Timeline: Sask Party Privatization

September
2007

Brad Wall states that “Crowns are not going to be privatized and (subsidiaries) are not going to be wound down.”

May
2008

SaskTel contracts out some SaskTel Max and internet installation to Jump.ca.

July
2008

The Sask. Party government finalizes the sale of its share of SaskFerco to Norway-based Yara International for $738 million. Investment Saskatchewan had received more than $209 million in dividends since the province started investing in the fertilizer company in 1989.

October
2008

The Sask. Party government announces its “Saskatchewan First” policy, requiring Crown corporations to sell off out-of-province investments wherever possible. Over $150 million in holdings will be sold over the next three years.

March
2009

SaskTel outsources its email and conference call services to an out-of-province private company.

October
2009

The Sask. Party government releases its “Patient First Review,” which advocates for more private sector participation in health care delivery.

October
2009

The Sask. Party government licenses the province’s first private wine stores, paving the way to public liquor privatization.

February
2010

The Sask. Party government announces it has contracted out more than 60 per cent of its internal information technology work to private, for-profit companies.

February
2010

The Sask. Party government sells off 23 rental cabins at Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, the last publicly-owned cabins in the provincial park system.

May
2010

The Sask. Party government announces a privately built, owned and operated 100-bed long-term care facility in Saskatoon. The Amicus Health Care deal is similar to a public-private partnership (P3) privatization scheme.

June
2010

The Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) is sold to Ontario-based Bluepoint Investment Corporation for $350,000. Two years later, Rogers Media buys SCN from Bluepoint for more than $3 million.

July
2010

The Ministry of Health releases its “Third Party Delivery Framework” for the contracting out of day surgeries and diagnostic imaging to private health providers.

July
2010

The Sask. Party government outsources responsibility for inspecting boilers, pressurized storage tanks, elevators, escalators and amusement park rides. Government inspectors are transferred to the new Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan, a non-profit company with a strong industry presence on its board.

August
2010

Omni Surgery Centre, a private surgical clinic, starts booking publicly funded dental and knee day surgeries.

October
2010

The Sask. Party government announces a contract with private surgical clinic Saskatoon Surgicentre, to provide publicly funded day surgeries.

October
2010

The industry-run marketing board SaskMilk is created out of a merger of the publicly owned Milk Control Board, which oversaw milk testing, and the private Dairy Farmers of Saskatchewan. The shift gives the milk industry responsibility for testing milk.

February
2011

The private Red Lily wind power project near Moosomin begins operation. Ontario owners Algonquin Power will earn at least $8 million a year selling wind energy to Saskatchewan until 2036.

May
2011

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region starts contracting out CT scans to Radiology Associates of Regina.

June
2011

A private company advertises private seasonal campsites for lease in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. The cost is $30,000 for a 10-year term.

June
2011

Calgary-based Surgical Centres Inc. is the winning bidder to perform day surgeries in Saskatoon and Regina.

October
2011

The Spy Hill Generating Station comes online. Ontario-based owner Northland Power has a 25-year agreement to sell electricity to SaskPower.

February
2012

A privatized surgical centre starts taking patients in Saskatoon. Prairieview Surgical’s three-year contract is for 7,200 day surgeries a year.

April
2012

The Sask. Party government publicly acknowledges that Ministry of Highways engineering services work is increasingly being contracted out to private consultants, and that it plans to close the province’s public engineering services labs.

October
2012

The Sask. Party government creates SaskBuilds, a new Treasury Board Crown corporation that promotes the privatization of public buildings and systems through P3s.

October
2012

The Sask.Party government announces the provincial system issuing hunting, fishing and trapping licences will be automated, and contracts out operation of the online system to Texas-based ACTIVE Network.

November
2012

The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region extends its first private surgery contract with Surgical Centres Incorporated, and signs a second deal with Aspen Medical Surgery Inc., a for-profit surgical clinic based in Australia.

November
2012

The Sask. Party government sells 69 per cent of the Information Services Corporation (ISC), effectively privatizing the Crown responsible for land title registration. Revenue to the Saskatchewan treasury drops, despite the company earning higher profits.

November
2012

The Sask. Party government announces that former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration pasture lands will be transferred to pasture patrons. The government gives patrons the option to buy or lease, but encourages private ownership.

February
2013

The Sask. Party government announces all new liquor stores will be privatized. Premier Brad Wall promises existing public stores will stay public owned and operated.

May
2013

The Sask. Party government authorizes two new full-line private liquor stores in Regina, and two in Saskatoon.

