April 6, 2021
‘Strong capital plan’ key to Saskatchewan’s pandemic economic recovery
Capital investment of $3.1 billion in 2021-2022 budget to spur economy and create jobs
Saskatchewan will invest a record $6.54 billion in health care, as well as $3.1 billion in capital projects to protect people and pave the way for economic recovery as the province emerges from the pandemic.
“While Saskatchewan’s economy has fared better than most . . . the pandemic has still had a significant impact on the province’s economy and finances,” said Finance Minister Donna Harpauer as she tabled the province’s 2021-2022 budget
“Our government has set a course to meet the fiscal challenge. We will manage carefully — without reckless cuts or large tax increases that would threaten both the pandemic response and a strong recovery.”
Along with health, the budget will make record investments in education ($3.75 billion) and social services ($1.56 billion), including increasing maximum payments by $30 a month for low-income seniors starting July 1. Taxation will be added on vapour products and heat-not-burn tobacco products, as well as a road use fee for electric vehicles at the time of registration.
Saskatchewan has a multi-year budget of $4.8 billion towards COVID-19 support and recovery measures, with $1.5 billion set aside this year.
The budget estimates revenues of $14.5 billion, $17.1 billion in expenditures and a deficit of $2.6 billion in 2021-2022. A return to balanced budgets is anticipated in 2026-2027. Saskatchewan’s real GDP is forecast to grow 3.4 per cent in 2021.
“As Saskatchewan emerges from the pandemic, growth and a strong capital plan will be the foundation of our province’s economic recovery,” Harpauer said. “This budget provides $3.1 billion in capital investment to further stimulate the economy and to support more than 17,500 jobs.”
- $162 million in health care capital, including:$7.6 million for the 80-bed La Ronge long-term care facility;
- $3.6 million for the future Grenfell long-term care facility;
- Planning stage investment of $550,000 for new Watson and Estevan long-term care facilities;
- $500,000 of planning dollars for replacement of long-term care beds in Regina;
- $5.7 million for Urgent Care Centres in Regina and Saskatoon;
- $1.4 million for Weyburn Hospital planning; and
- $1.4 million for ongoing work on the program and design plans for Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital.
- $830 million for operating, maintaining, building and improving Saskatchewan’s roads and highways, up $115 million compared to last year. This includes $520 million for:The start of twinning work on Highway 3 west of Prince Albert. Design is scheduled to occur in 2021 with the contract being tendered this fall and completion in fall 2022;
- Multiple passing-lane projects on Highways 2, 3, 12, 14 and 16;
- Three sets of passing lanes on Highway 7;
- Two sets of passing lanes and widening on Highway 5;
- Completing passing lanes and other improvements on Highway 39;
- $44.5 million to rehabilitate or replace 14 bridges and multiple culverts;
- More than $33 million in transfers related to municipal infrastructure; and
- $530,000 for a new Short-line Rail Infrastructure Program.
- Nearly $190 million for education capital, up $22.3 million, compared to last year. This includes:Nearly $102 million to support 21 ongoing capital projects that will build 16 new schools and renovate five more;
- Construction of a new elementary school in Weyburn will be completed this year; and
- Construction will begin on a new joint-use facility in Regina to replace Argyle and St. Pius elementary schools.
- This budget also provides $8.8 million as part of stimulus funding to complete 15 school maintenance projects, the second year of a $25.9 million total commitment;
- A further $10.3 million to fund relocatable classrooms; and
- Nearly $68 million to fund ongoing preventative maintenance, renewal and emergency funding.
- More than $324 million in government services infrastructure, including:$52 million for the construction of the remand centre at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre; and
- $3.8 million to replace and expand the Saskatoon Correctional Centre urban camp.
Dams, Canals & Irrigation
- Approximately $70 million for maintenance and upgrades to dams and canals; and
- $18.9 million for phase one of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Expansion Project.
- 244 million for municipal infrastructure.
- Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations will spend $1.6 billion on major capital projects this year, including:
- More than $937 million by SaskPower to improve the province’s electricity system to meet demand and maintain reliability; and
- SaskTel will invest more than $323 million this year to improve its networks and complete its $107-million Wireless Saskatchewan program — with an investment of $7.5 million to improve cellular services for rural customers.
The full Saskatchewan 2021-2022 budget documents can be accessed here.