The Government of Saskatchewan announced Wednesday that vehicles with Alberta licence plates will be banned from all future highway and infrastructure projects in the province. Minister David Marit says operators feel forced to register their vehicles in Alberta to do business, and this announcement will “level the playing field.”
The Alberta Construction Association has responded, saying they’ve never had this issue brought to their attention.
Executive Director Ken Gibson says the move is concerning to their membership.
“We expect Saskatchewan contractors to be treated as Alberta contractors are. If in fact their are new barriers being put up, we are opposed to those; they add cost and harm the industry. The irony is they will harm Saskatchewan workers as well.”
Gibson adds that even when an Alberta contractor wins a job contract in Saskatchewan a large portion of people working on the site are Saskatchewan tradespeople. He says the move may also result in a “lot of confusion” for Lloydminster.
“I imagine in a border city people are probably able to move their vehicles on a daily basis onto whatever side of the border, but that kind of silliness shouldn’t be required. The two governments need to sit down and speedily resolve this so people can focus their attention on providing great quality projects for the people of Saskatchewan and Alberta.”
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has responded saying this measure is standing up for Saskatchewan first.
“Well we won’t be backing off on it. First of all we think it doesn’t necessarily violate trade agreements because this is the treatment that our contractors get in Alberta. They’re asked to permit, they’re asked to plate. We think it’s fair to ask the same thing of Alberta.”
Alberta Trade Minister Deron Bilous has said the matter could be taken to court if not resolved.