Fees hikes for birth, death, marriage certificates, hunting and fishing licences
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REGINA — The cost of getting a birth, death or marriage certificate in Saskatchewan is going up.
The government is raising dozens of fees and charges paid by Saskatchewan residents in a move that Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says better reflects the cost of the services.
Death, marriage and short form birth certificates will all go up by $10 to $35 each, while fees rise various amounts for hunting, trapping and fishing licences.
Starting April 1, applicants to the international skilled worker program will have to pay a new, non-refundable application fee of $300.
The changes will add about $8.7 million to the general revenue fund, $886,500 to the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund, and about $1.1 for services provided by eHealth and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority.
Doherty says the cost to provide services has risen, so fees have to go up, too.
"What we do with fees and charges is on a cost-recovery basis," Doherty said Thursday.
He says some of the fees have not gone up in 10 or 15 years.
For example, the licensing fee regarding personal care homes is going up to $20 per bed from $10. The government says it will be the first increase in these fees since 1991.
Doherty would not say if there will be more increases in the upcoming provincial budget, which will be released Wednesday. The government is facing a $1.2 billion deficit.
In 2004, the previous NDP government implemented a $3 per day fee to purchase firewood in Saskatchewan parks.
The Saskatchewan Party, which was in Opposition at the time, called the move a wiener roast tax and scrapped it shortly after taking power in 2007.
Doherty says that's not what these fee changes are.
"Am I trying to ruin everyone's summer? No, I'm not trying to ruin everyone's summer," said Doherty.
"I don't want to minimize these fees. Obviously, if you're a fisher person or a hunting person, or whatever the fees might apply to, it's of importance to you, so I'm not trying to minimize that at all. But I think we need to keep this in context, costs go up."