Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – April 8, 2022

First parcel of land sold at the Global Transportation Hub since 2017, Cargill to build $350 mill canola crusher

The Global Transportation Hub (GTH) will have a new tenant as the province approved a $38 million land sale between GTH and Cargill Canada (Cargill) on Apr. 6 for a 247-acre plot of land within the government-owned industrial park in Regina. The transaction is the first parcel of land sold at the GTH since 2017.

The sale will see Cargill build the $350 million canola crusher at the GTH. The new processing facility is projected to have an annual production capacity of 1 million metric tonnes and Cargill aims to provide “a consistent and fast point of delivery for farmers and end users.”

“We are confident in the continued growth and competitiveness of the canola processing industry and look forward to helping farmers access increasing market demand,” said Jeff Vassart, president of Cargill Canada.
“Through these projects, we’re committed to providing a better, more efficient customer experience across our network, making it easier to do business with Cargill.”

Regina and Saskatoon submit bid for 2023 World Juniors

On Apr. 5, the City of Regina, City of Saskatoon, Tourism Saskatoon, Tourism Regina, SaskTel Centre, REAL District, Saskatoon Destination Marketing Hotels and the Regina Hotel Association officially submitted their bid for the 2023 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

“It’s been amazing to witness so much great work happening so quickly,” Tourism Regina Chief Tourism & Visitor Growth Officer Chelsea Galloway said. “We want to salute all of our partners, especially the City Councils of Saskatoon and Regina not only for seeing what this opportunity means to our province, but for clearing the way to make this bid a reality.”

Starting April 8, bid partners are encouraging all of Saskatchewan to spread the word on social media using #BringItHomeSK, to show Hockey Canada that Saskatchewan is the best place to host.

A successful bid would have significant economic impact, with bid partners anticipating $50 million in economic benefits – including over 20,000 out of town travellers, over 15,000 room nights and “Saskatchewan well positioned in the eyes of over 120 million worldwide through TSN broadcasts.”

HomeTeam Live becomes streaming partner for the Western Canadian Baseball League

Saskatchewan-based tech startup, HomeTeam Live signed an exclusive streaming partnership with the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) on Apr. 8.

HomeTeam Live is a streaming software that provides broadcast-quality video for sports leagues. The app will carry all 308 Regular Season and Playoff games of the collegiate summer baseball league in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the WCBL opening day on May 26 will be streamed exclusively on HomeTeam Live.

“We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with the WCBL – a league in our own backyard in the prairies, said HomeTeam Live CEO, Tanner Goetz. “Since our launch last summer, HomeTeam Live has added several new leagues plus significant app features that make the viewing experience unmatched. Now baseball fans that subscribe to this live streaming service will be supporting WCBL clubs as this additional revenue stream will assist in the sustainability of baseball in Western Canada.”

Vendasta named as one of The America’s 500 fastest growing companies

The Financial Times released a 500-company list ranking “The America’s Fastest-Growing Companies 2022” on Apr. 4, with Saskatoon’s Vendasta making the list for the third time and landing within the top 400.
The list is the result of a joint project between the Financial Times and Statista, with companies ranked by their high compound annual growth rates in revenue between 2017 to 2020.

“We’re very proud to be on this list. In the period the Financial Times examined, we’d added more than 300 employees and 40,000 partners,” said Brendan King, CEO of Vendasta.

“I am proud to be a part of this talented crew. We are all excited to improve the way small businesses buy and implement technology by connecting them with vendors and local experts.”

BC’s Westland Insurance acquires Booth Burnett

Westland Insurance announced on Apr. 7 that the company has acquired Saskatoon-based insurance brokerage Booth Burnett Insurance.

“We’re proud to welcome these two established brokerages to the Westland family,” said Jamie Lyons, president & COO at Westland. “Each has a legacy of professionalism and a strong track record of delivering exceptional client service. The Prairies continue to be a critical part of Westland’s national strategy, especially given our ambition to serve more Canadians coast-to-coast. Both Booth Burnett and Savante help deepen our presence in key Western Canadian cities and communities, including Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Steinbach.

Draganfly Inc. reports Q4 and fiscal 2021 results

Saskatoon’s Draganfly Inc. reported the company’s Q4 and fiscal 2021 results on Apr. 4. Draganfly saw a record year for revenue, with $7.05 million in 2021 up from $4.3 million a year earlier. Q4 results were also up by 10 per cent, hitting $1.6 million. Gross profit rose by 50.2 per cent, but overall the company recorded a comprehensive loss of $16.40 million, up from $8.02 million in 2020. Draganfly’s cash balance on December 31, 2021, was $23.08 million compared to $1.98 million in 2020.

