The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is calling on the province to reinstate the provincial sales tax (PST) exemption for labour on municipal construction projects.

Delegates to the SUMA annual convention in Saskatoon voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to that effect on Monday, April 17. Prior to 2017, the labour component of municipal construction projects was exempt from PST. The 2017 provincial budget removed that exemption, leaving municipalities and their ratepayers solely responsible for funding the additional costs of PST.

SUMA delegates say the downloading of costs onto municipalities by the province is creating serious hardship on municipal ratepayers.

For larger municipalities, the PST costs average out to more than a third of their total revenue sharing grant. According to SUMA officials, the City of Yorkton received about $3.27 million in revenue sharing in 2021, but paid back $997,000 in PST on construction projects that year.

For smaller municipalities the impact is even greater, with the PST bill sometimes equalling or exceeding their entire municipal revenue sharing grant. SUMA officials stated that the Town of Broadview received $117,000 in revenue sharing this year, but expects to pay $110,000 in PST for a combined town office, library and community centre currently under construction.

SUMA delegates also passed a resolution on April 17 calling on the provincial government to reinstate the PST exemption on event tickets.


SUMA delegates voted in favour of a resolution urging the provincial government to enact legislation that would require the consent of a municipality before unwanted, vacant, abandoned or derelict property is transferred into its name. Currently, owners of abandoned or derelict property can transfer title without the municipality’s consent; resulting in expensive clean-up bills for the municipality.


Delegates to the SUMA meeting are calling on the provincial government to provide volunteer fire departments with an adapter that would enable them to disable the power supply for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Volunteer firefighters responding to motor vehicle collisions involving electric and hybrid vehicles face a whole new set of risks because of the high-voltage batteries and cables built into the engine and body of the vehicles. With gas and diesel-powered engines, firefighters ensure the power from the battery is shut off prior to taking the vehicle apart to extricate occupants. But with electric vehicles, it is difficult to tell if the vehicle is running because the motor is so quiet. The risk of fire from lithium batteries in electric vehicles is significant. In addition, failure to disable the battery and cables could result in serious injury or even death to firefighters.


SUMA delegates voted to seek financial assistance from the provincial and federal governments to help municipalities pay the cost of decommissioning and reclamation of historic cells in landfills. Currently, federal and provincial infrastructure project funding only applies to full decommissioning of complete landfills, and does not cover closure of historic cells in the same vicinity as active landfill sites. However, provincial environmental regulations require municipalities to decommission historic landfill sites; without financial assistance from senior levels of government, municipalities are responsible for the entire cost of that decommissioning.


Other resolutions passed by SUMA delegates at the meeting included:

* a call for “additional relief to municipalities to protect them from the effects of the Carbon Tax” through an increase in municipal revenue-sharing grants or other measures;

* calling on the provincial government to establish a contingency fund to help municipalities cover cost overruns on municipal infrastructure projects due to incomplete or inaccurate engineering reports (a mandatory component of infrastructure grant applications);

* a call for additional financial resources to pay for more administrative support staff for RCMP detachments;

* a request for the province to increase Saskatchewan Income Support program rates to address the growing problem of homelessness and other social problems.