“Today’s job numbers reflect that Saskatchewan continues to be the best place to live and work in Canada” – Tim McMillan, Minister of Energy and Resources for the Government of Saskatchewan.
Minister McMillan’s response to Statistic Canada’s employment numbers for the month of August accurately captures the general feeling of Saskatchewan. It is hard to argue with the success of the economy with Saskatchewan, posting the lowest unemployment rate in Canada for the eighth straight month.  Record high labour force numbers (with one third of the new jobs filled by First Nation and Métis people) made headlines across the province. As impressive as the story is, the “big picture” continues to get even better in light of the headline two short weeks prior to the release of employment numbers.
On August 20th, BHP Billiton committed US$2.6 billion to the Jansen Potash mining project over the next five years. Money will be spent on excavation, production and service shafts and installation of surface infrastructure. For those of us who are not mining experts, this roughly translates into considerable job creation and economic growth for the province.
Tim Cutt, Petroleum and Potash President of BHP Billiton, said “Potash and [the] Jansen [project] represent a significant opportunity for BHP Billiton. Saskatchewan, with its attractive geology and stable political and fiscal environment, is the best place in the world to develop a potash business.”
There is no doubt that Saskatchewan is stable and resource rich. Additionally, the investment made by BHP Billiton will continue to propel growth and drive fiscal stability within the Saskatchewan economy. This continuous growth and stability increases employment rates, the demand for skilled labour and, with the right politics, an improved standard of living for Saskatchewan citizens. Saskatchewan becomes more appealing for investors and the cycle continues.
So while BHP Billiton sees the opportunity Saskatchewan has to offer, Saskatchewan is seeing the opportunity offered by BHP Billiton. It is the chance to continue leading the way in economic growth and employment rates within Canada. It is the potential to continue producing headlines that reaffirm the success of Saskatchewan and spark excitement for what is still to come. Premier Brad Wall is quoted as saying the investment is “very, very good for Saskatchewan.” Premier Wall is right on the mark with his assessment.
* BHP Billiton is a client of H+K.