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IW Business Bulletin – March 25, 2022

Provincial budget announced

Saskatchewan’s 2022-23 Budget was tabled on Mar 23. by Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer. Forecasting a $463 million deficit for 2022-23, the budget saw revenue up $2.7 billion from the previous year with a total $17.2 billion forecast in the 2022-23 Budget.

Business highlights included:

  • $8.0 million for the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program for film and television,
  • $3.1 million for the International Trade and Investment Strategy to operate Saskatchewan’s international office network in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Vietnam, Japan, India, Singapore and China,
  • Expansion of the Saskatchewan Value-Added Agriculture Incentive to give producers a tax credit of up to 40 per cent for projects worth more than $600 million,
  • PST will be added to sporting events, concerts, museums, movies, gym memberships and green fees,
  • Innovation Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO), doing business as Innovation Place, will become one agency,
  • The Saskatchewan Technology Start-up Incentive (STSI) tax credit cap was increased to $3.5 million,
  • $2.0 million in new funding for the Global Institute for Food Security, and
  • the creation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC) to provide loan guarantees to Indigenous communities and organizations for equity investment in resource development projects.

CP Rail and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference agree on arbitration.

After a 48-hour work stoppage that began Mar. 19, CP Rail and its union, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), have agreed to upon a final and binding arbitration which ended stoppage on Mar. 22.

“The decision to agree to final and binding arbitration is not taken lightly,” said Dave Fulton, TCRC spokesperson at the bargaining table on Mar 22. “While arbitration is not the preferred method, we were able to negotiate terms and conditions that were in the best interest of our members. Our members will return to work at 12:00 (noon) local time today.”

“CP is pleased to have reached agreement with the TCRC Negotiating Committee to enter into binding arbitration and end this work stoppage,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel on Mar. 22. “This agreement enables us to return to work effective noon Tuesday local time to resume our essential services for our customers and the North American supply chain.”

SaskPower selects vendor for first battery energy storage system

Quebec-based On Power Systems Inc. has been chosen to build Saskatchewan’s first-ever utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS). The 20-megawatt SaskPower facility will be built in northeast Regina with completion anticipated in 2023.

“This new battery energy storage facility will be an important part of modernizing Saskatchewan’s power grid,” said Don Morgan, Minister responsible for SaskPower. “Innovative solutions such as battery energy storage will allow SaskPower to better utilize our renewable power, playing a vital role as we work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

The $26 million project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

Saskatchewan potash sector breaks record

The Government of Saskatchewan announced this week that the province’s potash sector hit a record high in 2021, seeing production hit 14.2 million tonnes equaling $7.6 billion in sales.

Saskatchewan is Canada’s only producer of potash, making up about 30 per cent of the world’s overall production.

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