The Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association applauds the decision by the provincial government that bans vehicles with Alberta license plates on job sites in this province.
We welcome an inclusive market and one that is fair to all contractors, regardless which side of the provincial border the company is located.
In December, our Infrastructure Minister David Marit announced that vehicles with Alberta licence plates will no longer be allowed on future government highway and building project sites. The ban includes contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and workers. Ministry staff will enforce the provision through job site monitoring.
Feedback over the years from Saskatchewan-based contractors has revealed an uneven playing field. We have heard that Saskatchewan companies have been turned away, passed over or shut out on bidding for projects in favour of home-based contractors.
The decision by Marit is one that levels the playing field.
The difficulty our members experience when they attempt to break into the Alberta marketplace aren’t felt by Alberta companies coming to Saskatchewan. And recent changes to our provincial sales tax application laws have further complicated this issue.
Alberta drivers don't pay PST when registering vehicles as Saskatchewan motorists do. And while Alberta workers are required to pay PST on their big pieces of equipment used on projects in Saskatchewan during construction season, they haven't had to pay the provincial sales tax on their smaller work vehicles or on fuel.
Now Alberta contractors will be required to get Saskatchewan plates and pay PST when they register their company vehicles for the time they work in the province.
SHCA fully supports free trade between provinces and we hope this issue is resolved soon. We support our contractors crossing borders and conducting work wherever they choose. In turn, we support Alberta contractors’ ability to come to Saskatchewan and bid fairly and competitively.
Premier Brad Wall stands by this practice.
"Free trade is in the best interest of both our provinces," the premier wrote on his Facebook page.