada’s BEST Managed Companies (April action! online!) but we neglected to recognize Partner Technologies Incorporated. Partner Technologies Incorporated is a new Platinum Club Member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, congratulations to PTI on this achievement.
In March, South West Terminal Ltd (SWT) announced 2 new projects in Saskatchewan. The first project is an approximately $2.3M investment in a new crop inputs facility near Wymark, SK. This facility is slated to have a 5,000 square foot chemical shed, an 1,800MT volumetric fertilizer blending plant and an office building. The second project is an approximately $1.8M investment in the construction of a new office building at the Antelope site near Gull Lake, SK. To learn about how SWT is preparing for their continued growth and to read the press release in its entirety click here.
Athabasca Basin Development announced in April that they have increased ownership into West Wind Aviation from 29% to 54.85%. These additional shares were purchased from Meadow Lake Tribal Council Resource Development. To read the complete media announcement click here. On April 16th CN announced a multi-year, $500-million capital program to upgrade Western Canada feeder rail lines in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Claude Mongeau, president and CEO, said: “CN is building for the future with large capital investments in long-term safety and capacity improvements to ensure it continues to play its role as a true backbone of the economy.” CN has seen freight volumes in Western Canada increase by more than 50 percent in the past five years. Click here to read more about their announcement. The 26th Annual Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala was held on April 16th in Saskatoon. We would like to applaud all of the award recipients and finalists but would like to offer special recognition to the following Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
Two SCC members made Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list – congratulations! The complete listing of recipients is listed here. #12 Weyerhaeuser Co. #40 Mosaic Company
Square One celebrated its 1st Anniversary on April 1st. Over the past year Square One has assisted over 5,000 Saskatchewan entrepreneurs! To learn more about what Square One has to offer please visit their website at www.squareonesask.ca Saskatchewan Credit Unions are accepting cash donations on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross to help those in Nepal who were affected by the devastating earthquake. Donations can be made at participating Saskatchewan credit unions between April 29th and May 29th, 2015. You may also make donations online at www. redcross.ca or by calling 1.800.418.1111. Got news? Has your company done something that you’d like to see in this column? Just email Elissa LaLiberte at [email protected]
-- we’d love to shine a spotlight on your achievements!
By Jesse Chatterson, Director of Membership Sales
Welcome to our new members!
South Saskatchewan Community Foundation Regina www.sscf.ca Envirotech Services Incorporated Saskatoon www.envirotec.ca X Tech Business Solutions Inc. Regina www.xtechsk.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! • • • • • • •
KPMG Saskatoon Funeral Home North Prairie Developments Conseil de la Coopertion de la Saskatchewan Co-operators Life Insurance Company Genome Prairie Saskatchewan Research Council
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Essence Recruitment Employment Network Credit Union Centre Axon Development Corp Innovation Place Mr. RV Sunrise Wellness Spa John Becker Consulting Maxim Chemical International Nexans Canada Pro AV Ramada Hotel Sheraton Cavalier Carlton Trail Railway Company P&H Milling Group Don Olah Diplomat Steakhouse Akzo Nobel Chemicals
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Beer Bros Rosenau Transport Edge Immigration Webb’s Office Equipment Alto Construction Affinity Credit Union Bamboo Shoots SNC Lavalin Sifto Canada Progressive Discover-E Inc. Leon’s Manufacturing Bahm’s Auto Service Dr. Beny Supreme Office Supplies True North Seed Furman IP Law
Students across Saskatchewan are benefiting from the support of local business communities for the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program Submitted by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association The Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program reflects Aboriginal cultures and is designed to encourage attendance and engagement among First Nations and Métis students. Students involved are connected with mentors from local business communities who advise them on entrepreneurial projects. The innovative program, developed by the Martin Aboriginal Education initiative, is being championed in the province by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, along with funding partners PotashCorp and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. “We are continuing to hear success stories as the AYEP continues in its second year of operations across the province,” said SSBA President Connie Bailey. “The program is facilitating new ways for schools, students and the business community to come together.” Jori Cachene, an AYEP teacher at Scott Collegiate in Regina, said students learn about communication, research, marketing and business development, and work with mentors to refine their approaches. “What we’re doing here is providing for those relationships to happen. It’s beneficial for the students and the mentors. The mentors feel like what they’re doing here is making a difference,” Cachene said. Enrollment in the program more than doubled for its second year, 2014-15. Students both on- and off-reserve are involved. “The expertise of business and industry partners in this program, combined with a focus on Aboriginal culture, is critical to the program’s success,” Bailey said. “Ultimately, this success contributes to Saskatchewan’s growth.” Donnie MacKay, managing director of Greystone Managed Investments and one of the mentors involved in the AYEP at Scott, said he enjoys helping the students learn about their own passions and interests.
