From the office of Bob Bjornerud
Economic Diversity Driving Saskatchewan’s Strength
Saskatchewan’s job growth,low unemployment rate and new all-time records for wholesale trade and manufacturing shipments are just a few examples of how our strong and diversified economy is well-positioned to absorb short-term challenges in the energy sector.
According to the latest labour force figures from Statistics Canada, there are thousands of new full-time jobs across Saskatchewan and our unemployment rate remains the lowest in Canada. Our province has also set all-time records for wholesale trade – increasing nearly 26% to $2.5 billion – and manufacturing shipments totaling $1.5 billion, the highest ever for the province.
The numbers confirm what we already know – Saskatchewan’s strong and diversified economy has a broad base. These numbers also build on a flurry of great economic news that includes the announcement of a $200 million expansion at Evraz, a $25 million upgrade to the Carrot River sawmill and the new Canada-India trade deal for Saskatchewan Uranium.
Saskatchewan Tax Credits Help Keep Taxes Low
The personal tax filing deadline for the 2014 tax year is quickly approaching and Saskatchewan people are encouraged to take advantage of the various provincial tax credits, including:
First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit
A non-refundable income tax credit of up to $1,100, based on the first $10,000 of an eligible home purchase (a similar federal credit of up to $750 is also available).
Graduate Retention Program
Income tax credits that refund up to $20,000 of tuition fees paid by eligible post-secondary graduates who live in Saskatchewan and file a Saskatchewan tax return.
Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit
A refundable income tax credit paid quarterly to assist lower-income Saskatchewan people. The credit is paid in conjunction with the federal Goods and Services Tax Credit.
Active Families Benefit
A refundable income tax credit of up to $150 per child 18 years of age or younger that helps families with the cost of children’s participation in cultural, recreational and sports activities.
Employees’ Tool Tax Credit
A non-refundable income tax credit that helps with the cost of purchasing, replacing or upgrading eligible tools by qualifying employees as a condition of their employment.
Our government has delivered the largest income tax and education property tax cuts in Saskatchewan history. For the 2015 tax year, the personal income tax reductions we’ve introduced are expected to save people more than $485 million. Since 2007, as a result of these income tax measures, Saskatchewan people have saved more than $3.3 billion.
SaskAlert Launches Province-Wide
The province’s new emergency public alerting program has successfully completed its testing phase and is being implemented across Saskatchewan.SaskAlert can provide critical information about emergency situations as they are developing so residents of the affected area will be able to take action to protect themselves, their families and their property.
Alerts may be created for severe weather-related events such as tornadoes, plow winds, flooding and blizzards. Other events that may trigger alerts include wildfires, hazardous material spills, train derailments, boil water and shelter-in-place advisories, significant highway closures and community evacuations.For more information visit SaskAlert.ca.
Main Street Saskatchewan Invests in Historic Downtowns
Vibrant downtowns strengthen our communities, and strong communities support a growing Saskatchewan. That’s why we’re pleased to continue supporting communities through Main Street Saskatchewan, a program that supports Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth by investing in and promoting the revitalization of historic downtowns and commercial areas.
The Main Street Saskatchewan Grant Program provides participants with up to 50 per cent of eligible project expenses through three funding streams: Capacity Building, Heritage Conservation and Community Enhancement.Since its launch in 2011, it has seen 66 new jobs created, 22 new businesses opened, $4.9 million committed to historic building and streetscape improvement and $6.5 million in property acquisitions in its participating communities.
Main Street Saskatchewan is now accepting applications for the 2015-16 intake. To learn more visit http://www.pcs.gov.sk.ca/MainStreet.