Local Workforce Attraction & Retention

Even with historically high rate of population growth, the number of people entering the workforce in the province is not large enough to replace the aging population leaving. Succession planning and retirements will force changes, and advancements will happen from within creating excellent opportunities. Older members in the work force are expected to retire in the next decade and local companies will be forced to compete for new employees. In the next 5 years, 20% of the workforce will be eligible for retirement. In particular there are many management positions nearing retirement. It is estimated Saskatchewan will need 35,000 new workers and 60,000 replacement workers in the next five years. For example, 18 per cent of the province’s construction workforce is expected to retire over the next 10 years - the industry will have to recruit young people to replace as many as 8,800 skilled workers reaching retirement this decade.

LOCAL JOBS Approximately 900 people work in the heavy industrial plants located near Belle Plaine with as many as half living in Moose Jaw. Numbers are expected to grow as the K+S Mine potash mine becomes operational. This means new job opportunities in trades and technologies, administration, management, and general labourers. The potash mines, along with their supply chains, will need workers trained in the Engineering Technologies, Building Trades and Business Administration. Higher levels of educational attainment will be necessary to prepare for the next decade and beyond. Those with only Grade 12 and no experience will be shut out of the higher paying industrial jobs. Training and industrial work experience will be required.

GRADUATE RETENTION PROGRAM The program is an incentive to graduates to stay in the province providing personal income tax credits to rebate up to $20,000 in tuition fees to post-secondary students. This tuition rebate against taxes is paid out over 10 years. The rebate is based on the amount of tuition fees paid - $3,000 for certificates, $6,400 for diplomas, $15,000 for three-year degrees and $20,000 for four-year degrees. The program was launched in 2008 and 58,000 graduates have already used the program with the government paying out $200M in rebates.

TRAINING FOR SKILLED JOBS Polytechnic Institutes are offering more apprenticeship training handling approximately 6,000 apprentices annually across the province.

CANADA-SASKATCHEWAN JOB GRANT PROGRAM (CSJG) This program provides financial assistance to Saskatchewan employers to help workers get the training needed for available jobs. Through this program, employers and government partner to fund training that will provide individuals with the skills needed by employers in today’s workplace. The Canada Job Grant will allocate up to $15,000 for training per prospective employee (up to $5,000 by the employer with half allowed in the form of in-kind wages and up to $10,000 by government) to a maximum of $250,000 yearly. This is an Employer-Driven Program which means the employer must:

  • Decide what training is required;
  • Select the candidates;
  • Choose a third party trainer and contract directly for training (minimum of 25 hours);
  • Have a job available for the trainee at the end of the training; and
  • Contribute minimum one-third of eligible training costs; includes tuition, student fees, textbooks, software, examinations. Note: Small employers with less than 50 employees may apply trainee wages towards a portion of their in-kind contribution.

TRAINING SKILLED FARM LABOUR Producers need more skilled labour for their farming operations. The Province has launched an agricultural operator pilot program at some of its Regional Colleges to give practical, hands-on training to people interested in working on Saskatchewan farms, in seeding, spraying and harvest. More courses are being developed for the livestock industry, including haying, beef cattle reproduction and calving, and cattle husbandry and handling.

MINIMUM WAGE Indexing minimum wage regulations (tied to the consumer price index) was introduced in the Province in 2014, and will provide security for minimum wage earners and ensure predictability for business owners. Saskatchewan’s minimum wage rate is $10.50 per hour. As of October 31, 2015 minimum wage across Canada is as follows:

WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD (WCB) WCB has approved the 2016 average employer premium rate at $1.34 per $100 of payroll a reduction of 8.2 per cent from the 2015 level of $1.46 per $100 of payroll

IMMIGRATION Recruiting skilled overseas employees with more and more diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds will increase as local employers rely on attracting skilled workers from other countries to grow. Foreign workers can fill labour shortages in Canada and bring new skills and knowledge to help the city’s economy grow.

Changes to the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) are intended to address concerns of both immigrants and the federal government. The changes consolidate nine categories into three main categories: (i) the international skilled worker category; (ii) the Saskatchewan experience category; and (iii) the entrepreneur and farm category – with new eligibility requirements. The focus is on attracting workers with high-skill employment offers, while accepting some applications from workers in demand occupations without the requirement of pre-arranged employment.

The province announced the new Saskatchewan Express Entry category in early 2015 adding 775 additional nominees to SNIP, bringing the total number of SNIP nomination up to 5,500 for 2015. In June 2015, the provincial government launched the new online application system for SNIP with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) committing to process applications within six months or less, compared to one to four years under the old “first come, first served” application system. The new category targets individuals with post secondary education and training in occupation that are in demand in the province. These high-skilled individuals must have significant work experience, high language skills, and be well educated. The online application is available on www.economy.gov.sk.ca/immigration/express-entry or call 306-798-7467.

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program announced by the Federal government have added new requirements, fees and longer wait times even though small business relies on the program to fill vacancies in critical demand trades. The federal government caps the number of new foreign workers that companies can hire at 20 per cent. In 2016 the cap will be cut to 10 per cent.

NEWCOMERS CENTRE The centre for Moose Jaw Multicultural Council’s Gateway for Newcomers is located at 432 Main Street North, Moose Jaw, SK., (phone 306.693.4677), offering programs and services including access to English as a Second Language classes, childcare, and assistance with employment and immigration related matters.