Saskatchewan’s population growth rate during 2013 averaged 1.77 per cent, very close to the target set in the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce 2007 Growth Plan. The Growth Plan called for an annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent to reach 1.5 million residents by 2030.
“Six years ago this fall, when we released the Saskatchewan Growth Plan, most people said the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce was way off base to write such a bold prediction, because it had never been done,” said Saskatchewan Chamber CEO Steve McLellan. “I’m happy to note that this year, the province is very close to achieving that annual rate.
McLellan added that 2013 was also notable in other areas, including:
- the announcement of the ‘Student First’ review and the creation of a sector plan (the Chamber has advocated since 2007 for a K‐12 education review);
- the Province’s research on the potential for a heritage fund (a fund recommended by the Chamber);
- the elimination of three tiers for commercial properties when calculating the education portion of property taxes (simplification of property taxes is one of the Chamber’s policy priorities);
- introduction of The Saskatchewan Employment Act to make labour law more functional and streamlined.
Overall, a recent survey of Saskatchewan Chamber members showed positivity regarding the economic outlook for the province. Sixty one per cent of members who responded saw their business revenues increase in 2013. Eighty seven per cent of businesses said they retained the same or greater number of full‐time employees in 2013, and 85 per cent said they had the same or more part‐time employees as in 2012. This shows a very strong and stable labour market environment.
He added that the Chamber would be watching for the corporate tax cuts which were promised in the budget year to be implemented. As well, McLellan said the Chamber will be monitoring the development of The Saskatchewan Employment Act regulations, with particular interest in the OH&S area, where summary ticketing for select offences has been designated.
“In the coming year, we would like to see continued simplification of the property tax methodology,” and further streamlining of the immigration process, both of which make the province more attractive for employers to do business, and for workers to live in,” said McLellan.
“We should see continued population growth and an overall positive economic climate in 2014,” said McLellan.