On June 1, Saskatchewan Minister of Finance, Kevin Doherty, presented the Saskatchewan Party’s 2016 Budget. The Minister has referred to the new budget as a ‘bit tight’, referencing low oil and potash prices and costly natural disasters. Over the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Wall government will post a higher-than-forecasted deficit of $434 million, with a commitment to return the budget to balance by 2017-18. The 2016-17 budget includes no tax increases, controls spending, and invests in people and infrastructure.
Here is a brief overview of how this budget will affect PCA members doing work in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Party was re-elected in April to carry out their third consecutive term as a majority government. The government has spoken a lot about “transformational” change in the lead-up to the budget, marking a very different tone from the party’s “staying the course” message during the recent election campaign. The Saskatchewan Party’s recent election platform had few promises or new major commitments.
Budget 2016-17 provides more than $3.5 billion for infrastructure this year, the largest single-year capital investment in the province’s history. Nearly $1.8 billion will be invested by Saskatchewan commercial crown corporations (such as SaskEnergy, SaskTel and SaskPower) and more than $1.7 billion by executive government ministries and agencies this fiscal year
This budget provides significant investment into highways and transportation infrastructure, the largest capital spend in the province’s history for K to 12 schools and other education capital, and strong commitments to health care infrastructure. Over the next 4 years the government has committed $5.5 billion to infrastructure
Education and Training
Training program funding has been reduced, notably the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission and Apprenticeship Training Allowance. The Commission’s budget has been reduced by $1.0 million to just over $22 million and the Allowance has been reduced by $500,000 to about $2.7 million in 2016-17. The government’s rational for reduced spending is that it more accurately reflects the program’s needs and aligns it with 6,700 training seats
In 2016-17, $25.8 million is budgeted for capital in the area of Advanced Education and Training, with the four-year plan estimated to provide almost $170 million to the sector
The 2016-17 budget includes an increase to the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant of $2.4 million to $6.4 million to provide training that aligns with employer needs. The budget also provides for the continuation of 9,000 Adult Basic Education training opportunities
Bottom line for PCA members
The 2016-17 is a bit of a mixed bag for PCA members. The Brad Wall government is grappling with lower-than-expected revenues due to low oils and potash prices, while seeking to stimulate economic activity through increased infrastructure investment.
The record increased spending on infrastructure particularly in 2016-17, should mean more opportunities for PCA member companies working in Saskatchewan. The Canada-Saskatchewan job grant received a significant increase, which is positive news.
However, the reduced funding for the Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission and Apprenticeship Training Allowance will mean fewer dollars for training.
You can find all the relevant budget documents here.
For more information on what the 2016 Saskatchewan Budget could mean for you and your business, or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Darrel Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org.