Oil Crisis Effect on the Saskatchewan's Economy

The oil crisis in Saskatchewan resulted in rising levels of unemployment, housing bubble about to burst, high debt load, and a local economy in slump.

Low Prices and Effects on the Economy

An oil- and energy-dependent region, low oil prices in Saskatchewan already have a serious effect on different sectors of the economy, from construction and the services industry to transportation. Fewer people are moving to Saskatchewan and looking for housing which means less investment in new buildings.

Low oil prices also result in less investment in the oil industry which results in layoffs and fewer job openings. What is more, low price levels also result in less revenue for the provincial government. This means that the local authorities have fewer resources to spend on initiatives and services. Taxation is obviously the main source of revenue for local governments. When oil prices go down by 50 percent or more, the government sees up to 5 percent reduction in revenues.

At the same time, the economy in Saskatchewan is more diversified and less dependent on gas and oil compared to Alberta. While Alberta mainly relies on gas and oil, Saskatchewan has other non-renewable resources such as uranium and potash. Alberta saw a 4 percent decline in gross domestic product in 2015 while this figure is just 1.4 percent for Saskatchewan.

Unemployment and Consequences

Saskatchewan's unemployment rate is close to Canada's average. In February 2017, the rate dropped below the national average (6 percent vs. 6.6 percent). However, 2,600 part-time jobs were lost in August alone, and many people who are unemployed rely on part-time jobs for income. Rising levels of unemployment mean less money to spend on transportation, goods and services, vacations, and even groceries, rent, and other basic necessities ( see: Internal migration is what we are going to witness eventually, resulting in less consumption and less money poured into Saskatchewan's economy. What is more, unemployed people find it difficult to keep up with mortgage payments and risk losing their homes. When it comes to consumer debt, Saskatchewan has the second highest average after Alberta. The provincial average for Saskatchewan is $24,690 CAD. Rising unemployment levels mean that more and more people are unable to keep up with student loan, car loan, and credit card payments. Some are forced to resort to payday loan providers which offer loans with extremely high rates (, short terms, and unfavorable terms. This often leads to a spiral of debt. More debt can mean more consumption in the short term but eventually, high debt loads result in less consumption in the long term. The reason is that more and more money goes toward debt repayment ( and less toward consumption (whether dining, entertainment, travel, or anything else).

Potential Benefits and Positive Developments

While low oil prices benefit other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, manufacturing is not a major sector in Saskatchewan. Major centers such as Quebec and Ontario would certainly benefit. The manufacturing sector in Ontario, for example, employs over 740,000 people. The oil sector in Saskatchewan is also on its way to recover as evidenced by a 0.9-percent growth in gross domestic product. At the same time, experts predict a gradual and more subdued recovery in light of the fact that oil prices are still low and are not expected to rise sharply. The good news is that big players such as Crescent Point Energy announced plans to invest heavily in the local economy. This means better market and employment opportunities for residents in Saskatchewan.

Geospatial Imagery and Data in Canada

Geospatial imagery databases offer access to satellite images and data content, along with details such as period, scale, and format. There are plenty of resources online that cover a wealth of topics and sites, including points of interest and landmarks, soils, geological formation, census boundaries, transportation, cities, airports, and a lot more.


There are large geospatial imagery and data databases in Canada such as the GeoGratis catalogue, GeoBase, Scholars GeoPortal, and others. Visitors are offered access to data such as satellite images, the road and hydro networks in Canada, land and land coverage, and geographic names. Large databases also provide information about Canada's geodesic network, administrative boundaries, resources, and more.


The GeoGratis catalogue, for example, features tabular, raster, and vector data systematized in different databases and sections, including the Canadian digital elevation data, land use and land cover data, National Topographic database, and the Atlas of Canada. Visitors are offered the chance to search by elevation data, remotely sensed data, data, and maps. Remotely sensed data includes sonar, airborne, and satellite data. The interactive map has unique features and tools that allow users to measure distances, find names of locations and places, and find coordinates. Visitors are asked to enter details such as longitude and latitude coordinates, street address or name, etc. They are also offered measuring tools that allow them to export and import annotations, draw lines, and measure a path.

Atlas of Canada

The Atlas of Canada features thematic maps that focus on subject areas such as water, history, population, mining and minerals, geology, forestry, and energy. Reference maps are also available, including provincial, national, and international maps. They cover a wide selection of topics such as standard time zones, relief, political divisions in Canada, drainage basins, national parks, and a lot more. There are interactive maps as well, for example, the Minerals and Mining map, Indigenous Mining Agreements, and the Canadian Geochronology Knowledgebase. Visitors also have access to map archives, including poster and federal election maps, past editions, and so on.

Scholars GeoPortal

The Scholars GeoPortal ( is a handy tool that offers the option to search by subject category. Categories include subjects and topics such as demographics, locations, business and economics, and historical scanned maps. The pool of topics also covers environmental issues and conservation, inland water resources, geophysical and geological features, transportation, and administrative and census boundaries. The tools offer data by different organizations and datasets, including the Canadian Wildlife Service, Historical Atlas of Canada, and others. Visitors are free to search by URI, date range, title, keyword, etc.

Open Government of Canada and Maps

The search tool of the Open Government of Canada offers access to information and data such as maps, datasets, initiatives, and more. Open maps, for example, cover a wealth of topics such as oceanographic, biological, chemical, and optic conditions, country, township, and municipality boundaries, regional, municipality, district, and city boundaries, and a lot more. There are oceanic maps that feature data such as particle capture, turbidity, transmissivity, fluorescence, salinity, temperature, and velocity. Other maps focus on areas on draught and the impact of draught as well as details such as spatial extent and severity. Visitors are free to search by topic, including geoscientific information, farming, environment, biota, and other categories. Different organizations feature geospatial maps, including Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and others. The catalogue also allows visitors to search by resource type, for example, web service, guide, dataset, application, or API.