“It’s a great opportunity when you see the wheels turn and the kids get creative about something. It can be pretty exciting,” MacKay said. “You can actually see change and see results.” Reid Stewart, a teacher from Sakewew High School in North Battleford, said he has noticed improvements in engagement among the students involved in the AYEP. “The things that we do in this class are things that students are going to remember years down the road, and what I’ve noticed is the confidence level of the students really soar. That’s been the most inspiring thing for me to see,” Stewart said. Stewart recently partnered with Kevin Spahich, a teacher from Eagleview Comprehensive in Onion Lake, to provide a unique opportunity to their AYEP students – a joint field trip to Lloydminster, where the local chamber presented to both classes about the business community. Individual successes are being realized, as well. One of Spahich’s students, Joshua Hill from the Onion Lake Cree Nation, was recently awarded $5,000 from the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association for an essay on financial literacy. Ryan Missens, a student from Bert Fox Community High School in Fort Qu’Appelle, said the AYEP is one of the most interesting classes he has ever taken. “You don’t just read or listen to the teacher in the classroom, you get out in the community to meet and work with local business owners and managers – people in the field who are living this every day,” Missens said.
The team at Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon, led by General Manager Dale Grant, accepted the Tourism Employer of the Year Award at the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence on April 16th, 2015. 2nd from left is Shawna Nelson, the 1st Vice-Chair for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, and Director of Sales & Marketing for the Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon.
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WCB15 CongratsAdChamber 1.5_Layout 1 2015-04-20 12:19 PM Page 1
Above left to right:
IS THEIR MISSION WorkSafe Saskatchewan congratulates the 2015 Safe Worker & Safe Employer
Safe Employer Winners:
Safe Worker Winner:
The 2015 WorkSafe Saskatchewan Safe Employer Award was presented to R.H. Electric Ltd. of Yorkton and the 2015 Safe Worker Award was presented to Lorna Hamilton of the Kelsey Trail Health Region. These awards are given annually to recognize outstanding employers and individuals who strive every day to make Mission: Zero a reality in Saskatchewan. To nominate someone for the 2016 Safe Worker or Safe Employer Awards, visit www.worksafesask.ca.
SCC Policy: Ownership of Saskatchewan Farmland by Canada Pension Plans Background Within Canada and in many places around the world, there is a growing interest toward investing in Saskatchewan farmland. Saskatchewan’s booming economy, a growing global demand for food, rising commodity prices, and relatively cheap land prices have created an attractive opportunity for pension funds to invest in farmland while generating an attractive rate of return. The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act and Regulations however, restricts the ownership of farmland by a “non-resident person” or a “non-Canadian-owned entity” to a maximum of ten acres, unless special permission is granted by the Farm Land Security Board. The ownership restrictions in the Act apply to “land holdings,” which include: ownership of farmland, any interest in farmland held under an agreement to purchase or lease, an interest in a limited partnership that has land holdings, and any interest in farmland held under an agreement that may directly or indirectly confer the right of possession or ownership, or any right or control ordinarily held by the owner of farmland. Furthermore, the definition of “Canadian-owned entity” used in the Act is quite restrictive, and therefore prevents many structures from being used as investment vehicles. Saskatchewan’s Farm Land Security Board does allow exemptions to the ownership restriction, but only after it fully considers factors such as the public interest, the potential impact to Saskatchewan, and the specific circumstances of the applicant.
Issue The current Act has been in place in some form since 1974, with the most recent amendments relating to farm ownership restrictions being implemented in 2002. The original intent of the provincial government in enacting this legislation was to encourage and support young farmers and ensure stability in Saskatchewan’s agricultural sector by keeping the price of farmland down. This has resulted in a negative impact on land values which might be inadvertently hurting those farmers the legislation was expected to help. Some issues for consideration: 1) Farmers, both young and old, who are wanting to expand or diversify their farms often have limited capital with which to finance new opportunities as they arise. Young farmers also realize that if land values are kept artificially low it may not benefit them when they eventually look to sell their land in the future. 2) Immigrants moving to Canada to farm will consider a number of different factors when deciding where to locate. While price is a consideration, a great deal of emphasis is also placed on the likelihood of farmland increasing in value rather than decreasing or staying the same. 3) Farmers wishing to retire or downsize are being denied the benefit of price increases and access to a larger market of interested buyers that would have normally been available to them if there were not artificial restrictions on farmland ownership in place. 4) Younger farmers in particular might also lack the money to purchase new equipment and the ability to work with an expanded base of buyers could allow for greater flexibility in terms of expanding their farming options, including custom farming and renting land, to increase their income.
