Friday, March 22, 2013
The Value of Living in Saskatchewan
If you're thinking of relocating to Saskatchewan, there has never been a better time for you to make the move. For the past couple of years, Saskatchewan has been riding an economic boom that has changed the way the province is viewed nationally and internationally.
It started with the 2008 recession, which Saskatchewan weathered better than any other province. By 2012, the province was seeing record numbers in investment, with Saskatchewan and Alberta together accounting for 40.1% of all non-residential business sector investment in Canada.
So the economy is doing great, but that isn't the only reason people are moving to the province in record numbers. Saskatchewan is a province of small towns and small cities with friendly, welcoming residents. It's a province where it's affordable to live and work. And it's a province with a lot of support for people looking to move here.
Saskatchewan is booming. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and the economy has created over 20,000 new job in the last year alone. There are plenty of places to start your job search online: try SaskJobs.ca, Working in Canada, Workopolis, or Monster.ca, just to name a few.
The Saskatchewan government website also has a list of employment and labour programs to help with your career and job search.
If you're an entrepreneur, you'll be happy to hear that Saskatchewan is extremely supportive of small businesses. According to the Ministry of the Economy, the small business sector represents 98.5% of all businesses in Saskatchewan.
Business Infosource in Saskatoon offers free help for people starting new businesses in the province. They provide business registration, referrals, a reference library, business and marketing plan guides, trade and export information, government information and regulations, and market research.
Finding a place to call home
The cost of living is relatively low in Saskatoon, especially compared to other cities in Canada of a similar size. Provincial sales tax is the lowest of any province that charges a sales tax at 5%, and it costs less to get to and from work thanks to our maximum 20-minute commute times. Houses are affordable for most people, with detached bungalows in Saskatoon and Regina costing around the $330,000 mark. Rent tends to be around the $800 mark for most apartments.
If you're new to the country, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a great guide called Housing for Newcomers that is available in eight languages.
Support for newcomers
Living Saskatoon reports that approximately 75% of Saskatchewan's growth stems from international immigration. Newcomers to Saskatchewan are often blown away by our welcoming nature, and moving to the province is an easy choice when you see all the support we offer our new residents.
The Saskatchewan Immigration website has tons of great information for anyone looking to move to the province from outside the country, and there are newcomer and immigrant societies in every major centre; Saskatoon alone has five associations.
Saskatchewan is the birth place of universal health care in Canada, thanks to Tommy Douglas. The tradition continues today with a government that is committed to providing great health care while lowering wait times. The Saskatchewan government provides hospital, medical, and drug insurance plans for all residents. You can register for medical insurance as soon as you arrive.
To find a new doctor, simply contact the appropriate health region. Or if you need a specialist, use the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative's Specialist Directory.
While the provincial government covers many of the health care costs, there are still a few needs not covered, like dental, eye care, and prescription drugs. If you don't have coverage through your employer, you can purchase extra coverage through an insurance provider like Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Desjardins, or Manulife.
Saskatchewan's annual auto insurance rates are among the lowest in Canada. SGI is the company that runs Saskatchewan's auto insurance program. The province has a mandatory vehicle registration and insurance program. When you buy your license plates, you also buy a basic insurance package including coverage for damage to your own vehicle, subject to a deductible; coverage for personal injury as a result of a vehicle crash; and liability insurance.
You must register your vehicle and provide proof of ownership, whether the vehicle is new, used, antique, or imported, or whether it's a motorcycle, motorhome, snowmobile, or ATV. Registration and insurance rates vary depending on the type of vehicle you're registering. Calculate your rate with SGI's basic plate calculator.
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