“From quarter to quarter, our experienced team has been committed to meeting the demands of the rapidly evolving drone space. Draganfly continues to successfully hit its operational milestones, which are key for attaining our financial objectives. Our Q4 milestones and revenue give us confidence that we are on the path to become a leading North American based global drone solution provider,” said Cameron Chell, Draganfly’s CEO.

Draganfly Inc. offers enterprise drone solutions, contract engineering services, custom software and professional UAV services.

“Historic settlement” reached in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation’s Treaty Land Entitlement Claim

On Apr. 6, Chief Larry Ahenakew, Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs announced that the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Saskatchewan concluded negotiations and reached a settlement agreement for the First Nation’s Treaty Land Entitlement Claim.

According to the provincial government, “Treaty Land Entitlement claims are intended to remedy historic allegations where First Nations received insufficient reserve land promised to them under Treaty.”

Ahtahkakoop adhered to Treaty 6 in 1876, which promised one square mile per family of five, or 128 acres per person, and the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation asserted that the total eligible membership was in fact 368 individuals, resulting in a Treaty land entitlement shortfall of 4,115.2 acres.

“Righting this historical wrong is key to renewing Canada’s relationship with the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation,” Minister Miller said. “We recognize the harms caused to the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation and are committed to addressing them through concrete actions, for the development of the community – and all future generations.”

Through this historic settlement, the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation will receive compensation of $43.3 million with $30.7 million from the Government of Canada and $12.6 million from the Government of Saskatchewan.
Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation has the option to acquire up to 40,659.97 acres to add to their reserve lands with Canada and Saskatchewan setting aside $6.7 million as compensation to rural municipalities and school divisions once taxable land is set apart as reserve.

“In the not too distant future, this settlement will also provide for our members, economic development opportunities and create much needed employment on Ahtahkakoop owned commercial and urban lands,” Chief Ahenakew said.

New legislation to increase Indigenous participation in natural resource and value-add projects

On Apr. 4 the Government of Saskatchewan introduced new legislation to create the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC) to support and increase Indigenous participation in the province’s natural resource and value-added agriculture sectors.

A lack of access to capital was identified as the primary barrier to Indigenous equity ownership of natural resource and value-added agriculture projects through the government’s discussions with Indigenous business owners, Indigenous leaders, and officials from major resource companies.

The SIIFC will offer loan guarantees to help address this need by providing up to $75 million in loan guarantees to eligible First Nations and Métis communities and organizations to support investment in forestry, mining, oil and gas, energy production and value-added agriculture projects.

“We have been working together in partnership with the province and First Nations representatives since January to develop the framework of the SIIFC,” Métis Nation–Saskatchewan president Glen McCallum said.

“The establishment of the SIIFC is a huge step forward for Métis and First Nation community-owned businesses in the resource, energy, and agricultural sectors. The availability of major project funding will further economic growth in Saskatchewan and our Métis communities.”

Governments supporting Saskatchewan’s growing technology and research sectors

On Apr. 5, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced The Innovation Saskatchewan Amendment Act, 2022. The legislation will create a single innovation agency in the province by providing authority for Innovation Saskatchewan to own and operate the technology and research parks currently assigned to Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO).

Innovation Saskatchewan has been a highly effective agency for the strategic and rapid deployment of policies and programs with an enormous impact on the growth of the innovation sector,” SaskTech President Aaron Genest said.

“Innovation Place, as an instrument of Innovation Saskatchewan, will complement this mission, enhancing the effectiveness of existing efforts – particularly around the development of the startup ecosystem. The single integrated agency will have a clear mandate to drive innovation and ownership in delivering on the goal of tripling the tech sector in the province by 2030 by leveraging infrastructure assets.

The following day, the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan announced more than $885,000 for 43 projects through the Agriculture Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) program to further support research demonstration projects. The ADOPT program provides funding to assist producer groups to evaluate and demonstrate new agricultural practices and technologies locally with the results of successful trials potentially being adopted by agricultural operations in the region.

“With investments under the ADOPT program, the Government of Canada is helping producers to adapt their operations to improve efficiency, reduce environmental impacts and save time,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

ADOPT is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to support the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors. Since beginning in 2009, ADOPT commits $800,000 per year in funding to evaluate new agricultural practices and technologies.

“These projects directly support producers and include managing drought risk, forage stand rejuvenation and other valuable practices that will potentially make the work our producers do just a little bit easier,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said.

An additional $26,625 in support of five of these projects was contributed by industry co-funders the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and Fertilizer Canada.

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