Saskatchewan Government Announces $320 Million in Municipal Infrastructure Spending

Authors: Teague Pushor, Milad Alishahi. This blog was originally published on May 8, 2020. It has been updated to include further details about the “MEEP” funding.

Update: On July 21, 2020, the government of Saskatchewan announced that it has approved 303 MEEP projects. The projects will receive a total of more than $16.65 million of provincial investment. Approved projects include:

  • building upgrades and construction;
  • roadway repairs;
  • wastewater upgrades;
  • water well construction;
  • bridge construction;
  • playground revitalization; and
  • municipal equipment.

On May 6, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a $320 million capital injection for municipal infrastructure projects. This announcement comes as part of a larger $7.5 billion economic stimulus package in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the provincial economy.

The funding will be distributed through the following:

  • $150 million Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (“MEEP”);
  • $130 million Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (“ICIP”); and
  • $46 million in targeted funding through the Ministry of Highways for municipal roads and airports.

The funding will be provided on top of Municipal Revenue Sharing and other municipal transfers highlighted in the 2020-2021 estimates.

MEEP funding will be available to all Saskatchewan municipalities for “shovel ready” infrastructure projects over the next two years. It is a grant-based program that will distribute funding to municipalities on a per capita basis, based on the municipality’s 2016 Census population. Funding is available for 14 broad infrastructure project categories:

  1. Connectivity
  2. Disaster Mitigation
  3. Drinking Water
  4. Engineering and Feasibility Studies
  5. Green Energy
  6. Local Roads and Bridges
  7. Municipal Equipment
  8. Municipally-Owned Buildings and Assets
  9. Planning and Development
  10. Protective Services
  11. Public Health
  12. Solid Waste
  13. Recreation, Culture, Tourism and Sport
  14. Wastewater and Storm Water

MEEP funding is limited to these categories of infrastructure project and cannot be used to pay down debt, purchase land, lease property or finance administration costs.

Applications packages were emailed to all municipalities on May 19 and the distribution of the funds can begin as early as mid-July. Project plans will be reviewed by the Ministry of Government Relations and approval will be provided by letter. Once approved, all MEEP funding must be used by March 31, 2022.

ICIP is the result of a bilateral agreement between Canada and Saskatchewan in 2018. The program already provides $896 million in federal funding for numerous Saskatchewan infrastructure projects. ICIP funding is divided into four streams, each with their own allocations, eligible projects and defined outcomes:

  • Public Transit Infrastructure;
  • Green Infrastructure;
  • Community, Culture and Recreation; and
  • Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure.

Details on the allocation of funding between the four streams have not yet been released.

The funding announcement reflects the government’s commitment to municipalities and recognizes the important role municipalities have in contributing to economic growth. The funding can be used to reduce projected deficits and prevent the deferral of capital projects.

For more information concerning the stimulus package, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our municipal group. In the meantime, the MLT Aikins municipal team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates on legal issues that may impact municipalities.