History of Crowns

In the early 1900s, Saskatchewan’s population was small in comparison to many other provinces, and widely disbursed geographically. Private sector companies either did not offer services, offered them only to major centres, or charged rural customers significantly higher rates than urban customers. Saskatchewan’s first commercial Crown corporations were established because essential services such as telephone, power, and hail insurance for crops were not available from private companies, or not available to all residents on a fair and equitable basis.

In the 1940s, new Crown corporations were established to provide general insurance and transportation services. Government ventured into a number of commercial enterprises over the years and has withdrawn from many, as private sector corporations became better established to provide services at competitive rates.

Government oversight to Crown corporations was initially provided through the same form as government departments. The Legislative Assembly votes accommodated expenditures and revenues were paid into the government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund. This system did not work well for commercial Crowns as expenditures were approved only once per year, hindering prompt response to changes in market conditions. Further, commercial accounting could not be used for capital projects.

An array of organization forms were introduced over time and eventually a new model was created with The Crown Corporations Act in 1945. The Act provided the basis for the creation, operation and control of Saskatchewan Crown corporations. A 1947 amendment established the Government Finance Office (GFO) as a central agency to oversee Crown corporation operations. Also in 1947, amendments to the Act created an accountability mechanism called the Crown Corporation Committee of the Legislature to support public accountability for the commercial Crown sector.

In the early 1970s, government established a Planning Bureau to take responsibility for long-term planning, resource policy, intergovernmental affairs and statistics. As economic planning became more sophisticated in government, the GFO was given a new analytical and evaluative mandate. In 1978, the GFO was renamed as the Crown Investments Corporation (CIC).  It became the holding company for 17 Crown corporations in existence at that time.

The following provides a historical overview of the history of the commercial Crown sector in Saskatchewan.

Hail insurance is sold by the Territorial Government, before Saskatchewan becomes a province in 1905.
Three commercial creameries are run by the Provincial Government.
The Eagle Lake coal mine is developed.
The Department of Railway, Telephones and Telegraphs is established and given authority to create and operate local and long distance telephone lines. Its goal is to provide cost-effective service to as many farms, homes and businesses as possible.
The Saskatchewan Power Commission is established to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective power to all Saskatchewan people.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office (SGIO) is established to ensure that affordable, good quality insurance is available to Saskatchewan people.
Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) is established to ensure that as many communities as possible have access to reasonably priced transportation and freight service from a fleet of buses.
The Government Finance Office (predecessor of CIC) is established as a holding company for the province's Crown corporations.
Responsibility for telecommunications is transferred to a new Crown called Saskatchewan Government Telephones, which is later named SaskTel.
Saskatchewan Power Commission becomes a Crown corporation called Saskatchewan Power Corporation.
SaskPower is designated as the provincial authority for natural gas distribution.
Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Corporation (SaskOil) is established to explore for, develop, produce and market crude oil and natural gas.
The Saskatchewan Development Fund Corporation was established to manage a mutual fund open to investment by Saskatchewan residents.   The sale of new investments was discontinued in 1983, and CIC is now managing an orderly wind-down of the assets.
The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) is established to develop Saskatchewan's potash resources and to fill the projected world production shortfall.
Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation (SMDC) is established to explore for minerals in northern Saskatchewan.
The Government Finance Office is renamed Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan under a new Crown Corporations Act.
Saskatchewan Water Corporation is established to manage, administer, develop and protect the water and related land resources in Saskatchewan.
SaskOil's status as a Crown is ended when it becomes a corporation under the Business Corporations Act. In 1986, the majority of SaskOil is sold to the public, with government retaining a minority interest. SaskOil is renamed Wascana Energy Inc. in 1996. In 1997, CIC sells Saskatchewan's remaining interest in Wascana to Canadian Occidental Petroleum.
SMDC and the federally owned Eldorado Nuclear, are merged to form Cameco Corporation. Cameco is a Canadian mining and development corporation which is one of the world's largest uranium mining companies.
SaskEnergy Incorporated is created as a new Crown to provide natural gas transmission and distribution services. It assumes responsibility from SaskPower for providing Saskatchewan people with a highly reliable, safe, and economical source of energy.
The Saskatchewan Government Growth Fund Management Corporation is established as a wholly- owned subsidiary of CIC to participate in the federal government's Immigrant Investor Program.   Its purpose was to create and manage investment funds accepted as government administered venture capital funds under this program.
PCS's status as a Crown is ended when it becomes a corporation under the Business Corporations Act. The majority of its shares are sold to the public in two share offerings in 1989 and 1990.
Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO) is established to support economic growth and job creation through investments in businesses and infrastructure.
The Crown Review is done to assess the state of the Crown sector, its economic impact on the province, and its readiness for the future. The Crown Review is the most extensive review ever of Saskatchewan's Crowns and publicly owned investments.

The Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel (SRRP) was established as an advisory body to the Government to conduct reviews of rate change proposals from SaskPower, SaskEnergy  and SGI on behalf of the Saskatchewan Auto Fund.

Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan (ISC) is established to administer the province's land titles and survey legislation. Its mandate includes automating the land titles system.

SOCO’s investment division was transferred to CIC Industrial Interests Inc. (CICIII), a wholly owned subsidiary of CIC.

Government announced that on behalf of the Crown sector, CIC would invest $20 M over a five year period to hire more young and Indigenous people in CIC Crown corporations.  Initiatives included the establishment of a number of bursaries and recruitment initiatives in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.
Investment Saskatchewan is established to manage the portfolio of publicly-owned investments formerly held by CIC's subsidiary, CIC Industrial Interests Inc..
The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act was passed in the legislature requiring that before the sale of specified crown assets a full and public debate  take place followed by a provincial election to ensure adequate public input.
The Gradworks internship program was launched.  Gradworks provides recent post-secondary graduates with internships in the CIC Crown corporations.
The First Nations and Métis Fund is established to make investment in new or expanding businesses which are majority-owned or controlled by First Nations or Métis people.
Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation was designated a CIC Crown Corporation

Saskatchewan Government Growth Fund Management Corporation is dissolved.

Investment Saskatchewan is renamed CIC Asset Management Inc. and now operates as a division of CIC.  New investment activity is discontinued and CIC is now managing assets while pursuing divestitures that will optimize financial and public policy outcomes.

2013 Information Services Corporation (ISC) becomes a publicly-traded company.