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Pandemic Impacts Final 2019-20 Results

Final results for 2019-20 fiscal year show a $319 million deficit, attributable to a steep revenue decline in the fourth quarter largely caused by the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic and resulting market downturn.

“Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan was on track for balanced budgets in 2019-20 and in the current fiscal year,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said.  “Our government released a budget on June 15 that meets the challenges presented by the pandemic.  I am confident that as Saskatchewan’s economy recovers, our revenues will also recover and we will get back to balance in the coming years.”

The province’s revenue declined by $490 million in the fourth quarter, largely due to a $431 million decline in net income from investment losses in the Government Business Enterprises (GBEs).  Total revenue of $14.89 billion in 2019-20 was less than budgeted by $138 million, or 0.9 per cent.  This decrease was a result of lower-than-expected net income from GBEs, non-renewable resource, and taxation revenue, partly offset by greater-than-expected transfers from the federal government and other own-source revenue.  Revenue in 2019-20 was up by $386 million compared to the previous fiscal year.

Total expense was $15.21 billion in 2019-20, which is $216 million or 1.4 per cent greater than budgeted.  The increase over budget was primarily due to greater-than-expected education expense related to non-cash pension expense and health expense due to volume-based pressures.  These increases were partly offset by lower-than-budgeted agricultural insurance claims due to favorable crop conditions.  Total expense in 2019-20 represents an increase of $437 million, or 3.0 per cent, compared to the previous fiscal year.

“Our government will continue to assist Saskatchewan people through the pandemic while continuing to invest to stimulate the provincial economy and create jobs,” Harpauer said.  “Every province in Canada and every jurisdiction in the world has been impacted financially and economically by the global pandemic.  However, Saskatchewan is better positioned than most on the path to economic and financial recovery.”

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