The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce says getting recommendations from a northern business task force implemented will be one of its key activities this year.

The chamber released a study last year that included 12 recommendations to improve northern economic and social development.

CEO Steve McLellan says both the province and Ottawa can expect the chamber to be asking for progress reports before too long.

“The recommendations ask for the provincial and the federal government to do a variety of things differently. So we’re going to be quite adamant over the next few months to get the resolutions to them, to get the recommendations clearly outlined and to understand from the government’s perspective what their actions will be.”

McLellan says the issues in the north won’t be solved overnight, but they also can’t be put on hold forever.

Among other things, last year’s report recommended that SaskPower give northerners a break on their power bills by making northern electrical rate codes the same as urban areas.

McLellan says the chamber realizes there are a number of factors for the provincial government to weigh before making a decision about that idea.

“There’s also ramifications to everything that we’ve asked for.

Things that look simple are, in many ways — but they also set precedent for other jurisdictions in the province to say, ‘Well if you’re reducing that rate code, here’s what we think we deserve’, and we’re cognizant of that. And we’re also cognizant that if we’re, in this case, suggesting a lower rate code, there’s a financial obligation that SaskPower and the provincial government have to embrace.”

McLellan notes the task force’s work has already resulted in Saskatchewan Highways relaxing the hard closing dates for some northern ice roads.