Saskatchewan Election 2020

Retail is the largest private sector employer in Saskatchewan.

Find out why #RetailMatters to Saskatchewan and #VoteRetail on October 26, 2020.



10%
of Saskatchewan’s workforce works in Retail. That’s 63,945 local jobs.



4880+
storefronts in Saskatchewan



62%
of retailers are small businesses



$2.2 Billion
in total annual salaries paid



$22.69/HR
Saskatchewan’s average hourly compensation in retail



$11.5 Billion
in Core Retail Sales

Source: Stats Canada

Why Saskatchewan Retail Matters

Saskatchewan retailers have faced head-on the incredible and devastating financial challenges of COVID-19.  When talking to your local candidates, be sure to share your experiences and the needs of Saskatchewan’s retail industry.

Be sure to also let them know that you are part of Saskatchewan’s largest private employment sector and that retail also has a significant impact on the success of several other industries such as transportation, construction, property management, information technology and financial services.

Here are some ideas that you can share with your candidates while spreading the word about retail:

  • Nearly one in every ten jobs in Saskatchewan is in retail.
  • Over two-thirds of all retailers are small businesses.
  • Retail in Saskatchewan pays over $2.2 billion annually in payroll.

Every election provides the electorate with the ability to shape their government and help to ensure that future members of the Legislative Assembly understand the role that merchants play in the lives and economy of Saskatchewan.

Where the Parties Stand

Retail Council of Canada sent a questionnaire to the leading political parties addressing the key issues affecting retail in the province.

Retail Survey Questions

  1. Will your party pledge to work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a COVID-19 retail recovery economic strategy?
  2. Would your government provide refundable tax credits for COVID-19 personal protective equipment and renovation business purchases to help stop the bleeding of important, but expensive health order requirements?
  3. Are you prepared to maintain the current Consumer Price Index linked model that is a fair and balanced approach to annual minimum wage adjustments?  
  4. Is your government prepared to fix the definition of a workday, to ensure Saskatchewan workers have greater schedule flexibility and the higher incomes that every other Canadian worker enjoys?
  5. Will you take steps to ensure foreign eCommerce sellers begin to pay their fair share of eco-fees, in a similar way that the PST Act amendments (Bill no. 211) have addressed PST free riders?
  6. Would your government be prepared to take meaningful steps to lower business taxes that are significantly higher in Saskatchewan than in neighbouring Alberta?
  7. Will you commit to not increasing the PST rate during your mandate?
  1. Yes. Saskatchewan New Democrats know that investing in our economy and supporting local businesses must be at the heart of our recovery plan.

  2.  Saskatchewan New Democrats know that investing in our economy and supporting local businesses must be at the heart of our recovery plan – we’ve called for more supports for businesses during COVID than what the Sask Party has been willing to commit.

  3. One of Saskatchewan New Democrats’ top priorities is bringing the minimum wage up to $15/hour in our first term. We’ve committed to working with small businesses to design a job creators plan that helps them adapt to a minimum wage increase.

  4. Saskatchewan New Democrats are committed to restoring balance to Saskatchewan’s labour legislation so that workers have safe and fair workplaces. We have no plans to change the definition of the work day.

  5. As we rebuild the economy, we need to ensure every dollar we spend benefits the local economy as much as possible. Saskatchewan New Democrats are open to discussions to ensure foreign eCommerce sellers are paying their fair share of fees and taxes in Saskatchewan.

  6. Saskatchewan New Democrats have no plans to raise income taxes, business taxes, or sales tax.

  7. Saskatchewan New Democrats have no plans to increase PST. Saskatchewan New Democrats are committed to removing the PST from construction labour to fire up jobs in our construction sector and get people back to work.
  1. If re-elected, the Saskatchewan Party will continue to consult with the Retail Council of Canada and the businesses you represent on our plan for economic recovery in Saskatchewan. As you are aware, we have implemented a number of initiatives to support businesses in Saskatchewan throughout the pandemic including establishing the Business Response Team, relief on PST returns, crown utility bill referrals, waiving WCB premiums, and the Small Business Emergency Payment.

