News Release - December 3, 2013
RAPID RESPONSE TEAMS WILL ASSIST WORKERS AFFECTED BY LAYOFFS
Potash Layoffs Difficult But Saskatchewan’s Diversified Economy Remains Strong
Premier Brad Wall today said Saskatchewan’s diversified economy remains strong, even with the news that PotashCorp will lay off 440 employees in the province.
“Obviously, this is not good news for those employees and their families,” Wall said. “We will be immediately dispatching our rapid response teams to provide support and explore other opportunities in other sectors. We are fortunate that this has occurred at a time of relative labour market strength and that our economy today is more diversified than ever. Our economy is strong enough to absorb this kind of job loss.”
Wall noted that Saskatchewan has already seen job losses in the natural resource sector this year, while at the same time, thousands of new jobs have been created in other areas resulting in significant net gains in employment in the province.
“In the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Report, employment was up by 14,900 jobs in the past year and unemployment was the lowest in Canada at 3.6 per cent even though employment in the resource sector was down by 1,400 jobs,” Wall said. “This loss was more than offset by 4,800 new construction jobs, 2,900 new transportation jobs, 1,800 new jobs in agriculture, 1,500 new jobs in research and technology and 1,200 new jobs in manufacturing.”
Wall announced that he has directed Economy Minister Bill Boyd and Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris to further enhance current government work on matching training resources with current and future labour needs and to help smooth a transition to opportunities outside the potash sector during a time of temporary potash sector slowdown.
“Featured prominently in the Plan for Growth and in the current Throne Speech is increased training resources," Wall said. “I am asking these Ministers to explore additional opportunities for our government to support skills training with a view to where the labour shortage is most acute in the short term and where the opportunities will be in the longer term. I am asking those two Ministers to identify any areas where we are coming up short and where we need to provide more opportunities in the long term."
Revenue from potash currently accounts for about 3.5 per cent of the province’s $11 billion budget. This is slightly less than when the current government took office. In the 2007 Provincial Budget, potash revenue made up about four per cent of total revenue.
Wall said that a quick glance at the saskjobs.ca website shows more than 12,000 positions available today in Saskatchewan, including more than 4,000 in trades, transport and construction.
“There are many jobs available,” Wall said. “We just need to make sure Saskatchewan people have the skills and training they need to fill those vacant positions.
“Our economy is diversified and strong enough to withstand a downturn in one sector, but as a government, there is more we can do to keep our economy on track by making sure Saskatchewan people have every opportunity to get the skills they need to be part of our growing economy.”
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