The Upstream Economy: A Generational Dialogue for Transformative Change
The #TransformSK report — tabled jointly by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Saskatchewan Construction Association, Saskatchewan Mining Association, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan division of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters — outlines 45 calls to action as the foundation for a comprehensive, provincial dialogue to embrace transformational change, and cultivate shared, long-term social and economic prosperity.
This document is the result of the most extensive pan-industry consultation in Saskatchewan history, conducted between November 2016 and January 2017, which encompassed 60 roundtable discussions in 14 communities, and a three-month effort to collect input electronically via written and video submission. The process yielded hundreds of ideas from thousands of Saskatchewan residents, including feedback from the five founding partners, as well as organizations championing business, economic development, education, healthcare, organized labour, rural and urban governance, Indigenous Peoples, and the environment.
Although such broad-based consultation rarely concludes with universal consensus, several common themes did emerge. Most notably, the need to concentrate efforts on and direct investment in upstream transformation was widely cited as Saskatchewan’s greatest opportunity to generate growth, wealth, and an ever-improving quality of life for the next generation. Four specific pillars were identified as cyclical engines of upstream transformation:
- Education: Graduating informed, prepared global citizens by positioning schools as the hub of our social and economic support model;
- Health: Nurturing the healthiest people and communities on Earth by institutionalizing innovation in service delivery and prioritizing preventative care;
- The economy: Building a thriving, resilient economy that leverages our strengths as a commodity-producing jurisdiction, while fostering an environment of innovation, and aggressively incenting and sparking new investment in advanced technologies, environmental sciences, and value-added industries; and
- Diversity: Respecting differences in culture, heritage, and thought as our supreme strength, and embracing the potential of all Indigenous Peoples.
Sustained progress, however, requires a conducive ecosystem. And, at the core of that system, is outcomes-based leadership and accountability — not just on the part of the provincial government, but also on behalf of its federal and municipal counterparts, community partners, and individuals. We all have a shared responsibility in the change we want to see.
Additionally, this report establishes a clear set of guiding principles, to provide the criteria and minimum benchmark for transformative policy and action, including in other targeted areas of priority focus, from world-class infrastructure and environmental stewardship to amplifying the Saskatchewan story, both at home and abroad.