    In this campaign, we have promised:

    • The Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit.
      • Saskatchewan homeowners can claim a non-refundable 10.5% provincial tax credit on eligible home renovation expenses.
    • A 10 per cent SaskPower rebate.
      • The rebate applies to everyone – residential customers, farm customers, businesses and institutions like hospitals, schools and universities, meaning everyone benefits.
    • A Small Business tax cut.
      • To support Saskatchewan small businesses as they sustain operations, retain and hire new employees and grow their businesses, a Saskatchewan Party government will:
        • Reduce the small business tax rate from two percent to zero, beginning October 1, 2020.
        • Move the small business tax rate to one percent beginning July 1st, 2022.
        • Move the small business tax rate back to its current two percent, beginning July 1st, 2023.

  2. We understand the many sacrifices that businesses in Saskatchewan have made throughout this pandemic. That is why our government worked hard to provide a proper balance between protecting people and keeping as many businesses open as safely possible. A higher percentage of Saskatchewan people remained working throughout the pandemic than any other province in Canada, we were the first province to announce our reopening plan and we now have the lowest unemployment in Canada, as almost all of our economy is now reopened.

  3. The Saskatchewan Party government is committed to the current Consumer Price Index model for annual minimum wage adjustments.

  4. The Saskatchewan Party is currently not considering changing the definition of a workday in Saskatchewan.

  5. We are always reviewing our regulations and legislation to ensure it is the most up to date to ensure fairness and competitiveness for Saskatchewan businesses.

  6. Personal and business taxes continue to be among lowest in the country, giving Saskatchewan an advantage to attract new business investment, create jobs and keep the cost of living affordable. A reelected Saskatchewan Party government will monitor our tax competitiveness during our economic recovery.

  7. There will be no tax increases under a re-elected Saskatchewan Party government.

Saskatchewan Key Retail Issues

Develop retail sector strategy

Retailers are resilient and despite unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19, continue to fight to remain a viable and essential element of the province’s economy.

COVID-19 has created significant disruption to Saskatchewan’s retail sector that historically has provided a $11.5 billion boast to the economy, and over 68,055 local jobs.  Beyond COVID-19, Saskatchewan retailers are facing significant cumulative cost and competitive pressures. In the modern age of retail, there is no certainty of continued success as national, online, and offshore channels threaten ‘brick-and-mortar’ Saskatchewan stores.

Recommendation

Work with Retail Council of Canada to develop a proper retail recovery strategy, commensurate with the size of the retail industry. While other industries have been the focus of sector strategies and incentives, the retail industry has long been overlooked. With mounting pressures due to unanticipated consumer fears, foreign eCommerce growth and health order requirements, we are calling on the government to be a collaborative partner.


Provide refundable tax credits for COVID-19 related purchases

One direct way that the Saskatchewan government can help support struggling small businesses is through the introduction of refundable tax credits to help lessen the cost impact of COVID-19 health orders designed to protect residents. Local retailers and the business community are hemorrhaging money at a very rapid rate and the threat of permanent closure is very real to many business owners. Tax deductions alone do not provide enough immediate help, whereas refundable tax credits would have a more beneficial impact. PPE equipment for staff, increased safety training, and other resources to help retailers keep employees and customers safe are essential. However, the costs associated with these increased demands have, and are continuing to add up substantially.

Recommendation

We urge government to consider using refundable tax credits as a way to provide practical assistance to companies incurring COVID-19 “eligible expenditures” up to a certain limit.


Maintain predictable minimum wage

Saskatchewan has established a predictable model for calculating annual minimum wage adjustments based on Saskatchewan’s indexation formula that gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and average hourly wage for Saskatchewan. The approach helps ensure politics are removed from the process, and that increases fairly balance the interests of employees and employers. Examples such as Alberta have demonstrated that rapid and unpredictable increases can harm employment opportunities, often for those with the least experience including youth.

