REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is coming to the aid of hundreds of PotashCorp employees who are being issued pink slips because of a softening demand for potash and phosphates.

The Saskatoon-based mining giant said Tuesday morning it's cutting about 1,045 people, or 18 per cent of its workforce, including 440 employees in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in a release the government was immediately sending in what it calls rapid response teams to help affected workers retrain and find jobs outside of the potash industry.

Wall said although the layoffs are not good news, they come at a time of relative labour market strength and diversification in the provincial economy.

Most of the Saskatchewan layoffs will take place at PotashCorp's Lanigan division, where one of two mills will suspend production by the end of 2013.

New Brunswick will also see 130 people affected while the rest will be outside Canada, including more than 435 in the United States.