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Saskatchewan's new Japan office will help connect Japanese companies to the province’s rich opportunities in agriculture, agrivalue, energy, minerals and more

Saskatchewan is a province of stark contrasts. While its winters can be bitterly cold, the area has recorded Canada’s highest temperature and the nation’s sunniest climate. And it is home to the largest sand dunes in the world north of the 58th parallel.  

The province is also a land of abundance. It is rich in natural resources, and yields a wide variety of products that grow in the soil and can be found beneath it. Historically, wheat has been an important Saskatchewan product and, as a symbol of the province’s productivity, features prominently on the Saskatchewan flag. The province is also a strong producer of other crops that include lentils, oats, barley and flax. 

Second only to Alberta’s figures are the pro­vince’s production of beef cattle and oil, while its potash and uranium output make it one of the world’s leaders.  

Through their support for agricultural and environment-friendly natural resource develop­ment, the province’s leadership secures economic vitality, prosperity for its citizens, and establishes Saskatchewan as a strong force in the global eco­nomy in this decade and the one to come.


Scott Moe
Premier of Saskatchewan

Announced in November 2019 by Premier Scott Moe, the Saskatchewan Growth Plan 2020–2030 is key to establishing the province’s economic strength. As quoted in a press release following announce­ment of the plan, Moe explained that the plan builds on the province’s already impressive deve­lop­ments, with a view to creating a better future for its citizens.

“Our province” he explained, “has seen un­prece­dented growth since 2007 and this plan sets the stage for a strong, innovative economy that will drive growth over the next decade. Our government has always maintained that growth itself is not the goal; rather, growth will afford the ability to invest in a better quality of life for Saskatchewan families and communities. That is the purpose of growth.”

In addition to these business ties, there are cultural and academic links between Saskatchewan and Japan. 

With a set of 30 goals to be reached by 2030, the Saskatchewan Growth Plan sets ambitious targets. Along with aiming to reach a population of 1.4 million people and create 100,000 jobs, the plan seeks a 50 per cent increase in exports from the province.

It is also proposed that a number of targets be set related to exports and the province’s natural resources, including:

  • Augmenting agri-food exports to C$20 billion
  • Raising crop production to 45 million metric tonnes and livestock cash receipts to C$3 billion
  • Hiking oil production 25 per cent to 600,000 barrels per day
  • Boosting the annual value of uranium sales to C$2 billion
  • Increasing the annual value of potash sales to C$9 billion
  • Expanding the number of international markets to which Saskatchewan exports more than C$1 billion in goods
  • Building up Saskatchewan’s export infrastructure

Crucial to the province’s economic output are what Moe refers to as the three Fs — food, fuel and fertilizer. To bolster these indus­tries, the provincial government has put in place a number of policies. These include a new chemical fertilizer incentive and the reinstatement of provincial sales tax exemptions for exploratory activity and downhole drilling, which can help increase mining exploration and the value of mining exports.


Throughout the province, recently completed projects and those still underway are helping to increase productivity in a number of industries.

In Battle Creek, North American Helium Inc. has just opened a C$32 million helium purifica­tion plant. As the nation’s largest such facility, it is capable of producing 1.4 million cubic metres of gas. It has a wide variety of applications, such as medical research, semiconductor manufacturing and fibre optics.

In June 2020, Proton Technologies established a pilot plant in Kerrobert that will be used to extract hydrogen from disused oil and gas wells. This is the first time the technology has been used for commercial purposes. Once completed and at full capacity, the facility will be able to generate 500 tonnes of hydrogen a day.

Last autumn, construction began on the Saskatchewan Research Council’s rare earth processing facility, the first of its kind in Canada. The government of Saskatchewan announced C$31 million in funding for the project in August 2020.

The facility is expected to be operational by late 2022, and will herald the establishment of a rare earth element supply chain in the province. Rare earth elements include neodymium and cerium, and are widely used in the manufac­turing of high-technology products.

Equal strides are being made in the area of food. The Regina-based agriculture processor Viterra announced in April that it was making a significant investment in a canola-crush facility in the capital city of Saskatchewan. Capable of processing 2.5 million metric tonnes of canola seed per year, the facility is expected to be the largest of its kind in the world when complete. Construction of the facility is set to begin in 2022 and it should be operational by 2024, creating 100 full-time jobs.

Also in April, Cargill Inc. revealed a C$430 million investment in a new, state-of-the-art canola processing facility, which should be online by early 2024 and will create 50 full-time jobs.

And in March, Richardson Inter­na­tio­nal Ltd. announced it would be expanding its canola crushing plant in Yorkton. Once the upgrade is complete, the facility will have a capacity of 2.2 million metric tonnes per year.


Along with its domestic endeavours, Saskatchewan has taken steps that will help it achieve the export-related goals that are part of the Growth Plan.  