Recommendation

Maintain the current CPI / average wage approach to minimum wage adjustments that ensures a transparent, predictable formula and adequate lead time for business owners to budget.


Align definition of a workday with the rest of Canada

Workers in Saskatchewan lose out in scheduling flexibility and income due to the decision by the province to not align with all other Canadian provinces in setting a workday as a calendar day which would reset at midnight.

By using an administratively complex rolling clock, Saskatchewan employers must restrict a worker from most shifts, if they worked 8 hours in the previous day. For example, a university student is prohibited from working before 2:00pm on Saturday, if they worked Friday 2pm – 10pm on Friday, unless the employer wants to pay overtime. Saskatchewan workers lose millions in wages annually through schedule reductions due to this red tape pointless rule.

Recommendation

Fix the Employment Standards Act to redefine a workday as resetting at midnight each day, preserving an employee’s right to appropriate rest between shifts, however not creating barriers to more work and higher income.


Ensure eCommerce sellers pay their fair share

The pandemic has resulted in significant increases in online sales, primarily benefiting non-resident foreign eCommerce sellers. Those retailers have lower property and labour costs than brick-and-mortar provincial sellers, and generally give their employees significantly lower pay and benefits. They also employ no Saskatchewanians.  Many non-resident eCommerce entities sell into the province without charging or remitting the Provincial Sales Tax, and recent amendments to the PST Act (Bill no. 211) may help address this.  However, these same outlets also pay no eco-fees, yet the packaging for their shipments and products, as well as the products themselves at end-of-life, are discarded into our recycling system. Brick-and-mortar retailers pay these costs, and ultimately subside foreign online sellers, from the United States, Asia and beyond.

Recommendation:

Level the playing field as a champion of fairness by ensuring foreign obligating sellers contribute their fair share of taxes and eco-fees, no longer taking a free ride on the backs of local business.


Reduce tax burden on business

As of July 1, 2020, Alberta’s business tax rate is 8%, significantly lower than Saskatchewan at 12%.  Saskatchewan’s provincial sales tax rate is 6% while Alberta has no provincial sales tax at all. The harsh reality is that an overwhelming majority of Canadians live in places with lower business taxes than Saskatchewan, and our neighbours in Alberta have significant advantages. 

Recommendation

Commit to not raising PST during your mandate, as well as establishing a road map to lowering business taxes so as to improve Saskatchewan’s competitiveness and stimulate growth and employment.


Get Involved

shopkeeper holding retail matters sign

1. Find your candidates

Learn about your local candidates by visiting the party websites:

Use the Elections Saskatchewan tool to find candidates and their contact info for your riding.

Find your candidates

2. Print your sign

Show your pride in retail by posting a photo of your retail staff holding a #RetailMatters sign or a photo of your store.

#RetailMatters sign

Print #RetailMatters Sign

3. Tell candidates #RetailMatters

Use these links to send parties your staff photos or customized tweets.


Contributing to political parties – what you need to know

Contributing to a campaign can be an effective way to build relationships with candidates in your riding.

Make sure that you understand the rules before lending your support to a provincial political party and its campaign.

Who can contribute?

Donations can be accepted from Canadian citizens regardless of where they reside.

No donations can be accepted by non-Canadian citizens if they do not reside in Canada. As well, no anonymous contributions in excess of $250 may be accepted by a registered political party or candidate.

What is the contribution limit?

In Saskatchewan, there are no donation limits on contributions to registered political parties or candidates.  

How can a contribution be made?

The contribution is made to either a registered political party or the party’s electoral district association.

Who can receive contributions?

Political contributions can be in the form of money, goods or services. All contributions over $250 must be disclosed in a registered political party’s or candidate’s audited financial returns.

Political Contributions Tax Credit Table

The return needs to include the name of the donor and total contribution amount by that individual, corporation, trade union, unincorporated organization, association, person or group of persons.

For more information on political donations and contributions, see the Elections Saskatchewan page.

Contact Us

For questions or to find out more, contact John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairies) [email protected] or 204-926-8624.

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