The Federal Government released its 2023-23 budget, and it has the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s seal of approval as it contains several important items for Saskatchewan businesses.
One of the Saskatchewan Chamber’s greatest efforts with the federal government over the past year has been advocating for the return of the carbon tax proceeds to Saskatchewan’s small and medium-sized businesses through the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF).
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Acting CEO Elissa LaLiberte said they were happy to see that in the budget but noted they would have liked to see more.
“We are optimistic that after several years, businesses will actually start to see this money this year,” she said. “However, we are disappointed. We had specifically requested that CAIF funding eligibility go beyond support to emission-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) small and medium-sized enterprises. We believe it would be best to offer broader support, with more streams and more businesses having an opportunity to get involved. This would help Saskatchewan fully and promptly utilize the CAIF dollars and introduce greater environmental benefits.”
Another highlight is that the 2022-23 budget dedicates some federal resources to continuing the opportunity to develop small modular reactors (SMRs).
“Saskatchewan will not achieve net-zero and meet our growing energy demand without an increasingly diverse mix of generations, including nuclear SMRs. While there is always hope for more, we are pleased that Budget 2022-23 recognized the potential of SMRs and allocated funds to continue to support their advancement,” LaLiberte said.
Other highlights for the Chamber included the federal government recognizing the labour struggles facing businesses and anticipating that the $4,000 deduction for tradespeople for temporary relocation expenses will hopefully help attract people to the opportunities in Saskatchewan, the Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit will also help build Saskatchewan’s budding rare earth mining sector, and the continuation and strengthening of the investment in the universal broadband fund to enhance internet connectivity in the country.