June
2013

The largest private power plant in the province comes online, bringing SaskPower’s total use of privately-produced power close to 20 per cent. Ontario-based Northland Power holds the 20-year contract to earn a steady stream of cash from its North Battleford Generating Station.

June
2013

A pilot program outsources law enforcement and compliance services at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park to Ghost Security, whose private security guards are given special constable status.

July
2013

The Sask. Party government announces a 30-year, $108.5 million P3 scheme for a new long-term care facility in Swift Current.

July
2013

The Sask. Party government contracts out photo radar enforcement in highway construction zones to a private company.

October
2013

The Sask. Party government announces a $635 million P3 scheme for nine joint-use public/Catholic elementary schools in Regina, Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman.

November
2013

The Sask. Party government sells its 25 per cent stake in the Meadow Lake Oriented Strand Board mill for $30 million.

December
2013

3S Health signs a 10-year contract handing most of the province’s hospital and health centre laundry work to Alberta-based K-Bro. A privately-operated facility in Regina replaces public laundry facilities in Regina, Prince Albert, Weyburn, Yorkton and Moose Jaw, costing 350 Saskatchewan people their jobs over the next two years.

January
2014

The Sask. Party government transfers control of livestock brand inspection from the Ministry of Agriculture to an industry-led non-profit corporation, Livestock Services of Saskatchewan.

April
2014

The Sask. Party government announces the privatization of four public liquor stores in Langenburg, Ituna, Ponteix and Kerrobert. Twelve workers lose their jobs.

April
2014

The Sask. Party government announces a P3 privatization scheme for a new $407 million mental health rehabilitation hospital and provincial corrections centre in North Battleford.

May
2014

The Sask. Party government announces a $1.88 billion, 30-year P3 scheme for the Regina Bypass project. For the first time in Saskatchewan history, a private company will maintain and operate the highway.

June
2014

Premier Brad Wall considers fully privatizing Saskatchewan’s public liquor stores, and raises the possibility that liquor privatization could be a major issue in the next provincial election.

September
2014

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region outsources 5,500 MRI scans to Alberta-based Mayfair Diagnostics.

November
2014

The Sask. Part government releases a Green Paper on the future of liquor retailing. Options presented to Saskatchewan residents include partial and full privatization of liquor retailing and distribution.

December
2014

The provincial auditor finds government spending on private consultants shot up 228 per cent between 2009 and 2014, topping $120 million in 2014. The auditor finds poor documentation, monitoring and evaluation of private consultants in the Ministry of Central Services, which spent $22 million on consultants that year.

April
2015

The Sask. Party government announces the expansion of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). SIBs allow private investors to profit from selected social programs.

April
2015

The Morse wind farm is completed. Owned by Ontario-based Algonquin Power, it generates 23 megawatts of power - a fraction of the 307 megawatts SaskPower has committed to buy from private suppliers.

August
2015

The Sask. Party government privatizes correctional food services to Compass Group Canada for $8 million a year, costing 60 workers their jobs. Problems with the quality and quantity of Compass food lead to skyrocketing inmate complaints and hunger strikes, triggering a government review.

November
2015

The Sask. Party government announces it will make 600,000 acres of farmland available for sale at a substantial discount. The land had been leased to farmers. Farmers who want to continue leasing face heavily increased fees.

November
2015

The Sask. Party government announces private retailers will replace 40 public liquor stores, along with 12 new private stores. That number drops to 11 when Prince Albert city council rejects a private store. The government claims privatization will be revenue neutral compared to the public system, but never shares analysis to back the claim.

February
2016

A new law lets people pay out of pocket for privately-provided MRI scans. In 2017, the provincial auditor reports that MRI wait times have actually increased since for-profit providers arrived.

February
2016

A private, for-profit plasma donor clinic opens in Saskatoon. Canadian Blood Services says the Canadian Plasma Resources clinic’s operations account for a drop in volunteer donors.

March
2016

Premier Brad Wall says if reelected, his government will rewrite the law protecting the province’s major Crowns to let public liquor stores be privatized. He says only the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming authority is up for privatization, and that “with respect to the major Crowns, we will not be changing it if we’re re-elected again.”

May
2016

SaskTel Minister Jim Reiter commissions a risk assessment of SaskTel after telecom giant Bell buys Manitoba Telecom Services. Wall says a SaskTel sale will only happen with a referendum.

July
2016

Jennifer Campeau, minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, says that “it is safe - and it’s business as usual.” She suggests the Crown bus line “should be labelled as a utility.”

August
2016

Brad Wall tells reporters that if the government got an offer for SaskTel that “generates a significant amount of money for the province” he would “take it to the people.”

