MEDIA RELEASE: Saskatchewan Chamber Applauds Federal Commitment to the ProvinceApril 20, 2021
Regina, SK – The 2021 federal budget announced yesterday contains several items important to the business community across Saskatchewan. As expected, there are also items that may challenge the long-term success of businesses and as the full details are rolled out over the next weeks, greater clarity will be available.
“Overall, the proposed spending continues to fight the impacts of the pandemic and we cannot ignore all the positives for Saskatchewan. We will continue to go through the budget documents and speak to experts to learn more, but one area we all need to remain vigilant on is the growing debt levels. We know the Government of Canada, like all governments, sees the immediate need as paramount, but they also have a clear eye on the longer term,” said Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC).
Several highlights announced include:
- The commitment of $60 million to the Vido-InterVac Centre in Saskatoon. This funding, which was advocated for by the SCC, was very welcome news. Additionally, being named as the Canadian Centre for Pandemic Research brings with it incremental funding, as well as wider, positive exposure to the great work being done in Saskatchewan. The ongoing work to construct a vaccine manufacturing facility that will make Canada more reliant on our own sources for vaccines has the full support of the Chamber.
- The establishment of the Economic Development Agency for British Columbia is welcomed news, but it is the retention of the current budget for Western Economic Diversification Canada, including BC’s previous portion, that offers a significant benefit for Saskatchewan. Since the SCC first wrote a report on the discrepancy of funding for Canada’s regional economic development agencies in 2019, we have been advocating for the funding improvements and this budget announcement is promising progress.
- The proposed introduction of an investment tax credit for capital invested in carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects is also appreciated, and the Chamber is eager to consult with the federal government on the tax credit design. Numerous other green oriented announcements were made in the budget and it will take further research to understand the full implications of them.
- The SCC also welcomes the commitment to a program to pay for rare and exceptional drugs and applauds the news that the federal government did not make the unnecessary move toward replacing the current private/public Pharmacare program. The Chamber advocated for the move to a ‘fill the gaps’ approach, which seems to be the case.
- The continuation of the pandemic relief wage and rent subsidy programs to September is good news for many impacted businesses across the country, including Saskatchewan companies.
The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is the Voice of Saskatchewan Business and represents the interests of over 10,000 individual businesses, industry associations, and local chambers across the province through its chamber network. For more information on Chamber activities and advocacy efforts, visit saskchamber.com or @SaskChamber on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
CEO, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce