Category Archives: miscellaneous

Saskatchewan’s mining sector meets the supply-chain face-to-face

10th Annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum

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Released on February 26, 2018

Government of Saskatchewan logo

Premier Scott Moe today fulfilled his commitment to reinstate the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) exemption for agriculture, life and health insurance premiums, effective today.

“Our government will help families and small businesses save money, invest and help our province grow,” Moe said.  “Part of that commitment is to exempt agriculture, life and health insurance from PST.”

The exemption covers agriculture, which includes crop, livestock and hail insurance premiums as well as individual and group life and health insurance premiums.  Health includes disability, accident and sickness insurance.

The exemption is retroactive to August 1, 2017, the date PST was applied to insurance.

The change has an impact of $65 million on revenue forecast for 2017-18 and a $120 million impact on revenue forecast for 2018-19.

Moe said the financial impact can be accommodated within the government’s three-year plan to balance the budget by 2019-20.

“Our fiscal plan remains on track, even with this reinstatement of the PST exemption on crop, life and health insurance,” Moe said.

The Ministry of Finance will work with the insurance industry to determine the best way to refund individuals and businesses that have paid PST on agriculture, life and health insurance premiums.  More information about how the refunds will be administered will be available by April 10.


For more information, contact:

Karen Hill
Executive Council
Phone: 306-787-2127

Exploration agreement aims to help junior mining companies in northern Saskatchewan

Exploration agreement aims to help junior mining companies in northern Sask. and Man.

Future of Creighton, Sask.’s main industry ‘up in the air,’ according to longtime Mayor Bruce Fidler

By Bridget Yard, CBC News Posted: Jan 31, 2018 6:00 PM CT Last Updated: Jan 31, 2018 6:00 PM CT

Seabee gold

An agreement between the Saskatchewan and federal governments worth approximately $2 million will aim to help junior mining companies in their exploration of northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The agreement was signed in December 2017. 

The future of the mining camps near Creighton, Sask., which is approximately 430 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, is “up in the air,” according to the town’s mayor.

“The forecast put out a year ago by Hudbay [Minerals] was that the 777 mine, the one in operation right now where they’re producing ore, is going to run out and shut down in three or four years,” said Bruce Fidler.

He estimates a shutdown would affect roughly 700 employees, who live for the most part in Creighton and Flin Flon, Man.

A processing plant in Flin Flon is still in operation, processing ore from a mine in Snow Lake.

“We’ve been hoping for some kind of program to come out for a couple years now, to assist the juniors in getting out there and doing exploration and drilling and finding another ore body that could save, or at least be, the next mine,” said Filder.

Overhead survey

The agreement will fund an airborne survey of the Flin Flon and Creighton region, which is a well-known, “highly prospective” area.

Three mines are already in operation in the region. The 777 mine, near Flin Flon, mines zinc and copper, and smaller amounts of gold and silver. The Lalor mine in the Chisel Basin produces the same minerals.

Nearby Reed mine produces copper. Hudbay owns the majority of each mine.

“The challenge is actually identifying the deposits. This survey is going to be taking place and trying to see through rocks that actually cover the old volcanic rocks in Flin Flon you can see on the ground,” said University of Saskatchewan geology professor Kevin Ansdell.

While there are many kinds of geophysical surveys, the new agreement focuses on two, using both a helicopter and an airplane.

“The helicopter is flying over a piece of land and it’s emitting an electromagnetic current at low level,” said the head geologist on the project, Gary Delaney.

“That goes down into the ground and if there’s a conductive body, that will generate its own current.”

The conductive body could be indicative of a copper or zinc deposit.

Process will take years

Once a deposit is found, it is up to the mining companies to invest, explore further, and decide if a mine is economically viable.

Fidler hopes a new mine can be set up before the others dry up, in order to keep the existing zinc metallurgical plant and concentrator operating.

The town’s efforts have concentrated on economic development in recent months, to prepare for the loss of the mining sector. Creighton, Flin Flon, and Denare Beach have banded together to create a regional economic development committee.

A new economic development officer has been hired, and will start their role Feb. 1.

The top-10 global mining trends expected for 2018

Download Deloitte’s full “Tracking the Trends” HERE


These are top-10 global mining trends expected for 2018

The most important one? Transitioning towards a “digital mine”

Cecilia Jamasmie

Seabee gold

In the last 10 years, the mining industry has been on a roller-coaster, with commodity prices reaching both historic highs and lows, as well as operational realities shifting irrevocably in the face of a digital revolution. And companies better fasten their seat belts because those rapid changes are likely to continue and even accelerate this year, a study released by Deloitte on Wednesday says.

