Capital spending is a key economic driver that played a big role in the expansionary period Saskatchewan went through from 2004-2014.
Back then we saw billions in fresh capital flowing into the province to fund things like potash mine development or expansion, activity in the oil patch and significant real estate development across a wide cross section of the economy. We saw new housing, the creation of new subdivisions and considerable retail development in virtually every city in the province.
These developments were important because they created jobs – especially in construction – and fuelled growth. To put some numbers on the magnitude of the influx of capital, our traditional level was about $7 billion a year going into new plants and buildings, equipment and technology.
That figure rose to as high as $21 billion. And we now have our first forecast for capital spending this year. It looks only at non-residential construction, plant and machinery. So it is a somewhat narrower base, but it is expected to exceed $14 billion for the year, down about 2.5 per cent from last year.