by Shantel Lipp Shantel Lipp
Shantel Lipp - Portrait

The start of a new year is a time to consider how we want to improve our situation. Whether it is your own personal life or your professional endeavours, it is a good time to initiate what is necessary to inspire change that will make a difference. 

Getting where we want to go is not something we can typically do on our own. We often need others to join in our activities and support us if we are to achieve change that matters. That is true in your role – as a business owner or an employee – and it is true in mine and each of our board members’ as well. We must work with others and dedicate the time and effort necessary to move toward realizing that vision together. 

At the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association (SHCA), change is often discussed and as the voice of the industry. We have plenty to say about the changes needed in Saskatchewan to support our economy remaining strong. I promised in my last message published in “The Interchange” that I would have more to share about how SHCA will be speaking out about how Saskatchewan is not keeping up. That applies to long-term planning, infrastructure funding and government policy renewal.

Through the year, SHCA will be very active, speaking up about what matters to our members and our province. Now that 2024 is underway, the board and I are preparing for how this year will unfold so that we optimize when we deliver important messages not only to those in government, but all who will be running in this year’s elections as well as voters.

We have an MLA reception scheduled for SHCA on March 4. This event is your opportunity to speak directly to the MLAs to fill them in on the industry’s strengths and challenges, and describe how government impacts you positively and negatively. 

Saskatchewan’s budget is typically delivered that same month, so we will be watching closely to see what it contains as it relates to our members and the work available to you. We are looking for the government to show it understands the need for long-term infrastructure planning and funding, including multi-year commitments as seen in our neighbouring provinces. We also want to see changes to procurement practices and greater transparency. 

Between now and then, we will continue to speak up about employment opportunities in our industry. Finding those who would be a good fit for jobs you need filled is a challenge, even though heavy construction employers are known to be one of the better paying employers in the province – statistically second only to the mining sector. I know that when hiring, you often see attitude as being more important than experience and that employers in our industry are often willing to train, seeing that training is an investment to secure the employees you need. We will be promoting the reasons why those looking for a new employment opportunity should consider heavy construction for their future. 

This will help build what the province requires so people and goods can move through and beyond our province. We know other industries are as interested as we are in seeing Saskatchewan maintain and build infrastructure that meets the level of growth in the province. We will be finding ways to deliver that message together with them. 

An opportune time to deliver that message will be ahead of the elections that will take place in Saskatchewan later this year, which is an election year for the province as well as in municipalities, so we will be seeing politicians campaigning later this year. The first election is the provincial election, which is to be held on or before Oct. 28, 2024. Not long after, those voting for mayors and councillors in urban municipalities as well as reeves and councillors representing odd-number divisions in rural municipalities will go to the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2024. 

As I said at the beginning of this message, we want to improve our situation, and by our situation, I mean more than our industry’s situation. What we are bringing forward is important beyond those in heavy construction. It matters to our province’s fate. It is significant to many industries that contribute to our economy and its strength. It impacts the future prosperity of our province and its people as well as the services they rely on for their quality of life. 

I also said getting where you want to go requires others to join in. Our members can help to amplify the messages our association is delivering. I encourage you to actively participate in SHCA’s activities this year and to share the messages we will be delivering so they reach every corner of our province. Keep an eye on our website and follow our social media accounts for updates on all we have planned and will undertake this year.