Phil Hopwood, Global Mining Leader at Deloitte and author of “Tracking the Trends” annual mining report, now in its 10th edition, told that as several commodities appear to be at the onset of a bull run for the next 10 years, the sector will have to continue its transition to the digital mine of the future and anticipate future disruptors, including declining ore body grades, decreasing availability of tier one assets, and continued focus on shareholder returns.

Turning disruption into opportunity requires a long-term view capable of assessing how emerging market trends may affect the demand for specific commodities.

But turning disruption into opportunity requires a long-term view capable of assessing how emerging market trends may affect the demand for specific commodities, he says.

“Looking back just 20 years, it’d have been hard to believe that nickel, lithium, cobalt and graphite would be an affordable way to power batteries,” says Hopwood. “Today that is the reality and a potential growth opportunity, particularly with the emergence of electric vehicles.”

Asked whether the impressive gains in commodity and equity prices around the world in the lithium, cobalt and other “battery-making” metals sectors are a trend or just investment hype, Hopwood is quick to note that most new commodities result in an initial “plug”.

“There is no doubt excitement around those commodities. They are the key ingredients in batteries — and energy sources of the future – but I don’t think the hype around needing better quality nickel is ‘hype’ at all; it’s integral. Laterite nickel pig iron (NPI) is simply not as good as nickel sulfide for use in batteries; but of course it’s the cheaper option. The problem is, you can’t substitute for good quality nickel and expect quality results,” he says.

The same goes for lithium, Hopwood adds. “The bottom line is that what we need to focus on is the fundamentals and ask more pressing questions, like how to get the resources out of the ground effectively to meet supply.”

To thrive in the mining industry’s historical boom and bust cycle and capitalize on new opportunities, he says, companies must rethink the traditional mining model.

“I see mining really making changes in terms of adopting digital technology and innovative thinking – though still at an early stage for some.”

He notes that some big names in the industry, such as BHP, are really focusing on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As revealed in Deloitte Canada’s recent report on Inclusion – inclusive companies deliver better financial results.

Mining companies are also moving to being more visible and transparent in their reporting, Hopwood says.

“They are out there talking about the work they do with communities and their commitments. They are publishing papers and trying to improve their reputation(s) by publishing POVs and reports on where the industry should be heading. They now understand that they have a responsibility to play an integral role in the “image” of mining,” he notes.

While there is still more that can be done, the expert believes the wheels are in motion and that the industry is moving in the right direction.

Download Deloitte’s full “Tracking the Trends” HERE

‘Eco-colonialism’: Rift grows between Indigenous leaders and green activists

‘Eco-colonialism’: Rift grows between Indigenous leaders and green activists

Indigenous communities say they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree

Claudia Cattaneo

Financial Post

Martin Louie.png

Martin Louie

With flowing long hair, stoic expression and tribal garb, Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in north-central British Columbia, more than looked and acted the part of an aggrieved leader in the epic fight against the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.

He was quoted in the campaign’s news releases, filed complaints to the United Nations and spoke defiantly to investors. Environmental group even described him as the “poster boy” for Indigenous opposition to Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline.

The $7-billion pipeline was eventually cancelled last year, but Louie didn’t actually want to sink the project. Lost in the heat of the public battle was that he really just wanted to win more money for his impoverished community than the “ridiculous” $70,000 a year being offered by the company.

Louie’s experience is indicative of a widening rift between Indigenous communities and activists over natural resources, particularly in British Columbia, the focal point of major green campaigns generously funded by U.S. interests to thwart oil and gas exports.

The campaigns consistently portray a united Indigenous anti-development front and allies of the green movement, but some Indigenous leaders are becoming alarmed that they could be permanently frozen out of the mainstream economy if resource projects don’t go ahead.

They said in interviews they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas, recruiting token members to front their causes, sowing mistrust and conflict, and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree.

“The best way to describe it is eco-colonialism,” said Ken Brown, a former chief of the Klahoose First Nation in southwestern B.C. “You are seeing a very pervasive awakening among these First Nations leaders about what is going on in the environmental community.”

For instance, Louie is now one of the leaders of the proposed $17-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline, a Northern Gateway alternative championed by First Nations.