Policy: Ownership of Saskatchewan Farmland (cont’d) 5) The implementation of innovative and productivity-enhancing initiatives such as extensive irrigation systems involve significant amounts of capital investment that often require a longer-term outlook. These kinds of investments are something that farmers in their later years of active farming either cannot or are often not willing to pay for. Some argue that the restrictions on farmland ownership are in place to ensure a viable rural population. Although the declining populations in many of Saskatchewan’s rural areas is a legitimate concern, it is unlikely that the repopulation of rural Saskatchewan is helped at all by the current farmland ownership laws. Removal of these restrictions could help reduce the decline of rural populations by enhancing investment and farming opportunities for people wanting to farm land they own or access. It could also create a more attractive atmosphere for investment in other local projects or business ventures, which in turn would increase revenue to farmers, as well as to local businesses, local communities, cities and ultimately the province. Opening up one of Saskatchewan’s most attractive assets classes to reliable, long-term investors could create spinoff benefits in terms of increased visibility of the broader investment opportunities available in Saskatchewan. Also, by allowing pension funds and other sources of “patient capital” to invest in Saskatchewan farmland, there is the potential to generate additional revenue from the land by encouraging more long-term improvements such as irrigation systems. With the exception of Prince Edward Island, all provinces and the federal government have legislation by which registered pension plans must abide. These various pieces of legislation work to ensure the legitimacy of the Canadian and provincially-based pension plans. Only plans registered with the appropriate authorities under such legislation within Canada, and whose contributors are majority Canadians, should be eligible to invest in Saskatchewan farmland. A survey of the Saskatchewan Chamber’s business members in March 2015 found that 74% of respondents felt that Canadian and Saskatchewan-based pension plans should be allowed to invest in Saskatchewan farmland. This shows that there is clear support for amending the current legislation to allow for greater ownership by pension plans that are registered either in Saskatchewan or other Canadian provinces. A registered Canadian pension plan, with the majority of contributors being Canadian, is essentially a group of Canadians joining together to invest in farmland. As such, a pension plan should be eligible to invest in Saskatchewan farmland if it is both registered in Canada according to the applicable legislation, and also made up of a majority of Canadian contributors.
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Recommendations 1) That the Government of Saskatchewan amend The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act to reduce or remove the current farmland ownership restrictions for Canadian and Saskatchewan-based pension plans. 2) That the Government of Saskatchewan provide additional clarity on ownership rules in The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act and/or its Regulations by defining eligible pension plans as those that are registered within Canada and also made up of a majority of Canadian contributors. REGINA CHAMBER EVENT: The Regina Chamber of Commerce is holding Emerging Labour Force Trends May 20th at the Queensbury Centre in Regina. To register, contact Kali Bourhis at [email protected]
com or call her at 306.757.4645.
Sask Chamber supports Service Excellence Mike Tory from Living Sky Winery accepted the Service Excellence Award, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, at the 26th annual Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala recently. Presenting the award was Sask Chamber 1st Vice-Chair Shawna Nelson.
APEGS and the SASKATCHEWAN CHAMBER of COMMERCE invite you to a breakfast to celebrate
MINING WEEK IN SASKATCHEWAN With speaker Lawrence Berthelet, Director Capital Expansion, Mosaic Company, presenting information on the K3 Expansion Project 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Blue Lounge, Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza, Regina $25 per person To register, contact Angela Foster at 306.525.9547; [email protected]
no later than May 21st, 2015.
