The PST expansion is a “surprise” for Saskatchewan members. entertainment sector

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

In the provincial budget released Wednesday, the province announced that the current 6% provincial sales tax (PST) will be expanded to include admission and entertainment fees starting October 1, 2022.

Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) President and CEO Tim Reid said the past two years have been among the darkest times the sports and entertainment industry has ever seen.

“News of the expansion of TVP to include admission and entertainment fees came as a surprise to our organization and we received it with sensitivity,” Reid said in a statement. “This charge will impact our business operations and our entertainment enthusiasts.”

Reid said throughout the pandemic, communication with the province has been “exceptional.” He said it was essential that communication continue.

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

“There’s a whole bunch of headwinds around the recovery of this industry,” Reid said. I think six percent by itself would generally not be the end of the world. Add the fact that almost everyone in this industry has been laid off. Add the fact that inflation affects the cost of food and beverages. Add the fact that work is in a different place than it has ever been. It’s not just six percent.

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

“As a non-profit sports team and despite rising costs from inflation, we have worked tirelessly to minimize the financial impact on our fans,” the Roughriders said in a statement. “We know [the] This decision will impact many members of our community who look forward to coming together on Riders game day and for the 2022 Gray Cup.”

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

The SaskTel center in Saskatoon said no consultation was done before the PST announcement.

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

Ford said the 6% increase will make it even harder to get big shows in the province.

“We are never the market everyone wants to go to. We’re fighting harder for these big shows to come into our market and I really think that six percent will be another reason to give up doing shows in Saskatoon, Regina and other centers,” Ford said.

On average, a major exhibition generates an impact of two million dollars at the SaskTel Centre. Ford said the tax would likely cause shows to be canceled, which would mean losing millions of dollars.

“Nobody here is saying it’s good for our industry. Everyone is struggling right now,” Ford said. “The province is saying they’re doing the math and they could make $21 million, but we could lose over $21 million in economic activity by having this provincial sales tax.”

In the Saskatchewan legislature on Thursday, the NDP raised questions about the tax.

“These new taxes make no sense. This is a time when we should be helping people to come together, to celebrate, to organize events after a time when we have been apart for so long,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP MP. “These are all the industries that have been hardest hit during the pandemic and all are in desperate need of support.”

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

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the 2022-23 budget supports economic growth in the province and industries affected by PST stand to benefit.

“That means workers are coming to this province. More and more jobs, more people with decent incomes with spare cash,” Harpauer said. “They’re going to go to those Roughriders games. They are going to go to these concerts. They are going to attend all these events. They are going to play golf. They are going to go to the gym. These workers are what these industries want to see.

On Thursday, Harpauer confirmed that there had been no consultation with industry prior to the announcement of the TVP expansion.