“When I went after Enbridge we were trying to gain more benefits for major projects going through our country,” he said.

Word soon got out about his differences with Enbridge and he was approached by a handful of lawyers representing green organizations who promised him assistance and funding, Louie recalled.

Their partnership ended bitterly because the two sides had conflicting objectives. He wanted better benefits; the activists wanted the project to fail.

The eventual failure of Northern Gateway was just one of a series of tipping points in recent months that worry some Indigenous leaders.

There was also the demise of Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG, as well as the continuing challenges faced by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and other proposed LNG projects. These cancellations and obstacles are celebrated by activists, but also wiped out jobs and revenue for First Nations.

Eagle Spirit also faces difficulties. Led by Indigenous lawyer Calvin Helin and supported by First Nations along the proposed route through northern B.C., the project will collapse if the federal government goes ahead with a tanker ban that is making its way through Parliament.

The ban is related to the Great Bear Rainforest, which was created by the B.C. government last year to conserve a big part of the province’s northern and central coast.

Both initiatives are seen by greens as big achievements, but are disputed by First Nations such as the Lax Kw’alaams, who said they were advanced without proper consultation and prevent their members from making a living.

Brown’s experience with environmental activism started about a decade ago, when he was chief of his tribe and supported two run-of-river hydro projects.

The projects were attacked by groups such as Save Our Rivers and Western Canada Wilderness Committee for being harmful to fish habitat, and Brown’s band was criticized for being “sellouts and socially irresponsible people looking for the quick buck,” he said.

“What an onslaught it was. There was a high level of participation from people who had never been to the region … and they were all conveying the same narrative: ‘The sky is falling, keep your blood money, corporations are evil.’”

Brown, who now runs a consulting company, said similar tactics are used against other projects, too.

“If First Nations communities are willing to conform to the prescribed eco-narratives, they are going to get all kinds of accolades and praise, but if they don’t conform, it’s vitriolic hit pieces on these people,” he said.

Louie is still shaken by the backlash he experienced. After complaining to activists they were only using him to advance their cause, he said he was blackballed.

“Workers were spreading the word that I am not a good man, that I am there to ruin the environment, that I am making money on my own,” he said. “They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I wouldn’t be struggling to pay for my car payments.”

Louie said he joined the Eagle Spirit project to achieve what he couldn’t with Northern Gateway: help his tribe become economically self-reliant.

Environmental organizations and Indigenous communities in recent years have found common cause in opposing some projects and in fighting the impacts of capitalism on the environment, said Dwight Newman, Canada research chair in Indigenous rights at the University of Saskatchewan.

A big reason is that Indigenous people have unique legal rights and by working with them, green groups are better able to block developments than if they relied on environmental grounds alone, he said.

Section 35 of Canada’s constitution states the Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and, where it anticipates adverse impacts, to accommodate to the extent reasonably possible.

So far, the law has been used against development, but one of the unknowns is whether Indigenous communities will use it to pursue economic development and override the environmental laws that block projects such as Eagle Spirit, Newman said.

“At some point, these arguments will end up in the courts, either directly as rights claims or as claims that there ought to have been consultation on potential effects on such rights,” Newman said in an article for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

“And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from development.”

Many conservation campaigns rely on U.S. funds because there is more money available there due to tax laws and an abundance of wealthy philanthropists.

Vancouver-based researcher and blogger Vivian Krause has tallied the large sums poured by U.S. groups to fight pipelines and gas projects in Canada by analyzing tax filings.

The biggest funder has been the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has granted more than $190 million to First Nations, environmental and other organizations working in B.C., Krause said.

The top recipient of funds from the Moore Foundation is Tides Canada, which received at least $70 million, she said. Tides Canada spends that money internally and re-grants it to other groups, particularly First Nations organizations.

Other big U.S.-based funders are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.

“These American interests are trying to stop these projects any way they can, and one of the best ways is by leveraging the constitutional rights of First Nations in the courts,” Krause said.

The former United Nations worker said she pursued the research because of pleas for help from Indigenous leaders “who want jobs and social and economic prosperity (and) are sick and tired of what they call the paid protesters.”

One of those leaders is Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska, and a member of Eagle Spirit’s Chiefs Council. He’s disappointed the federal government is giving more weight to environmentalists than to the needs of Indigenous communities.

“We were totally taken aback and surprised by the announcement of this tanker ban because of the government’s statement that they were going to include First Nations,” he said. “No one got consulted.”