WCB Annual Report shows continued commitment to Mission: Zero, provides rebates to employers The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2014 Annual Report has been tabled in the provincial legislature, and WCB Chair Gord Dobrowolsky said last year’s operating results are a positive indicator of the organization’s continued dedication to improving service to workers and employers in Saskatchewan. “Our compensation system is based on a historic compromise which guarantees the protection of both injured workers and their employers,” Dobrowolsky said. “For injured workers this system guarantees certain benefits and services and for employers it guarantees protection from lawsuit and ensures effective and efficient administration of the compensation system.” Dobrowolsky noted that one of the most important indicators of the 2014 operating results is the fact that workplace injury rates continue to decline. But he cautioned that more than ever, the focus must remain on Mission: Zero and our target of zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero suffering. WCB CEO Peter Federko attributed the decrease in injury rates to employers and workers in the province who continue to commit themselves to workplace safety. Federko also noted improvements to the return to work rate and a fully funded position as examples of results of a positive fiscal 2014. Financially, 2014 represented another stable year for the WCB. Financial statements show a comprehensive income of $97.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2014. Strong investment returns, continued payroll growth, and reduced claims activity all contributed to the operating results. The result of accumulated surpluses was a funded position of 132.2% at December 31, 2014, exceeding the upper threshold of the Board’s funding policy. For the first time since 2001 and to comply with policy, the WCB will provide a surplus distribution to eligible employers in 2015 as a result of higher than expected investment returns.
SCC Policy: Implementation of the Northern Business Task Force Recommendations Background The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s Northern Business Task Force is a group that was formed to discuss current and future issues and opportunities in Saskatchewan’s remote northern areas and make appropriate recommendations to ensure that the potential of the region is realized. The group generated a series of recommendations to focus attention on some of the key issues and opportunities in Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities, as well as address particular issues. The group recognized that this is not a comprehensive list of solutions and that there are many paths which could be taken to achieve the same goals and a thorough evaluation of each should be conducted to determine the best courses of action. However, regardless of the actions that are undertaken, the broader goal should be to ensure that the chosen actions are carried out in an expedient way, with sufficient resources being allocated to get tangible results.
Issue In Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities, nearly all people and businesses pay more each month for electricity than in southern communities. This is primarily because the usage of electricity is much greater; houses and other structures in the north are often poorly insulated and have been built using lower-quality construction materials, additionally water and sewer lines are improperly insulated leading to additional warming requirements. Similar challenges are not experienced in other regions to the same extent. In addition to higher energy consumption, SaskPower currently charges rural electricity rates (E03 billing code) to residents and businesses operating on reserves instead of using urban rates (E02 billing code) this does not always make sense as a large number of reserves have a higher population than many towns and villages throughout Saskatchewan. SaskPower’s basic monthly utility fee for rural properties is approximately 30% greater than for urban properties, plus the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity is slightly higher as well. When those higher costs are combined with the inherent energy inefficiencies, the resulting high electricity costs create a significant competitive barrier for the region. Also a competitive challenge for the north is travel in and out. Many communities in Saskatchewan’s remote northern areas rely heavily upon ice roads in the winter months for transporting freight to those areas. Ice roads have had a fixed closure day in Saskatchewan based on government policy regardless of weather conditions. When every additional day or week of ice road access can mean significantly reduced transportation costs for businesses operating in Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities this policy is not the most practical. Also related to transportation, the investment in northern roads is critical. Although the provincial Ministry of Highways annual budget does include northern road maintenance, prudent decisions tends to allocate large infrastructure tax dollars towards getting the greatest results for the taxpayer investments (i.e. regions of greater economic activity). Despite the budgeting pressures governments always face, there is still a need for the Government of Saskatchewan to commit to increasing the annual budget for northern road maintenance and construction by a meaningful amount every year to allow some longer term, economically important projects to be completed over several fiscal years. This includes funding to build the all-weather Garson Lake Road from La Loche to Fort McMurray and all-weather road from Highway 905 to Wollaston Lake. Beyond direct infrastructure considerations, education is another area where there is potential for enhancement in northern Saskatchewan. There is an opportunity to better inform northern Saskatchewan high school students about opportunities for their future employment throughout the province, as well as
Policy: Northern Business Task Force Recommendations (cont’d) the kinds of training they will need to receive in order to be qualified for those jobs, so enhanced career counselling is an important component of this. In addition, northern students should have the training opportunities to take advantage of more career opportunities. The expansion of such training programs, which should start in educational areas that have strong linkages to employment opportunities, would require a significant expansion of distance education courses and the construction of appropriate new training facilities in Saskatchewan’s north. Part of the facilitation of enhanced distance learning is the improvement of internet coverage in remote northern Saskatchewan. Internet capacity in this region is already being used at close to existing capacity, so even if the capacity is expanded slightly in the near future, there will not be enough to accommodate the growing need. Access to high quality broadband and cellular services is a vital part of doing business, so the provision of this service should be treated with the same priority as providing electricity to remote areas. The availability of low-cost nutritional food is another issue facing northern Saskatchewan residents. There is a significant increase in prices as the products travel farther north, the federal government operates the Nutrition North Canada program to help offset some of these costs, however the benefits Saskatchewan communities receive are lower than those received in other northern Canadian communities. The expansion of this subsidy would allow businesses operating in remote northern communities to receive more substantial subsidies to offset their costs to transport healthy food items to those locations and therefore lower the food costs to residents. As illustrated above, there are many organizations, including but not limited to the provincial government, federal government and Crown corporations, that are involved in providing necessary infrastructure and services to northern Saskatchewan. This division of services sometimes creates a lack of communication about respective projects, which results in varying degrees of overlap between the activities. By communicating more clearly with each other when planning and carrying out projects, duplication of many project elements can be significantly reduced or eliminated and new opportunities can be identified. As a core component of increasing cooperation between Crowns and Ministries, the Premier and Ministers with relevant portfolios should complete tour of Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities to gain a firsthand understanding of the issue and potential found in the region.
