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Inward Investment Guides

Western Canada

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 Online Research Desk (Aug/Sep 06)
(page 3 of 3)
Saskatchewan Gateway to Opportunity
In 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.

Saskatchewan 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.

Research Opportunities
The 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 environmental benefits.

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.

The 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.

Bullish Economy
The 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.

Government Support
While the economy is bullish, the relationship between public service and private enterprise certainly isn't.

"Our 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 excellence."

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 resources.

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
Of 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.

The 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.

Saskatchewan offers 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.
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