11 Jul Saskatchewan Transportation Company submits final annual re…
The Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC), the Crown corporation that offered bus service to 253 communities in the province, submitted its last annual report on Wednesday.
It cost the province $7.5 million to wind the company down, with $5.6 million of that going to severance for employees.
Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for the now-defunct Crown, said the private sector has filled the gap in some communities.
“Some are doing quite well and some have run into the same problems that STC and Greyhound ran into,” he said. “People aren’t using them.”
He encouraged people to “use the services that are out there, that encourages them to expand, to continue on in business.”
STC was formally dissolved March 31, 2019. The government estimated that STC would have required $85 million in subsidies over five years to continue operations as is.
The province brought in $28.7 million with the sale of all STC assets. NDP member Warren McCall said that wasn’t enough and called the sell-off a “fire sale.”
McCall called STC’s final report a last will and testament and vowed that, if elected, the NDP would resurrect a new, smaller “21st century” version of the public transportation service to fill in the gaps.
He also criticized the government for shuttering the STC without public consultation.
”People have been left in the lurch,” he said. “There are a lot of different folks seniors, poor folks, First Nations [that] have a lot of trouble getting around the province.”
He called the STC a lifeline for people, noting that Saskatchewan’s biggest challenge is its geography.
McCall also criticized the government for not undertaking an analysis post-STC to have a formal look at the gaps. The province has no plans to do such a study.
Crowns pay $256M to province in dividends
The Crown Investments Corporation (CIC), the holding company for Saskatchewan’s Crowns, also tabled its annual report Wednesday.
Crowns contributed $256 million to the province’s general revenue fund. STC contributed $6 million of that. Crowns put in $205 million in 2018 and $219 million in 2017.
“The Crowns are there to provide good service to the people of Saskatchewan,” Hargrave said.
He said the government’s goal is to make Saskatchewan’s seven remaining Crown corporations efficient.
He noted the dividends are “there to help things like education, social services, health care,” when asked why an increase in money is happening in tandem with rate increases.
The CIC reached $9.8 billion in debt levels for the 2018-19 year, with a debt ratio of 60.6 per cent —lower than the three years prior.
Crown corporations spent $1.4 billion on capital renewal and expansion.
Hargrave touted the important of Crowns to Saskatchewan people and said CIC is not actively pursuing buyers to purchase part of the Crowns.
In 2018, the province repealed Bill 40 — which would have allowed the province to sell up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation without public consultation.