Eagle Spirit would create jobs and opportunities “that people never had” in a region where other industries such as fishing, forestry and eco-tourism are doing badly, he said.

Alexcee, 70, said many in his community don’t support green campaigns. He said activists have come to the region in big numbers and picked “token” members to advance their causes.

Relations between activists and Indigenous people got really ugly in nearby Prince Rupert, in the territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

The community was initially opposed to a liquefied natural gas project proposed by a consortium led by Malaysia’s Petronas because of its location on Lelu Island, which they believed would threaten juvenile salmon.

They became supporters after negotiating bigger benefits and getting the project to re-locate.

But a small group of opponents continued to protest. Their frontman was Donnie Wesley, who claimed to be a hereditary chief and led an occupation of the site. That opened the door for activists to come in and offer band members funds and assistance to defeat a high-profile target, said Mayor John Helin.

Dozens of “professional protesters” travelled to the area from as far away as California with funding from groups such as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, which, in turn, was getting money from Tides and the Moore Foundation.

“More or less, they called me a traitor,” Helin said.

Petronas pulled the plug on the $36-billion venture this summer, which meant $2 billion in benefits over 40 years for the band were lost.

The Lax Kw’alaams chided Wesley for misrepresenting himself as a hereditary leader. The dispute over who represented the community ended up in court. Wesley lost and is appealing.

Greg Knox, executive director of Terrace, B.C.-based SkeenaWild, said there is a wide range of perspectives in Indigenous communities and while some may feel they lost opportunity when Petronas cancelled its LNG project, others were relieved because salmon were no longer threatened.

“This project was proposed for a terrible location,” Knox said. Many other LNG projects were also proposed, but “this was the only one that people were concerned about and there was big opposition to.”

His group also campaigned against Northern Gateway and supports the tanker ban, he said, but doesn’t have a position on Eagle Spirit yet because it doesn’t have enough information. brags on its website that it has delayed or stopped 21 “dirty oil pipelines and train projects.” But it relied on Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, to confront Kinder Morgan Canada chief executive Ian Anderson at a recent Vancouver Board of Trade event promoting the $7.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I do not welcome you onto my territory. You are not welcome on my lands, and you certainly cannot be doing business here without Tsleil-Waututh consent,” George said, according to a statement distributed by the group.

“It’s really Indigenous nations protecting their land that allows us to win these fights,” said campaigner Hailey Zacks, noting 150 First Nations in Canada and the U.S. are opposed to the project.

For its part, Kinder Morgan said 42 directly impacted Indigenous communities are supportive of the pipeline expansion and have signed benefits agreements.

Zacks couldn’t speak to that, but said, “What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Haida Gwaii is one community known as a hostile place for development of all kinds — and for those who dare to promote it.

Hereditary chief Ray Jones, 66, was harshly castigated for doing consulting work for Northern Gateway, which would have included tankers sailing to and from Asia, potentially impacting the island.

A former captain in the fishing industry with intimate knowledge of the coast, the 66-year-old said he supported the shipment of oil and gas and any other work that promised desperately needed employment.

His contract job with Enbridge involved building communications between the island community and the company, he said.

But Jones was up against powerful forces. Haida Gwaii’s leadership worked closely with activists, he said, “a whole pile of them,” particularly from the David Suzuki Foundation, visited the area regularly and influenced the local population.

The foundation did not respond to an interview request.

The community was so close-minded about getting an alternative point of view, few even asked him what his job with Enbridge involved, Jones said.

“Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor,” he said. “I have two sisters who don’t talk to me. I have had people call me the village clown, a lot of derogatory things. I’ve had my tires slashed, I’ve had somebody key my car. It’s ugly.”

The same attitude has killed other jobs, pushing young people away and leaving the rest with nothing to improve their lot, he said.

“I always tell my grand children, get a damn good education because I don’t know what you kids are in for in your life,” Jones said. “We lived in a good time.”

Saskatchewan’s economy will lead the country in GDP growth in 2018 and 2019 – RBC

RBC projecting Sask. economy to rebound in 2018 and 2019

Projecting a 2.7% growth in both years due to agriculture, with help from oil and gas

CBC News Posted: Dec 12, 2017 10:30 AM CT Last Updated: Dec 12, 2017 10:30 AM CT

Rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors behind the economic rebound in 2018 and 2019, according to the RBC forecast.

Rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors behind the economic rebound in 2018 and 2019, according to the RBC forecast. (Courtesy Paul Dornstauder)

Saskatchewan’s economy will lead the country in GDP growth in 2018 and 2019, according to RBC’s economic forecast.


RBC is projecting a growth of 2.7 per cent both years, if all goes well.

The economy is expected to receive a boost from the agriculture sector, with some help from oil and gas in the strengthening energy sector.

“Our view is that rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors accelerating overall GDP growth over the next two years,” the report says.

Capital spending and the construction industry may have a good year, due to improvement in the mining sector as well.

Potash, after a decline in production in 2016, has increased so far this year thanks to a strong global demand and key contracts with China and India, the report says.

In addition, the bank is forecasting employment in the province to rise by half a percentage point and the unemployment rate to remain at 5.7 per cent next year.

Equalization payments – 2018-19 – something’s wrong with this system

As Brad Wall posted on Facebook . . .

Equilization payments 2018-19

Quebec is cutting income taxes, sending cheques to parents, and will balance their budget.

Wondering where they got the money?

This year, Quebec is receiving $11.7 BILLION in equalization, which makes up 11% of their total revenue. That’s $650 MILLION more than last year.

Saskatchewan taxpayers are contributing $580 million to equalization just this year and again receive ZERO dollars in equalization as our finances struggle with the challenge of stubbornly low commodity prices.

Something isn’t right.



Government of Saskatchewan logo

Released on December 6, 2017

Regulations Are Next Step Toward Equivalency Agreement With The Federal Government

As committed to in Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, the Government of Saskatchewan today passed regulations on coal-fired electricity as a next step toward an equivalency agreement with the federal government.

Under an equivalency agreement, the Government of Canada would accept that Saskatchewan meets or exceeds federal standards, enabling the province to regulate its own emissions from SaskPower’s fleet of coal-fired power plants.  The regulations passed today are a necessary step in the equivalency agreement process, which was announced in principle in November 2016.

Government also proclaimed portions of The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act, which enabled reporting, verification and compliance powers, and will enable drafting of new regulations and standards to further support Saskatchewan’s comprehensive approach to climate change.

“The Act and Regulations are fundamental to the province’s climate change strategy,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “These regulations are the next step for the province to complete an equivalency agreement to provincially regulate electricity emissions.”

Without an equivalency agreement, federal regulations would require all coal-fired units that do not meet a stringent performance standard to close at the end of their economic life, or by 2030, whichever comes first.

Under pending federal regulations, SaskPower would be required to regulate emissions on a unit-by-unit basis.  However, with an equivalency agreement in place, SaskPower would have financial and regulatory flexibility to continue operating coal units past their federal shutdown date by outperforming federal emission reduction requirements on a fleet-wide basis.  Under provincial regulation, future electricity emissions are expected to outperform federal expectations.

“SaskPower welcomes an agreement that will recognize that we have captured and stored 1.75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since successfully launching carbon capture sequestration on Boundary Dam 3,” SaskPower CEO and President Mike Marsh said.  “We are also developing greener ways of generating electricity.  Having flexibility will allow us to deliver reliable and moderately-priced electricity and meet growing demand with a diversified generation portfolio that includes wind and solar.  We’ve set an aggressive target of up to 50 per cent generation capacity from renewables by 2030.”

The Ministry of Environment and SaskPower continue to work with Environment and Climate Change Canada to finalize the equivalency agreement and ensure provincial regulations are accepted in lieu of federal coal-fired electricity regulations.

The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases (General and Electricity Producer) Regulations take effect January 1, 2018.  A final equivalency agreement is expected by 2019.


For more information, contact:

Darby Semeniuk
Phone: 306-787-0143

Media Relations
Phone: 306-536-2886

Saskatchewan Mining Association supports Government of Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Strategy


Monday, December 4, 2017


Regina:  The Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) is supportive of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Plan which was released earlier today.  While the Saskatchewan Plan has a lower emissions threshold than the Federal Climate Change Plan, the sector-based, multi-faceted approach will ensure the ‘Made in Saskatchewan Plan’ is effective in reducing GHG emissions while ensuring the sustainability of Saskatchewan communities.

As Canada transitions to a low-carbon economy, the Saskatchewan Climate Change Plan features flexible compliance mechanisms, including adoption of innovative and best in class technology that will allow mining to continue to be a pillar of Saskatchewan’s economy while continuing to provide clean energy and food to the world.

