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Saskatchewan’s plan to rebound from coronavirus shutdown relies on its Crown corporations

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Coming out of the “most significant economic shutdown since the Depression,” Saskatchewan will lean on its Crown corporations, says Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave.

Hargrave, speaking at the release of the Crown Investments Corporations (CIC) 2019-2020 annual report Friday, said the companies are financially health and “will continue to to be part of the solution for Saskatchewan” as it recuperates from the coronavirus pandemic.

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CIC oversees companies including, but not limited to, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskWater and SaskGaming.

In 2019-20, CIC’s consolidated net earnings were $435.4 million. CIC returned $350 million to the province’s general reserve fund to support the government’s spending priorities.

Read more: SaskEnergy shows decline in net income, no plans to hike gas rates

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In 2019-20, the corporations made $1.3 billion in infrastructure investment, states the annual report. In 2021, they are projected to spend $1.7 billion, said the minister.

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Hargrave noted the Crowns’ procurements have favoured Saskatchewan suppliers

“The Crown sector is committed to helping Saskatchewan suppliers enhance their competitiveness,” he said, noting that will be an important part of stimulating overall economic growth.

The past fiscal year brought other challenges for CIC. A major labour dispute early on coupled with an oil and gas price war and falling uranium and potash prices were some of the examples Hargrave mentioned that “made managing portfolios difficult.”

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CIC president and CEO Blair Swystun doesn’t necessarily expect 2020-21 to be easier, with the continued pressures of the pandemic and decreased service demands.

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“In general, we will see significant challenges,” Swystun said.

“The Crowns are operating from a position of strength, though.”