It was stated that, in conjunction with the plan, Saskatchewan would establish international offices in Japan, Singapore and India to complement its existing office in China. The move is intended to help meet the plan goals through efforts that include attracting investment, promoting exports and establishing research partnerships. The Japan, Singapore and India offices opened in January. Saskatchewan has had an office in China since 2010.  

Moe explained that the offices would play a major role in helping Saskatchewan reach its economic goals: “Our government has made it a priority to increase our exports and enhance trade, and these new offices will be an important tool to help achieve those goals. They will strengt­hen our trade relationships and help bring high quality, sustainable Saskatchewan products to the world.” He added that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership would yield a wide range of opportunities for Saskatchewan exporters.

Jeremy Harrison
Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development

Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison echoed these ideas: “Saskatchewan has what the world wants and needs. But in an increasingly volatile trade environment, we need to diversify our export markets, while continuing to showcase to the world what a resilient and great place our province is for investing. Our exports have seen significant growth in the past decade to major Asian markets, which we need to keep and grow during our econo­mic recovery and to achieve those aggre­ssive targets in the Growth Plan 2030.”

Harrison pointed out that opening these offices will play an important role in continuing to expand the province’s economy in the wake of Covid-19: “International offices and a sustained international presence are key components of our strategy to grow Saskatchewan’s economy as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, a continued focus on export development and trade growth is as essential as when we laid out our ambitious plan in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan 2030.

“Our economy and quality of life in Saskatchewan are dependent on trade and, as government, we play a vital role in helping to get our products to international markets. Our people, businesses and industries provide the products a growing world needs with a track record of environmental and economic sustainability. Having Saskatchewan staff in these offices will help ensure we are able to export our products across the globe. And establishing long-term business relationships really does make a difference in business cultures that exist in Japan and other Asian countries.”

“Our government has made it a priority to increase our exports and enhance trade, and these new offices will be an important tool to help achieve those goals.” 

The office in Japan opened in January 2021. Officially known as the Saskatchewan Japan Office, it is co-located with the Embassy of Canada to Japan. Managing Director Paul Pryce joined the Government of Saskatchewan in October 2020, before coming to Japan in March.

He has a background in international relat­ions, having worked from 2014 to 2020 for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as principal advisor to the Consul General of Japan in Calgary, whose jurisdiction encompasses Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Earlier in his career, Pryce worked with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, when he became involved in the ceasefire talks during the 2008 war in Georgia and assisted Montenegro in holding its first post-independence elections.

Raised in Saskatoon and Weyburn, Pryce has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Calgary and a master’s degree in international relations from Tallinn University in Estonia.

He will be leading Saskatchewan’s efforts in a principal market. As Moe has pointed out: “Japan represents an important market for Saskatchewan exports and we have a rich history of providing the food, fuel and fertilizer that Japan needs and will continue to need into the future.”

Saskatchewan Japan Office Managing Director Paul Pryce at the Embassy of Canada to Japan

Moe added that the business ties are deep, and involve a range of significant products: “Saskatchewan and Japan have a long and rich trading history. Japan has developed to be Saskatchewan’s third-largest market for our pro­ducts. They include items — such as potash — that we have been exporting to Japan for nearly 50 years, as well as our largest export to the country: canola seeds.”

He went on to explain that Japan is more than an export destination; it is a connecting point to other markets: “Japan continues to be a growing export market destination for Saskatchewan products, and also serves as a launch point for our products to be delivered to the entire east Asian region.”


Rick Toney
Former chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association

For business leaders as well, the opening of the offices represents a significant opportunity. According to Rick Toney, former chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, the Japanese market is vital for the province’s beef producers. He explained: “There is great growth potential for the beef industry in Japan and it will be very beneficial to have Saskatchewan officials on the ground, looking out for our interests.”

Bernie McClean, director of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, said that ope­ning the offices is important for the industry as a whole: “These offices are good news for Saskatchewan canola growers, the value chain and the entire agriculture sector in the province.

Bernie McClean
Director of the Canadian Canola Growers Association

“Three new Saskatchewan offices in Asia are going to help farmers and industry grow new markets and expand others, all with the goal of driving the value of our exports, which is essential to the province’s economy,” he added.

In addition to these business ties, there are cultural and academic links between Saskatchewan and Japan. In 2019, Regina and the Gunma Pre­fecture city of Fujioka signed a Friendship City Agreement, and there have been student ex­changes between secondary schools in the two communities for many years. There are also numerous partner­ships and exchanges between univer­sities in Japan and Saskatchewan, involving the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. 

It is clear that Saskatchewan — with its impre­ssive array of natural resources and the business ties that are being strengthened through its international offices in Asia — is optimally poised to achieve the ambitious targets it has set for the end of the decade.  

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