Demographic Patterns, Lagging Participation of Aboriginals, Challenge Saskatchewan's Economic Outlook: C.D. Howe Institute



    TORONTO, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - While Saskatchewan's recent economic performance
has been positive, longer-term demographic patterns cast a shadow over
Saskatchewan's economic future. A study released by the C.D. Howe Institute
warns that the province needs to improve its climate for work and investment
to prevent these demographic forces undermining Saskatchewan's ability to
deliver robust public programs and improve its citizens' living standards in
the decades ahead.
    The study, Realistic Expectations: Demographics, Economics and the
Pursuit of Prosperity in Saskatchewan, co-authored by Yvan Guillemette, Senior
Policy Analyst, and William B.P. Robson, President and CEO of the C.D. Howe
Institute, shows that recent gains in migration during two quarters are a blip
against worrisome longer-term patterns of out-migration, fertility and life
expectancy. The authors outline Saskatchewan's economic future if past
outmigration continues and the relatively low economic participation of the
growing share of the province's population that is of Aboriginal descent does
not change. Under those circumstances, the demographic profile of the province
ages significantly, and the cost of demographically sensitive public programs
- healthcare in particular - runs well ahead of the capacity of the tax base
to support them. Other scenarios in which outmigration ceases and the economic
participation of Aboriginals converges with that of non-Aboriginals, by
contrast, offer a much happier outlook, in which living standards grow
relatively rapidly and the cost of demographically sensitive programs to
provincial taxpayers is contained.
    Among the policy areas the authors identify as needing work are improving
Saskatchewan's attractiveness to investment, reducing the high marginal
effective tax rates that discourage families who have not yet achieved
middle-class status from working and saving, and containing budget over-runs
by the provincial government. Progress on these fronts - and, most vitally of
all, fostering fuller participation in the provincial economy by the
Aboriginal population - can create a brighter demographic and economic future
for the province, the authors conclude.

    The study is available at http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/backgrounder_107.pdf.





For further information:

For further information: William Robson, President and CEO, C.D. Howe
Institute, (416) 865-1904, cdhowe@cdhowe.org


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