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PST expansion a 'surprise' for members of Sask. entertainment sector


Members of Saskatchewan’s sport and entertainment sector said the province’s expansion of the PST to include event admission came as a surprise.

In the provincial budget released Wednesday, the province announced the current six per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be expanded to include admission and entertainment charges effective Oct. 1, 2022.

Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) president and CEO Tim Reid, said the last two years were some of the darkest times the sports and entertainment industry has ever faced.

“News of the expansion of the PST to include admission and entertainment charges was a surprise to our organization and one we received with sensitivity,” Reid said in a statement. “This charge will impact our business operation and entertainment goers.”

Reid said throughout the pandemic, communication with the province had been “exceptional.” He said it’s critical that communication continues.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Reid said the PST might be the breaking point for entertainment goers.

“There’s a whole bunch of headwind around recovering this industry,” Reid said. I think six per cent in itself generally wouldn’t be the end of the world. Add the fact that most everybody in this industry has been laid off. Add the fact that inflation is affecting the cost of food and beverage. Add the fact that labour is at a different place than its ever been. It’s not just six per cent.”

The Saskatchewan Roughriders also said they were surprised to learn about the PST addition in the budget.

“As a not-for-profit sports team and despite rising inflation costs, we worked tirelessly to minimize the financial impact on our fans,” the Roughriders said in a statement. “We know [the] decision will impact many in our community who are looking forward to coming together on Rider game day and for the 2022 Grey Cup.”

The Riders said they will be in touch with fans and season ticket holders once they develop a greater understanding on what the change will mean for the team.

Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre said there was no consultation done ahead of the PST announcement.

“Nobody knew about this,” Scott Ford, the executive director of SaskTel Centre, said. “Where was the consultation? Why was this such a surprise?”

Ford said the six per cent increase will make it even harder to secure big shows in the province.

“We’re never the market that everybody wants to go to. We fight harder to get these major shows to come into our market and I really think this six per cent is going to be another reason to pass on doing shows in Saskatoon, Regina and in other centres,” Ford said.

An average major show generates a two million dollar impact at SaskTel Centre. Ford said this tax will likely result in cancelled shows which means missing out on millions of dollars.

“There’s nobody here that says this is good for our industry. Everybody is struggling right now,” Ford said. “The province says that they do the math and could make $21 million, but we could lose more than $21 million of economic activity by having this provincial sales tax.”

At the Saskatchewan Legislature on Thursday, the NDP raised questions about the tax.

“These new taxes don’t make any sense. This is a time we should be supporting folks to come together, to celebrate, to hold events after a time that we’ve been forced apart for so long,” Trent Wotherspoon, NDP MLA, said. “These are all industries that were hit the hardest during the pandemic and are all in desperate need of support.”

Wotherspoon said the Sask Party would’ve known that if its members had “consulted and listened to” organizations and local businesses.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the 2022-23 budget supports economic growth in the province and industries impacted by the PST should benefit from that.

“That means workers coming to this province. More and more jobs, more people having a decent income with disposable money,” Harpauer said. “They’re going to go to those Roughrider games. They’re going to go to those concerts. They’re going to go to all of those events. They’re going to go golfing. They’re going to go to the gym. Those workers is what those industries want to see.”

On Thursday, Harpauer confirmed there was no consultation with industry before the PST expansion was announced. Top Stories

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