The Western Journal 2016 - (Page 18)
Updates from Saskatchewan
n March 18, 2015, provincial Finance
Minister Ken Krawetz tabled a balanced budget with a $107-milliondollar surplus. Investments in health, education
and social services were to be the key areas
where the Province would spend nearly three
quarters of the budget. No one at the time could
predict what would occur over the next several
months. Northern Saskatchewan experienced unprecedented
forest fires that raged during the summer months. Those fires
alone cost an estimated $100 million dollars. That, combined
with slumping oil prices, has contributed to Premier Brad
Wall recently announcing that Saskatchewan is now facing
a $262-million-dollar deficit.
That being said, however, the Province is still moving
ahead with several major projects. It appears that the favourite method to fund projects in the Province is now through
the Public Private Partnerships or P3s. Construction has
begun on 18 new joint use schools that, when completed in
September of 2017, will accommodate 11,000 K to Grade 12
students. According to the Ministry of Education, they are on
target to stay on budget and on schedule. Work continues on
the new home of the Riders as well as the 225-bed long-term
care facility in Swift Current, which is being built under a P3
model. In addition, the second phase of construction of the
state-of-the-art Children's Hospital in Saskatoon has begun.
David Flamand of Peak Mechanical Partnership comments
that "Between the all of P3 schools, North Battleford Hospital,
Children's Hospital, Saskatoon Bridges, Regina Bypass, et
cetera, I think we will have an extremely tight labour market
this year and next. The workload for any of the companies
not involved in the aforementioned projects will not be as
good as it has been in the past five years but we should all
still have a fairly respectable year this year and next."
The federal government is promising significant infrastructure spending commitments in their upcoming budget.
Hopefully this will see an injection of monies into the provincial coffers that will result in an increase in much needed
infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the growth that
Saskatchewan has experienced over the past several years.
That should be good news for the members who are involved
on the commercial side.
2016 may prove to be more of a challenge
for the smaller contractor that is providing
service and working on the residential side of
the industry. Anyone in service will tell you
that they like to see a good, cold winter but
that didn't materialize this year. As well, the
housing market in 2015 took a hit across the
Province with fewer starts than the previous
year. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015 housing starts
in Saskatchewan dropped to 5159 compared to 8257 in 2014.
With the oil continuing its downward spiral, it would appear
that 2016 is going to be a challenge for many. The expectation
is that some of the smaller, fly-by-night shops that appeared
when the Province was experiencing a boom will disappear.
However, the news isn't all bad in Saskatchewan.
According to Buildforce Canada, construction employment
in Saskatchewan has more than doubled in the past decade
with 24,000 jobs added to the industry. Over the course of the
next 10 years, they estimate that 8,700 construction workers
will retire and that the Province will need to attract more
young people to the trades to counter those retirements.
In the spring of 2015, Saskatchewan hosted the National
Skills Canada Competition. Over 500 competitors from across
Canada converged on Saskatoon to compete and showcase
their skills in their chosen trades. Thousands of high schools
from across the Province had the opportunity to attend the
event. Students were even flown in from remote northern
locations so they could see first hand the opportunities that
are available to them in the trades. The Province in 2015
designated $23.3 million dollars for apprenticeship training
and hopefully some of those young students were inspired
to look at the trades as a potential career opportunity.
Saskatchewan and the mechanical contracting industry will weather any storms that materialize in 2016. The
Association will work diligently to provide value to the members and to be their voice in the Province.
MCA Saskatchewan Events on the Web
Visit www.mca-sask.com, click on MCAS Events
Mechanical Contractors Associations of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba 2016
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Western Journal 2016
Messages: MCA Canada
Messages: British Columbia
Updates: British Columbia
Good Governance Creates Lasting Value
Medical Marijuana Cultivation: The Mechanical Needs
YYC: Growing to Meet Anticipated Demand
New Product Showcase
Index to Advertisers
The Western Journal 2016