2020-21 Budget Builds A Strong Saskatchewan With $3.1 Billion Of Capital Investment
The 2020-21 Budget is building new hospitals, schools, highways and municipal infrastructure, along with capital investments by Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations into power generation, telecommunication wireless networks and other needed infrastructure.
“Since 2008, record capital investment of nearly $34 billion—including $3.1 billion in this year’s budget—has helped build a strong Saskatchewan,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. “This investment in infrastructure will help stimulate our economy, and create jobs as we meet the challenge presented by the global pandemic.”
Investment in 2020-21 represents the first year of an enhanced two-year $7.5 billion capital plan, which includes a $2.0 billion economic stimulus booster shot added in May to further help the economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province’s initial capital plan, announced in March, supports more than 17,500 jobs with an economic impact of $1.8 billion on nominal GDP. The two-year $2.0 billion stimulus is expected to support 10,000 jobs, with a $1.2 billion impact on the province’s nominal GDP.
Since 2008, $1.9 billion has been invested to build 53 new schools and undertake 26 major renovation projects. In this year’s budget, seven new school projects and three major renovation projects have been announced to date, as part of nearly $168 million in education capital funding—up more than $72 million, or 75 per cent, compared to last year.
The investment in K-12 capital includes more than $37 million in economic stimulus funding added recently, and projects will be announced for this added investment in the coming weeks. This year’s announced projects include a new joint-use elementary school in Harbour Landing in Regina, as well as a joint-use consolidation of St. Peter, St. Michael and Imperial elementary schools in Regina. Other new school projects include St. Frances Elementary School in Saskatoon, the consolidation of Princess Alexandra, King George, and Pleasant Hill elementary schools in Saskatoon, and a new consolidated elementary and high school in Carrot River.
The 2020-21 Budget builds hospitals, providing $172 million in health care capital spending—including $15 million this year to support the planning, design and procurement activities for the more than $300 million project for a renewed and expanded Prince Albert Victoria Hospital.
“Plans for the future Victoria Hospital include a multi-storey addition with a new acute care tower, adult mental health space and the development of culturally appropriate spaces in partnership with local First Nations,” Harpauer said. “Over the past 13 years, close to $1.8 billion in investment has built hospitals—including the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford and the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Hospital in Moose Jaw—and 14 new long-term care facilities across the province.”
Also in this year’s budget, a $15.7 million investment will continue construction of a new, 72-bed, long-term seniors care facility in Meadow Lake. The 2020-21 Budget provides $4.0 million for diagnostic imaging equipment, including $2.0 million to fulfill government’s commitment for a new CT scanner in Melfort.
Included in this budget for capital investment in health care is an additional $43.7 million, part of the stimulus announcement, for major projects and renewal projects that are being determined.
The 2020-21 Budget invests $715 million in the Highways and Infrastructure budget to improve safety, increase the capacity of Saskatchewan’s highways and provide economic stimulus as communities recover from the economic impact of the global pandemic. The budget includes $411 million for capital projects, including $54 million added through stimulus funding.
“As part of this budget, more than 1,000 kilometres of provincial highways will be upgraded, including multiple sets of passing lanes and various safety improvements throughout the province in the first year of our government’s 10-year Growth Plan goal to build and upgrade 10,000 kilometres of highways,” Harpauer said
Since 2008-09, more than $9.8 billion has been invested in transportation infrastructure, improving numerous highways, bridges and culverts as well as the construction and completion of the Regina Bypass, the Estevan Bypass, the Yorkton West Truck Route, and interchanges in Martensville and Warman, among others.
This year’s budget provides $316 million for municipal infrastructure. It includes $166 million in transfers to municipalities, including funding made available through the Gas Tax Fund, Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, New Building Canada Fund and other programs. It also includes $150 million, through the economic stimulus funding, for the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program which supports all municipalities with per capita funding for a wide-range of projects, from local roads and bridges to water services to recreation projects, to name a few. The application process has started and the dollars will help communities remain strong through the pandemic, creating local jobs and encouraging economic development.
Since 2008-09, approximately $2.0 billion has been invested to support municipal infrastructure projects. The 2020-21 Budget also invests in Crown corporation infrastructure, totalling $1.7 billion over the next year for upgrades to improve services provided by SaskPower, SaskTel and SaskEnergy. Through the Crown sector, government has invested more than $19 billion in infrastructure since 2008-09 to ensure safe, reliable and high quality services for the people of Saskatchewan.
“Our government’s Growth Plan targets $30 billion of infrastructure spending by 2030 to support our province, help our economy recover as we face challenging times and grow into the future to build a better quality of life for the people of Saskatchewan,” Harpauer said. “This year’s budget contributes toward this goal with $3.1 billion in capital investment in 2020-21.”