November
2016

The provincial government passes Bill 1, removing the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority from the list of Crowns protected against privatization.

November
2016

The Ministry of Justice confirms the layoff of 14 deputy sheriffs of court security, who handled perimeter security at provincial courts in several cities. They are replaced with unarmed contractors. Three months later, health and safety complaints force the ministry to restore the lost positions. The contractors remain alongside them.

March
2017

Premier Brad Wall tells reporters he has “the clearest sense from voters” that “they’re not interested in the potential sale of SaskTel,” but says he’s still open to a “partnership” by selling a minority stake to a private buyer.

March
2017

Following the government’s decision to replace 40 public liquor stores with private stores, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority starts selling off 28 publicly-owned liquor store buildings. Some are bought by private liquor retailers.

March
2017

The Sask. Party government looks for private bidders to operate provincial recreation sites at Shell Lake and Chitek Lake. The privatization sells off all facilities, including a recently upgraded campground and service centre.

March
2017

The Sask. Party government announces it is winding down provincially-owned Executive Air and selling off its assets. Private charter flights will be used in its place.

March
2017

The Sask. Party government announces it is privatizing cleaning services at 95 public buildings, which means 230 janitorial workers are laid off.

March
2017

The Saskatchewan Hearing Aid Program is eliminated, and residents who need hearing aid services are expected to use private service providers.

March
2017

The Sask. Party government announces the Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation will be wound down. Private buyers for the fleet of 898 provincially-owned rail cars are chosen within months.

March
2017

The Saskatchewan Pastures program is terminated. The program provided ranchers with 780,000 acres of grazing space on publicly owned land. The last of the land will be transferred to private control in 2019.

April
2017

The Sask. Party government passes Bill 40, which allows up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation to be sold without triggering protections in the Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act. Bill 40 also mandates that winding down a Crown is not privatization, and so doesn’t need public approval.

April
2017

SaskTel Minister Dustin Duncan confirms he raised Bill 40 during a meeting with a leading telecom company. Premier Brad Wall says “unsolicited inquiries have been made” about a stake in SaskTel, but that no offers have been made.

May
2017

Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) buses make their last runs, after the 2017-18 provincial budget eliminates the 70-year-old Crown. STC assets, including several brand new buses, are sold. The government says private businesses will fill the gap, but they’re wrong. As of February 2018, private companies serve just 28 communities compared to STC’s 253 points of service.

June
2017

Outsourcing of estimates by SGI to private contractors reaches its highest level, at 52 per cent of all estimates. From 2014 to 2016, SGI paid out $8.5 million in independent adjusting fees.

July
2017

The president of SGI tells the media that the Crown corporation has met with 16 different companies about a partial sale of the public insurance provider.

November
2017

The Sask. Party government introduces legislation to repeal the section of Bill 40 that allows 49 per cent of any Saskatchewan Crown to be sold. But the law still specifies that winding down or dissolving a Crown - the same measure used to shut down STC - does not qualify as privatization.

March
2018

Central Services Minister Ken Cheveldayoff tells a conference of local elected officials that the government is considering selling off some of Saskatchewan’s 660 publicly-owned buildings.

September
2018

The Sask. Party government privatizes two publicly-owned natural gas processing facilities owned by SaskEnergy, selling the plants to Calgary-based Steel Reef Infrastructure Corp. for $31.3 million.

August
2019

Documents reveal the Sask. Party government was actively pursuing the privatization of SaskTel in 2017, and talks with potential buyers were more advanced than the government publicly admitted.

February
2020

The Saskatchewan Health Authority announces a two-year contract for 100 spaces in two Regina-area private, for-profit care homes. The Sask. Party has neglected publicly-run Regina Pioneer Village, leaving the facility in disrepair and in need of major renovations. Many RPV residents were transferred to the two private homes.

March
2021

Privatization concerns persist around the much-needed replacement of Regina Pioneer Village, a publicly-run facility and one of Saskatchewan’s largest long-term care homes. A government spokesperson tells the media the new facility could be privately owned, or run as a “partnership.”

March
2021

A broad coalition of Indigenous, environmental and agricultural organizations calls on the Saskatchewan government to stop selling treaty land to private owners and to instead continue to protect these ecologically important areas that are the territories of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, and Métis peoples.

December
2021

The Sask. Party government doubles down on privatization by expanding contracts with existing private surgical clinics. The government claims this will address the pandemic surgical backlog.

March
2022

The Sask. Party government’s provincial budget increases funding to private independent schools by 16.7 per cent, compared to only 1.5 per cent for public school divisions (covering public, separate and Francophone school divisions).