Economy is a new ministry, formed in 2012 and making its first full appearance in public accounts in 2013-2014. In addition to absorbing the Ministry of Energy and Resources, it includes immigration, economic development, Tourism Saskatchewan and labour market development. Although new, it's already made a significant impact on consultant spending, even after shedding the high-cost Information Technology Office to Central Services.
For 2013-2014, we identified 12 firms conducting approximately $4 million in services, making it one of the government's biggest spenders on outside consultants. Only three other ministries spent more, the ministries of health, highways and central services.
This was significantly more than previous spending we tracked through the ministries and departments it absorbed, which according to our findings amounted to $1.7 million, including approximately $1 million spent in the former energy and resources ministry (see spreadsheets below).
In 2013-2014, more than $1.5 million was spent on Fujitsu Consulting, headquartered in Tokyo. The reason for this dramatic jump likely lies in the fact that Fujitsu recently finished building a new state-of-the-art data centre in Regina, presumably allowing the government to keep down some costs and assist the growing provincial economy. However, the amount of money paid to Fujitsu across ministries is more than almost every other consulting company hired by the Saskatchewan government, eclipsed only by Seattle-based Lean advisors John Black and Associates.
From Tokyo to Saskatoon to Washington
Fujitsu Consulting took up the greatest share of the budget, at $1.5 million. The reason for such a dramatic jump likely lies in the new state-of-the-art data centre the company has finished building in Regina, presumably allowing the government to keep down some costs and assist the growing provincial economy.
Also over the $1 million mark was the Information Service Corporation, which belonged to the Government of Saskatchewan until it was privatized in 2013. It is now a publicly traded company owned by shareholders.
Another company is Saskatoon-based Insightrix Research, which received a $215,000 payment for their services. Insightrix, with head offices in both Saskatoon and Horsham, Australia, recently gained internet fame for a viral video made by the company, which depicts actors using common Saskatchewan slang, complete with subtitles for unknowing viewers.
Aside from the video, Insightrix has worked closely with the Ministry of Economy and its predecessors, getting a 2012/13 contract worth $237,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education. The part of the Ministry of Advanced Education that hired Insightrix was absorbed into Economy in 2012.
Standing among the private companies is one non-profit, FPInnovations. The group describes itself as a forestry research organization that has worked in Saskatchewan's lumber industry. Headquartered in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, FPInnovations is described on the company's website as a “private, non-profit forest research centre” that that works to help "Aboriginal peoples and communities in Saskatchewan improve entrepreneurial efforts necessary to marketplace success.”
Finally of note, the economy ministry also made a contribution to the services of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, contracted to lobby Washington politicians on behalf of Saskatchewan.
|Grassland Environmental||$ 57,657|
|Grassland Environmental||$ 57,657|
|Information Services Corp||$1,068,944|
|Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough||$480,638|
|Prestige Sourcing Group||$134,171|
|Summit Liability Solutions Inc.||$74,134|
|Vcare Business Networking Group||$72,652|