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Recommendation 1) That the Government of Saskatchewan, working with SaskPower, increase efforts to encourage energy efficiency. 2) That SaskPower change all northern communities from E03 electricity rate code to E02 code. 3) That the Government of Saskatchewan adjust ice road closure dates on an annual basis. 4) That the Government of Saskatchewan increase the provincial budget for northern roads by a meaningful amount every year. 5) That the Government of Saskatchewan build the all-weather Garson Lake Road from La Loche to Fort McMurray. 6) That the Government of Saskatchewan build an all-weather road from Highway 905 to Wollaston Lake. 7) That the Government of Saskatchewan work with the necessary education provider to increase awareness of career opportunities and training options among northern residents. 8) That the Government of Saskatchewan work with post-secondary educational institutions to ensure that educational opportunities and attainment standards are comparable to southern Saskatchewan. 9) That the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada, work with SaskTel to ensure comparable access to bandwidth and cellular coverage for northern communities. 10) That the Government of Canada increase Nutrition North Canada subsidy for healthy foods. 11) That the Government of Saskatchewan in partnership with the Crown Corporations continue to improve internal communication and cooperation between Crown Corporations and Ministries on northern issues. 12) That the Premier and appropriate Ministers visit Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities.
Why submit an ABEX Nomination?
Measure the ROI! The benefits are worth their weight in GOLD! Finalists
Mention in action! online (distribution: 1300+) Website recognition Inclusion in Finalist press release Inclusion in Post-Event press release Rights to use ABEX Finalist logo Rights to use ABEX Winner logo Winner photo in Leader Post/Star Phoenix Included in Sask Chamber Annual Report Video vignette played at ABEX and provided to you on DVD Exclusive pre-ABEX networking reception Limited edition artwork sponsored by Mosaic Speaking opportunity in front of 700+ business leaders at ABEX Cost to your business Value
Submit a nomination before June 30. www.saskchamber.com
SCC Policy: The Impact of Rail Access on Saskatchewan’s Export Potential Background In 2014, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce contracted the Conference Board of Canada to complete its first Saskatchewan Research Campaign project: The Impact of Rail Access on Export Potential. The project was designed to provide an outline of the current situation, an analysis of future demand, and recommended changes. On March 30, 2015 the report was released with nine recommendations.
Issue Saskatchewan boasts a strong and growing economy; over the last decade, Saskatchewan’s growth has exceeded the national average seven times. The Conference Board of Canada has forecast that Saskatchewan’s long-term growth will continue to be greater than Canada overall between 2014 and 2035. This growth, however, depends upon international exports. For example, in 2013 Saskatchewan had over $32 billion in exports, or the equivalent of 40 per cent its nominal GDP. While exports are critically important to Saskatchewan’s economy, getting them to market is a great challenge. Ocean transport is the cheapest form of bulk freight transport, but as a landlocked province Saskatchewan is thousands of kilometers away from major international ports. As such, rail transportation is heavily relied upon. There are challenges with railway transportation, however. Often, the availability of rail transportation does not meet shipper demand. For example, 2013-14 was a record year for crop production, but railway capacity was unable to meet the significant increase in shipper demand and farmers had to keep a large portion of the 2013 harvest in on-farm storage as grain elevators had also reached maximum capacity. This translated into a loss of anticipated income for farmers and reduced value of harvested crops.
