Saskatchewan: Land of opportunity – Brad Wall

With its stable economy and abundant natural resources, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan makes an ideal location for new business ventures. Brad Wall, the province's premier, explains what lies behind the 'Saskatchewan Advantage'.

What makes Saskatchewan an ideal place to invest in or establish a company/subsidiary?

Brad Wall: Saskatchewan is a land of opportunity, and we continue to reap the rewards of a strong and stable economy. You'll often hear us refer to that as the 'Saskatchewan Advantage'. Investor confidence in our province is high, and with billions of dollars being allocated inside of our borders, we have an abundance of employment opportunities. People in Saskatchewan have jobs and money to spend, and our standard of living is unparalleled. That's good news to an investor.

We know we have a bright future ahead of us and one that could certainly benefit those wanting to do business here. Our unemployment is the lowest in the country and our economy is forecast to grow by 2.6% in 2013. This follows the province's upgrade to AAA status, received on the strength of its fiscal regime and balanced budgets.

"Investor confidence in our province is high and we have an abundance of employment opportunities."

When it comes to doing business, our innovation, growth, fiscal probity and labour development are all part of the Saskatchewan Advantage, and are what continues to attract the growing tide of new business ventures to our province.

Please provide a brief overview of the Saskatchewan economy - what are the main sectors in the region?

Saskatchewan's economy is fuelled by many contributing sectors, including agriculture, energy, forestry, manufacturing and mineral resources. Saskatchewan is Canada's most important grain-producing region, supplying 10% of the world's total exported wheat, as well as about half the world's canola (rapeseed). We are the world's top exporter of green lentils, chickpeas, mustard and canary seed, and the second-largest beef-producing province in Canada. The province is home to almost a third of Canada's agricultural biotechnology industry.

Saskatchewan is an energy giant. We account for a third of Canada's primary energy production, producing natural gas, uranium, biofuels, geothermal, wind and hydro power, and approximately 470,000 barrels of oil a day. Our expertise in carbon capture storage technologies exemplifies our commitment to greening up our conventional energy resources.

"Saskatchewan province is home to almost a third of Canada's agricultural biotechnology industry."

More than half of Saskatchewan is forested. Our key products include dimensional lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, treated posts and wood pulp. Saskatchewan is investing significant resources into researching the production of bioenergy and new value-added products.

Key manufacturing clusters include machinery, transportation and industrial equipment; food, crop and beverage processing; wood products and chemical manufacturing. Emerging clusters include aerospace and defence, automotive accessories, and electronics and instrumentation.

Saskatchewan is the world's leading supplier of potash and one of the world's largest suppliers of uranium. We also produce gold, coal, salt, silica sands, kaolinite, sodium, and potassium sulphate and clays, as well as drilling extensively for diamonds. Mining companies are attracted by Saskatchewan's efficient regulatory environment and strong investment opportunities.

What are the long-term benefits of a company coming to Saskatchewan?

"Balanced budgets, strong, sustained economic growth and an unparalleled quality of life are the hallmarks of the Saskatchewan Advantage."

Saskatchewan has a stable, vibrant and growing economy, with continued growth forecast. Approximately $100 billion is expected to be invested in major projects over the next decade, meaning abundant opportunities for new business. The province's fiscal management is sound; the Government of Saskatchewan is committed to cutting the provincial debt and balancing its budget. It also supports new investors, and is committed to reducing red tape and regulatory impacts.

How do you differentiate Saskatchewan from other regions in Canada?

We have balanced budgets, strong, sustained economic growth and an unparalleled quality of life - the hallmarks of the Saskatchewan Advantage. Saskatchewan is the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family. We are a leader in economic growth, and are blessed with many natural resources.

What value-added services do you offer to companies setting up operations in the province?

We have many services that have been established successfully to support new companies in Saskatchewan. Two of note are BizPal, which helps you find the permits and licences you may require, and Business Infosource, a one-stop shop for business resource information. We also offer pathfinding assistance to investment project proponents, and there is a wealth of other incentives and tax credits available.

Brad Wall is premier of Saskatchewan province in Canada.