I'm pleased to present the 2023 State of the Environment Report.
Saskatchewan's rich natural resources and diverse ecosystems are not only essential to our economy, but also to our identity and the quality of life we enjoy in the province. We have a lot to be proud of in Saskatchewan, and our commitment to protecting our natural resources should be near the top of the list.
We are seeing the outcome of our collective efforts in many parts of this report. Some of the highlights include:
- The average pollution levels for most pollutants have been dropping over time. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide levels have declined from 2000 to 2022.
- In 2019, the Province introduced the Methane Action Plan, a Saskatchewan-made plan to reduce the amount of methane emissions. The plan was expected to reduce methane-related emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025, but succeeded in reducing methane emissions by 60 per cent in the first three years.
- In 2021, forestry was the largest industry and a major employer in northern Saskatchewan, representing approximately one per cent of the provincial gross domestic product. Forestry provides economic development and employment opportunities, resulting in improved quality of life for the people of northern Saskatchewan.
- Approximately 30 per cent of the provincial timber supply is allocated to Indigenous businesses, by far the largest of any province.
- The risk of Mountain Pine Beetle infestation has declined significantly.
- We are seeing some great numbers when it comes to recycling in our province. For example, Saskatchewan people recycled 82 per cent of all deposit-paid, ready-to- serve beverage containers in 2021.
- Our partners at the Water Security Agency note that with a growing population, there is increasing pressure on Saskatchewan's water resources. However, they're reporting a general decrease of usage rates. Good work, Saskatchewan.
Of course, there is always more work to be done. As we continue to follow the direction established in Prairie Resilience – Saskatchewan's climate change strategy – and report on regularly in the Climate Resilience Measurement Framework, we should expect to see even more positive trends in the coming years. I look forward to seeing this work evolve and to seeing these actions contribute to a stronger Saskatchewan.
Hon. Dana Skoropad
Minister of Environment