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Recommendations 1) That the Government of Canada review the full impact of the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE). It has been 15 years since the MRE was implemented. (The MRE is a limit on the average revenue per tonne that railways can earn on the shipment of regulated grains from Western Canada to the Port of Thunder Bay or to ports in British Columbia.) 2) That the Government of Saskatchewan reduce fuel taxes to bring them in line with other provinces. Railways pay nearly $40 million in fuel taxes annually to the Saskatchewan government as a result of a particularly high provincial fuel tax per litre (15 cents per Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce 2015 Policy Resolution 2 litre). Producers rely on railways to get products to market, and this could reduce the cost of shipping products to and from the province by rail. 3) That private businesses focus on greater and timelier communication across the logistics supply chain. Better and timelier sharing of information can help shippers and railways prepare for disruptions. 4) That the Government of Saskatchewan increase their coordination with governments and infrastructure providers outside of the province. Saskatchewan and its economy has as direct an interest in investments and efficiencies at Port Metro Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Thunder Bay as it does in investments in freight infrastructure within the province. As a result, the Government of Saskatchewan has as much interest in being involved in supporting those investments either directly or indirectly. 5) That the Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Canada and private businesses, increase supply chain options and redundancy. For Saskatchewan – a province that is more landlocked than any other – any increased redundancy in terms of routing options to export markets is valuable.
Policy: The Impact of Rail Access on Saskatchewan’s Export Potential (cont’d) 6) That the Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada consider the full effects of legislative solutions while focusing efforts on long-term rather than short-term solutions. Government policies that dictate the minimum amount of grain to be moved may have unintended consequences. The possibility of such unintended consequences undermining supply chain efficiency should be considered and monitored. 7) That the Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada should investigate the barriers, financial or otherwise, to investing in more on-farm storage in order to determine the value in some solutions. The total capacity of on-farm grain storage is currently unknown, but the need for storage was quite evident during the 2013-14 crop year. 8) That the Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada make a concentrated effort to work through the political intricacies that have bottlenecked pipeline expansions and determine the impact, if any, on rail service for other commodities. The growing role played by rail transporting crude oil is largely as a result of current pipeline access becoming increasingly constrained. 9) That the Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada identify and remove the barriers to new hopper car purchasing, as it relates to potential ownership by railways, shippers, or third-parties. The grain hopper car fleet in Canada is aging and in need of replacement. Newer cars are both shorter and lighter and as a result contribute to an increase in the carrying capacity of approximately 25 per cent per train.
DATES to REMEMBER June 30th is the deadline to submit ABEX nominations for the 2015 ABEX Gala, which will be held at TCU Place on October 24th. Tickets are available today at www.saskchamber.com. The Saskatchewan Industrial & Mining Suppliers Association will hold a 2-day Pipeline Industry Overview in Saskatoon on May 12-13. To register, visit www.simsa.ca. The Regina Chamber of Commerce is holding Emerging Labour Force Trends May 20th at the Queensbury Centre in Regina. To register, contact Kali Bourhis at [email protected]
or call her at 306.757.4645. Don’t miss the Futurpreneur Skilled Trades workshop in Regina May 13th. Register at http://bit.ly/1cr6YZC. The Regina Chapter of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association is holding Mental Illness in the Workplace - A Worker’s Perspective on Thursday, May 21st at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina. To register, contact Ronni Nordal at Richmond Nychuk at [email protected]
or call 306.352.0202 prior to the deadline of May 16th. The 3rd annual Strategic Business Overview & Procurement Forum will be held in Saskatoon May 20th. Learn about Sask infrastructure plans and how to do business with government; visit http://economy. gov.sk.ca/procurement-forum to register!
action! online is a monthly membership e-publication of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
CHAMBER STAFF Steve McLellan CEO [email protected]
Kristin McKee Director of Policy Development [email protected]
Jesse Chatterson Director of Member Services [email protected]
Marilyn Leier Administrative Assistant [email protected]
Curtis Hemming Director of Government Relations [email protected]
Elissa LaLiberte Director of Membership Engagement [email protected]
Cindy Wright Director of Special Events [email protected]
Libbey Morin Research & Policy Analyst [email protected]
Dawn M. Barker Director of Communications [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) Greg Hanwell (Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli) Ricardo Silva (Quickthree Solutions) Sean Young (Young’s Equipment) Monica Kreuger (Global Infobrokers Inc.) Kendal Netmaker (Neechie Gear) Peter Clarke (Seed Hawk Inc.) Clayton Veresh (Deloitte LLP) Michael Cossar (Federated Co-operatives)
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