• 2018 to be an Exciting Year

    January 4, 2018


    2018 to be an Exciting Year

    2018 is likely to be a big year for Saskatchewan in general, and for Saskatchewan’s construction industry specifically. In today’s blog post, I will provide an overview of some of the big news stories I expect in this coming year:

    Saskatchewan gets a New Premier
    On January 27th, the Saskatchewan Party will elect a new leader who will become the province’s next premier. This person will serve until, at least, the next provincial election in 2020. The election of a new Premier will serve as a bit of a reset for a government that has struggled to hold to its pro-growth agenda in recent years. Based on the extensive advocacy of construction associations over the last few months, I’m confident we’ll get a Premier who is interested in genuine engagement and consultation with the industry. It will be interesting to watch as the new premier establishes their identity and leadership style within the government. The SCA will be heavily engaged with the new leadership right from the start.

    Prompt Payment Becomes Law
    All of the candidates for Premier have committed to advancing Prompt Payment legislation in the coming year. Saskatchewan’s current Minister of Justice, the Honourable Don Morgan, has personally committed to me that the legislation will be introduced in 2018. The Opposition has also publicly stated support for such legislation. We have already been working with officials from Justice, and the legislation will likely closely resemble the Prompt Payment legislation recently passed in Ontario. I have every reason to believe we will see Prompt Payment legislation approved in Saskatchewan in 2018.

    Marijuana Becomes Legal
    On July 1st, marijuana will become legal in Canada. The implications for workplace safety are still a bit hazy (pun intended), but it is perfectly clear that it will complicate things for both employees and employers. There are at least three major issues that must be resolved in order to assist with ensuring work site safety. First, we need to have a clear definition of what constitutes legal impairment in regard to marijuana. Second, we need reliable and readily available non-invasive methods to measure that impairment. Third, we need to explore more robust testing protocol, in particular for safety sensitive work environments like construction.
    Any construction employer that does not have a drug and alcohol policy in place today, should immediately begin developing one. If you do have a policy in place, make sure it is updated to deal with the legalization of marijuana. Our Advantage partner – WellPoint Health – can help you with this. Also, you should consider requiring pre-employment health and drug tests.

    PST Might Go Up to 7%
    When the new Premier takes office at the end of January, they’ll be faced with the proposition of putting the finishing touches on a provincial budget in a matter of about a month. Most candidates have committed to rolling back the PST on insurance services, all have committed to more spending, and all have committed to balancing the budget – although at different times. With an election a little over two years away, the government needs new revenue and it isn’t likely to find it through economic growth. I would be surprised if the government isn’t seriously considering a further increase of PST in the coming year.

    The Riders Win the Grey Cup
    Why not? It’s next year already. Go Riders!

    What do you expect to be the big news stories in Saskatchewan in the coming year? Let me know at
    I want to extend my sincere wishes to everyone for a safe and productive 2018. May it bring lots of investment and construction activity to our province.

    Mark Cooper, MBA, PMP

    President and CEO
    Saskatchewan Construction Association