STA Reacts to the 2023-2024 Provincial Budget
Mar 23, 2023
Regina, Saskatchewan – On March 22nd, the Government of Saskatchewan tabled the 2023-2024 provincial budget. This fiscal year, the Ministry of Highways has a $776 million budget to be utilized to make roads safer, strengthen transportation corridors, and improve roadways for people and businesses in the north, including companies that transport forestry products and critical minerals like potash and uranium.
The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) is pleased with aspects of this year’s budget – namely, the $422 million commitment to capital projects, which will include twinning projects on Highway 6 and 39 between Regina and Weyburn, upgrades to Highway 15 between Highways 11 and 2, as well as widening on Highway 5 near Saskatoon. Additionally, STA is pleased with the improvements that will be made to sight lines at key intersections, which will help to improve safety and reduce both the number and severity of collisions at these intersections.
While these investments are needed and fulfill the government’s five-year commitment, STA is disappointed that the budget does not articulate whether these investments will include pull outs for commercial vehicles, despite the government committing to them.
Similarly, the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety’s budget falls short in their commitment to commercial vehicle enforcement. Figures provided to STA from the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol (SHP) highlight the lack of resources available, resulting in one officer responsible for enforcement on roughly 1,000 km of road.
“The lack of funding made available to SHP and for the creation of pull outs presents a safety issue for commercial vehicles travelling on our province’s highways,” said Executive Director Susan Ewart. “National Safety Code requirements stipulate that drivers must regularly check their cargo and securement systems throughout their trip. Without adequate pull outs and enforcement from SHP, unsafe practices and non-compliance with regulations will continue.”
This is at a time when the industry is facing an acute labour shortage. “When we do not give drivers the necessary tools to safely do their job, they leave the industry. Given that Saskatchewan is a landlocked economy that relies on road transport, it is vital that investments be made at the governmental level to ensure our industry can safely operate.”
These views were echoed by STA’s Board Chair Heather Day, who stated “The Association thanks the province for investing in infrastructure solutions to support the safety and efficiency of the truck transportation industry. However, there is an ongoing and growing need to further invest in safe highway networks. Trucking welcomes the province’s work to improve sightlines at intersections and their recent Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy but would like to see the province further align its infrastructure spending with WorkSafe Saskatchewan’s strategy by creating safe areas for drivers to pull off the road for their required cargo securement and vehicle inspections. Our skilled and professional drivers are our most valuable assets, and it is important that we are keeping them, and the motoring public, safe while trucking delivers the essentials upon which our economy depends.”
About Saskatchewan Trucking Association
The Saskatchewan Trucking Association strives to be the leader and voice for truck transport in the province of Saskatchewan. As proactive trusted advisors, we promote advocacy, knowledge, training, education, and safety in all our activities. The Association is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of owners and operators of trucking companies and affiliate members from supplier companies.
Empowering Women with Transportation Industry Skills
Women Shifting Gears
The STA, YWCA Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Ministry of Immigration and Career Training have launched a pilot-program to encourage more woman to participate in the trucking industry.