Government of Saskatchewan: A rock-solid choice – Brad Wall
With robust economic growth, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has become a magnet for international business. Factor in rising wages, diverse industry sectors and expertise in numerous commodities, and there has never been a better time to invest, writes Brad Wall, premier of the Government of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan is a province on the move. Its economy is growing, the population is at an all-time high, investment is pouring in and exports are surging. For investors looking to do business in stable and growing jurisdictions, and for those searching for a safe port in stormy economic seas, Saskatchewan is a great place to be.
"With offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 54 countries, Accenture provides the best of breed in industry expertise, technological and methodological knowledge," says Tony Masella, Canadian managing director of resources at Accenture. "To achieve this, we actively seek out the best talent, and we see opportunity within Saskatchewan's highly skilled workforce and business environment."
To begin with, Saskatchewan's economy is growing. For 2013, the average economic growth forecast is 2.6%, second among the provinces after Alberta and above the national rate of 1.7%. Strong growth is attracting newcomers to the province and helping boost wages - Saskatchewan's average weekly wages rose by 5% in 2012, the highest increase in Canada.
When it comes to doing business in Saskatchewan, its innovation, growth, fiscal discipline and labour development are all part of the 'Saskatchewan Advantage'. Put simply, Saskatchewan has what the world needs: abundant natural resources serve as the foundation of a diverse and robust export-based economy that has made the province a magnet for international investment. Total investment in Saskatchewan for 2013 is expected to exceed $20.5 billion.
Power of energy
With about 3% of Canada's population, Saskatchewan accounts for 28% of the country's primary energy production - the highest per capita energy production in the country. It is one of the only places in the world that produces crude oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, biofuels, geothermal, wind and hydro power in a single jurisdiction.
Saskatchewan is Canada's second-largest oil producer and the sixth-largest producer in North America. The province produces 470,000 barrels of oil a day and has established reserves of 1.2 billion barrels. It shares North America's largest conventional oil play - the Bakken Formation - with North Dakota, Montana and Manitoba. Geologists have identified 10,000 square miles of oil sands potential along the province's north-western border with Alberta.
The province also produces 547 million cubic feet of natural gas a day and is the third-largest natural gas-producing province in the country with an estimated 2.8 trillion cubic feet of remaining established natural gas reserves. Currently, there are 300 companies operating oil and gas wells in the province.
With the mining industry forecast to invest up to $50 billion in new mines and expansions in Saskatchewan over the next 20 years, the province is a welcome marketplace for investment. Saskatchewan is the world's largest producer of potash - a mineral critical to the fertiliser that global crops need. The province's mines account for roughly 30% of the world potash production. The Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan contains the largest, high-grade uranium deposits in the world, making the province the second-largest global producer.
"Growth in Saskatchewan's mining sector has led to the development of the industry's top engineers and project managers, all of whom have specialised expertise in these commodities," says Doug Shaw, manager of project services at AMEC. "And the current sustained growth in the province has resulted in our office growing from under 100 personnel ten years ago to 550 individuals today."
Above ground, Saskatchewan is home to some of the world's most fertile and productive land, claiming 40% of Canada's arable land. Often referred to as the 'breadbasket to the world', the province is the world's largest exporter of lentils, chickpeas, mustard, flax and canary seed, and supplies a third of the world's exported durum wheat.
Innovation and research
Many of Canada's most advanced innovation and research facilities are found in Saskatchewan, such as the Canadian Light Source, which is one of the largest scientific projects in Canada. This research facility at the University of Saskatchewan is advancing research in a range of areas including nanotechnology, environmental technologies and pharmaceuticals.
<div class="rightpullquote">" Many of Canada's most advanced innovation and research facilities are found in Saskatchewan."</div class>
The Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, named after the province's first female lieutenant governor, a renowned medical physicist, was established by the province to support research, development and training in nuclear medicine. The centre, located at the University of Saskatchewan, is committed to the innovation of advanced materials for construction, aerospace and small reactor designs.
The university is also home to Canada's new $140 million International Vaccine Centre (InterVac), the largest containment level 3 facility in western Canada. InterVac enables scientists from Canada and around the world to research new infectious disease threats, and develop strategies to mitigate the risk to humans and animals.
The Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan have established the Global Institute for Food Security to develop Saskatchewan-led solutions to feed a growing world population. The institute is based at the University of Saskatchewan, a world-renowned centre of excellence in agriculture and food system-related research.
Saskatchewan is a world leader in carbon capture storage (CCS) research. SaskPower's $1.24 billion Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project will be one of the world's first and largest commercial-scale CCS facilities when it begins operations in 2014. SaskPower, in collaboration with Hitachi, is also leading the development of a new carbon capture test facility, and the government-owned utility is spearheading the establishment of a CCS knowledge consortium to share findings with organisations around the world.
The province is investing in infrastructure to ensure continued economic growth. During the last six years, $5 billion has been invested in infrastructure and another $2.5 billion will be invested in the next three years. The government has created a new agency, SaskBuilds, to drive innovation in infrastructure financing, design and delivery, including public-private partnerships.
There has never been a better time to invest in Saskatchewan. Its investment climate features competitive and stable royalty regimes for oil and gas and mining, competitive taxes and a supportive regulatory environment. For investors looking for a good place to do business, Saskatchewan is a rock-solid choice.