As one of the most trade-dependent provinces in one of the most trade-dependent nations in the world, attracting and retaining private-sector investment – both at home and abroad – is imperative for Saskatchewan to ensure its high standard of living. Recently, a culmination of events have created competitiveness challenges for businesses in Saskatchewan and in Western Canada more generally. There is also a growing perception both at home and abroad, that Canada is becoming an increasingly hostile jurisdiction in which to do business. An uncompetitive business environment will generate fewer economic development projects, resulting in less tax revenue for governments, and fewer employment opportunities.
Uncompetitive taxation levels, along with a host of anti-free enterprise policies are hindering investment attraction and retention, slowing growth in business start-ups, reducing the rate of private capital expenditure, and generating disappointing productivity growth rates. Nevertheless, there are significant export market opportunities opening up around the world with the growth of middle class consumers in emerging economies. Both Saskatchewan and Canada must create a highly competitive economic ecosystem to capitalize on such opportunities.
The SCC is currently undertaking a business competitiveness study to identify the existing barriers or challenges to competitiveness (taxation, regulations, trade, infrastructure, access to skilled labour, etc.) that currently constrain businesses operating in the province and prevent them from scaling up. After the SCC and participating industry stakeholders identify the existing competitiveness barriers, a prioritized list of high-level policy recommendations to address these barriers will be generated and acted upon.