(29 January 2014)
Government rules, permits and paperwork can take too long, cost too much and, in some cases, these processes aren’t always necessary. This “red tape” is more than just a costly headache for business owners, it can also be a burden when completing home renovations, applying for student loans and even going fishing. According to a public opinion poll for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), nearly half of respondents said that excessive regulation adds significant stress to their lives.
Cutting red tape and reducing duplication is a priority for our government. Just in the past year, more than 100 regulations, policies and procedures have been updated to make things more relevant, efficient and effective. This work includes changes to Saskatchewan’s liquor rules and regulations, The Saskatchewan Employment Act, the reduction of paperwork and shortening of repair time at SGI and the implementation of flat rates for a number of customer-requested services by SaskPower.
Recently, Saskatchewan has also become the second jurisdiction in Canada to legislate regulatory accountability through The Regulatory Modernization and Accountability Act. This mandates annual reporting from ministries and agencies across government regarding regulatory modernization activities. What this does, in the end, is makes life better for both businesses and consumers. With the understanding that there is more work to do, the CFIB has acknowledged these efforts and, alongside our government, proudly declared the week of January 27th - 31st, 2014 as “Red Tape Awareness Week” in Saskatchewan.
As our government works to reduce red tape, the men and women employed in our oil industry have helped to increase production – setting new records in 2013. 177.9 million barrels (487,400 barrels per day) were produced last year, an increase from the previous record of 172.9 million barrels (472,500 barrels per day) the year before. Drilling activity is “robust” with a total of 2,433 horizontal oil wells drilled in 2013, a new record that surpasses the 2,036 horizontal oil wells drilled in 2012. Saskatchewan is considered to be the number one jurisdiction in Canada for oil and gas investment policies, according to The Fraser Institute’s Global Petroleum Survey.
The oil industry is a key contributor to our diversifying economy, the overall strength of which is highlighted in the latest figures from Statistics Canada. One such example is the number of people receiving EI. A strong labour market, which created more than 18,000 new jobs last year, has resulted in fewer Saskatchewan people collecting Employment Insurance. In November, EI beneficiaries were down 13.9% - the largest year-over-year decrease in Canada.
Between October and November there was also 1% growth in retail sales – ahead of the national average. This was third straight month-over-month increase. Overall, job opportunities have never been greater and we are fortunate to have the means to spend more of our earnings which in turn contributes to a stronger, growing economy.
Saskatchewan people aren’t just spending more of their earnings, many are spending time volunteering for non-profit and service organizations. To properly recognize these efforts, the Government of Saskatchewan recently launched a new award for community volunteers. Unlike existing awards recognizing individuals, the Premier’s Service Club Award recognizes the commitment and activities of service clubs and fraternal organizations. Up to four awards will be given annually; they come in the form of a framed certificate and will be signed and presented by Premier Brad Wall. Nominations are accepted all year long but the deadline for the first annual awards is Friday, January 31st. Additional information, including nomination forms, can be found online at http://www.ops.gov.sk.ca or by calling 1-877-427-5505.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Nancy.
Past Legislative Reports