Western Canada has a plentiful resource base, a highly educated population, a diverse work force, and a pro-business culture - not to mention its wondrous natural beauty. The governments of the four western Canadian provinces - Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan - are working individuallyas well as collectively to build upon these resources in order to further develop and diversify their economies. Some of these developments are highlighted below:
Area Development Research Desk (Aug/Sep 06)
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Saskatchewan Gateway to Opportunity
today's knowledge-based global economy, every metropolis is a gateway
to the world. Everyone has a vision to sell. Locations are served up to
mobile professionals and entrepreneurs like a Sunday buffet. The
competitive edge has expanded to include lifestyle factors as well.
offers opportunities that attract people and companies from all over
the world - opportunities like no other jurisdiction. How else does a
land-locked prairie oasis produce the world's leading expert on the
remains of the shipwrecked Titanic? Research opportunities are a
specialty, that's how.
University of Regina (U of R) is a global leader in energy and
environmental research, and offers a world-class cluster of
climate-change expertise. With neighbors in the Regina Research Park
like the Petroleum Technology Research Centre and numerous industry
partners, the U of R is at the forefront of developing technologies to
capture and store carbon dioxide. The outcome is enhanced oil recovery,
reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and unprecedented economic and
In Saskatoon, the province's largest
city, cab drivers don't blink an eye at delivering international
scientists from the airport to their new homes near the Canadian Light
Source synchrotron. Residents no longer question why someone from
California relocates to the "land of living skies." Saskatchewan is a
gateway to opportunity and a getaway in terms of lifestyle.
Canadian Light Source, at the University of Saskatchewan, is Canada's
largest science project in a generation. The colossal research
structure is used to examine life's smallest building blocks. It is a
crucial tool for keeping Canada competitive in cutting-edge areas like
pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, advanced materials, telecommunications,
and electronics. The synchrotron is a career-maker for researchers and
an investment attraction magnet for the province.
fact that the Conference Board of Canada recently ranked Saskatoon as
one of Canada's leading cities in terms of growth speaks volumes about
available opportunities. The Conference Board also placed Saskatoon at
the top in terms of economic diversity. Saskatoon's growing economy is
a reflection of the entire province.
In 2004, Saskatchewan's
economy recorded the third best real gross domestic product (GDP)
growth rate in Canada. Economic forecasters are expecting a further
expansion for Saskatchewan's economy. Manufacturing shipments, potash
production and sales, uranium share prices, mineral exploration
expenditures, oil and natural gas production, international exports,
and retail sales are all up.
This prairie land has a plethora of
super-sized resources. Saskatchewan is the world's largest producer of
potash and uranium. Its oil and gas industry is the second largest in
Canada. So far, Saskatchewan's oil industry has accessed only a mere 15
percent of the potential trillion dollars worth of oil waiting beneath
the surface. Diamond-bearing kimberlite fields that are the largest in
the world are being explored and may lead to an entirely new industry
for the province.
While the economy is bullish, the relationship between public service and private enterprise certainly isn't.
role as government is to help Saskatchewan businesses sustain that
marketplace momentum by developing policies and making infrastructure
investments that ensure a continued climate for growth," Saskatchewan
Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline says. "We are at our best
when public and private sectors are on the same path toward growth and
Saskatchewan has traditionally been a
resource-based province. Moving into a knowledge-based economy has
meant supporting new science and technology for the benefit of old
For example, mining in Saskatchewan is one of the
most technologically advanced industries in the world. New science has
made Saskatchewan home to 30 percent of Canada's agro-biotech industry.
With 44 percent of Canada's cultivated farmland, the province supplies
crops for pharmaceuticals, detergents, fuel, paint, lubricants, paper,
textiles, and, naturally, food.
Less Is More
course, big isn't always better; take the cost of doing business, for
example. According to an international KPMG study, the cost of
conducting business in Saskatchewan's four major cities is among the
lowest in cities across North America, Europe, and Japan.
cost of living is another example. Housing costs are lower, and owning
a home is affordable. The healthcare system is second to none, and
there are no healthcare premiums. The provincial sales tax of 7 percent
is the lowest of any province that charges a sales tax. It costs less
to get to and from work because the maximum commute time in any of
Saskatchewan's cities is about 20 minutes.
far more than tangible economic opportunities and benefits.
Saskatchewan offers lifestyle. The quality of life is high, but the
cost is not. That makes Saskatchewan a great place to live and raise a
family, and a great place to locate or invest in a business.