Although the province has seen some economic growth the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has a few suggestions to keep the ball rolling and has some priorities for political parties and candidates ahead of the provincial election.

CEO Prabha Ramaswamy says Saskatchewan can become a better place to live, work and invest. She hopes those who are running in the election will have a look at their policy platform released today (Thurs). It has five pillars: competitive taxes, leveraging the resources we have like food, fuel, fertilizer, and critical minerals, attracting and growing investment, investing in green energy and Indigenous partnerships, and investing in infrastructure and the provincial workforce.

The Saskatchewan Chamber and its members would like to see the PST cut from 6 per cent to 5 per cent and for the corporate tax rate to by cut by 2 per cent to 10 per cent.
Right now, Alberta’s corporate tax rate is 8 per cent. Ramaswamy says this would increase competitiveness and over the long term, would also generate additional government revenues.The Chamber would also like to see a non-refundable tax credit of up to 50% for individuals and corporations.

Under the workforce banner, the Chamber would like to see timely processing of the increasing number of Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program applications and advocates for lowering the age of youth able to work to 13 and older, and applying age-appropriate changes to the Young Workers Readiness Certificate Course.

The platform’s five pillars and the recommendations:

Laying the Foundation for Growth: Competitive taxes and affordable living
Reduce the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) from 6% to 5%
Reduce the corporate income tax rate to 10%

Leveraging Our Strengths: Food, Fuel, Fertilizer (and critical minerals)
-Maintain a stable regulatory and royalty regime encouraging development and increased investment in Saskatchewan.
-Continue diversifying export markets for Saskatchewan’s mining products by exploring new trading partners and reducing reliance on traditional markets.
-Commit to implementing a strategy to ensure equity among the property classes to increase competitiveness and economic growth.
-Combine the resource class with the existing commercial/industrial class for Education Property Taxes and retain the latter’s lower mill rate of 6.86.
-Review/enhance Saskatchewan’s value-added agriculture incentive programs to ensure they remain competitive with other jurisdictions in North America.

Attract and Grow Investment
-Increase Saskatchewan’s red tape reduction savings target to between $20M and $40M annually.
-Create a government procurement policy that enables right-size opportunities for Saskatchewan companies.
-Implement a non-refundable tax credit of up to 50% for individuals and corporations. Eligible businesses must have less than 50 full-time employees and a minimum of 50% of employees must reside in the province.
-Undertake a thorough analysis of the local vendor supply chain to identify where local vendors may not have capacity to meet expectations, and develop plans including infrastructure investments, to address identified gaps.

Energy Transformation
-Increase support for research and development of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies.
-Create space to facilitate direct partnerships between private renewable energy generators, including Indigenous-owned power generators, and businesses that do not require Crown involvement.
-Expand incentives for Saskatchewan-based small and medium sized enterprises to reduce emissions and enhance the sustainability of their operations.

Invest in What Matters
-Ensure resources are available to support the timely processing of an expanding number of Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) applications.
-Find a balance between protecting youth and encouraging early labour force engagement. The Chamber recommends lowering the age that youth are able to work, to 13 years of age or above, and applying the appropriate changes to the Young Workers Readiness Certification Course.