The Saskatchewan mining sector is particularly sensitive to a price on carbon as it represents an additional direct cost for producers that international competitors aren’t paying. “Ensuring the mining sector remains globally competitive is vitally important to Saskatchewan, particularly in this period of low commodity prices,” said Pam Schwann, SMA President.    “We need to be mindful that, as we work to reduce GHG emissions, mining investments and jobs are not being exported to other international jurisdictions that don’t have the robust environment and safety regulatory framework that exists in Saskatchewan and Canada.”

Saskatchewan’s mining operations account for 3% of provincial GHG emissions. “Our members are committed to bringing our expertise to the table and working with the province to reduce GHG emissions from the mining sector.”  said Schwann.


About SMA

Saskatchewan Mining Association is an industry-driven organization representing the mining and mineral exploration industry with over 25 mining operations in the province.

SMA advocates on behalf of members on issues related to provincial and federal regulatory changes, develops and supports educational outreach programs, organizes and hosts public outreach and membership events.  Please visit


For more information please contact:

Pam Schwann, P. Geo, MSc

President, Saskatchewan Mining Association; (306) 757-9505

Young men in Sask. making more with apprenticeships than bachelor’s degrees: Stats Can

Young men in Sask. making more with apprenticeships than bachelor’s degrees: Stats Can

Sask. deviates from Canada-wide trend, in which those with apprenticeship certificates make 11% less

By Micki Cowan, CBC News Posted: Nov 29, 2017 11:54 AM CT Last Updated: Nov 29, 2017 6:12 PM CT

The number of young men getting apprenticeship certificates in Canada jumped nearly three percentage points since 2006.

The number of young men getting apprenticeship certificates in Canada jumped nearly three percentage points since 2006. (Shutterstock)

Young men in Saskatchewan are increasingly looking to make their fortunes in the trades, according to a new Statistics Canada report released Wednesday — and they seem to be making a bit more here than those with university undergraduate degrees.

Statistics Canada found that last year, 7.8 per cent of men in the country had an apprenticeship certificate, up from 4.9 per cent in 2006.

The proportion of men between 25 to 34 with certificates was even higher in resource-rich Prairie provinces like Saskatchewan.

Here, 11.9 per cent of young men had trades certificates last year, which was the second-highest proportion among provinces in Canada.

Anne Neufeld, vice-president academic of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, said the numbers indicate that more people are seeing the trades as a viable career option.

“There are many people who really like to work with their hands — they like to work outdoors, for example. So these trades opportunities are very, very attractive for these individuals, and their long-term career prospects are very, very strong,” Neufeld said.

She said 94 per cent of graduates from Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s programs have jobs within six months.

“So we’re not only attracting them, we’re graduating them, they’re finding well-paid jobs and they’re staying in the province to support the economy,” she said.

Fortune seeking

In Saskatchewan, the report found men were also making more money with apprenticeship certificates than with bachelor’s degrees — bucking the Canadian trend.

The median annual earnings for apprenticeship certificate holders in Saskatchewan was $86,059, compared with $84,825 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

Neufeld said Saskatchewan Polytechnic graduates’ starting salaries are just under $50,000 per year.

Canada-wide, men with apprenticeship certificates earned 11 per cent less than men with bachelor’s degrees.

Women’s trades stats lower

The percentage of women with apprenticeship certificates across the country is still much lower than men. According to the Stats Can report, that number has been stable since 2006 at less than two per cent.

Saskatchewan has more women with trades training, but the proportion dropped in the past decade from 2.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent. However, more women have a bachelor’s degree or a more advanced degree, with that number going from 24.6 per cent to 35 per cent.

‘We need to first create the role models.’– Anne Neufeld, Sask. Polytechnic

Neufeld said her school is prioritizing getting more women into the trades, although she said that takes time.

She noted that she is the first female vice-president academic the school has ever had.

She said boys often have an uncle or father in the trades they can look up to.

“Our goal is that we can have young girls and women who would have an aunt, a mother, an older sister in that field — so we need to first create the role models, and then I believe that will attract more girls and younger women into this fabulous career choice,” she said.

One method the school is using is summer camps that allow school-aged girls to give carpentry or welding a try.

Across Canada, women with apprenticeships had lower earnings than those with degrees, according to Statistics Canada.

The report said this shows women are apprenticing in lower-paying trades. Nearly three in 10 women chose hairstyling as their apprenticeship, with median earnings of $34,319.

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