Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – March 18, 2022

Regina. Photo Provided by EDR
Regina. Photo Provided by EDR.

Chris Lane is Economic Development Regina’s new CEO

Economic Development Regina (EDR) announced on Mar. 17 that Chris Lane has been hired as the organization’s new president and CEO.

“There’s so much momentum building around Regina and the opportunities here,” said Lane. “We’re talking about transformational economic growth. It’s an exciting time and space, and I’m energized for EDR to play an increasing leadership role in making it a reality.”

Lane joins EDR from his role as president and CEO of the Canadian Western Agribition. He starts at EDR on April 25, 2022.

“The recruitment process for this position was diligent and intentional. We were looking for a leader who can capitalize on the genuine excitement and momentum that is building for the Regina region” said Tina Svedahl, vice-chair of EDR’s board of directors. “Chris is the perfect person for this role, and we are eager to see what he does as our new president and CEO.”

Nutrien increases production

Nutrien has announced the company will increase its potash production capability to approximately 15 million tonnes in 2022 (an increase of nearly one million tonnes from previous plans) due to supply uncertainty in Eastern Europe. The 2022 production is expected to rise by almost 20 per cent compared to 2020 and “account for more than 70 percent of global production added over this period.”

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those impacted by the crisis in Ukraine and we hope for an immediate de-escalation of this conflict. The impacts of this conflict extend beyond Eastern Europe as a disruption in supply of key agriculture, fertilizer and energy commodities could have implications for global food security,” said Ken Seitz, Nutrien’s interim president and CEO. “Nutrien is responding to this period of unprecedented market uncertainty by safely expanding potash production to help provide our customers with the crop inputs they need. We continue to closely monitor market conditions and will evolve our long-term plans to ensure we utilize our assets in a safe and sustainable manner that benefits all our stakeholders.”

ISM announces new partnership

Mar. 16 saw news that Regina-based ISM has partnered with OneWeb (the low Earth orbit satellite communications firm) to offer to internet access to remote organizations and communities in Canada. The new service will improve connectivity in remote areas, create better access to quality video and audio calls and increase streaming abilities.

“At ISM, we believe in offering equitable access to connectivity technology regardless of postal code,” said Hasnain Versi, President and CEO of ISM. “We are excited to realize our shared vision with OneWeb to further enable remote communities via wireless internet connectivity. We partnered with OneWeb because they have the right combination of technology, innovation, and skills to successfully design and deliver our new solution. This service will help remote organizations and communities by providing an essential service in an accessible way.”

ISC reports 2021 Q4 and year-end financial results

Information Services Corp. (ISC) reported its 2021 Q4 and year-end financial results on Mar. 15.

The company saw revenue of $44.2 million for Q$, increasing 13 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier. Net income was $10.3 million, up from $7.9 million in Q4 2020. Overall, 2021 saw total revenue of $169.4 mllion, up 24 per cent from 2020. The increase was due to higher revenue in the company’s Registry Operations due to increased activity in the provincial real estate sector, as well as personal property security registrations and new business entity registrations. Net income for 2021 was $32.1 million ($1.83 per basic share and $1.78 per diluted share), up from $20.8 million ($1.19 per basic share and $1.18 per diluted share) in 2020.

“2021 was a remarkable year for ISC. Not only did we continue to grow our Services business in the face of a global pandemic, but we experienced outstanding results in our Saskatchewan-based registries,” said Shawn Peters, ISC’s president and CEO. “We see continued strength across our business in 2022, and I’m looking forward to building upon that strength with expanded products and services, while putting our balance sheet to work by executing on our acquisition strategy. As always, our customers and our employees will be at the heart of everything we do, and 2022 is expected to be another exciting year for ISC.”

Montreal Lake Business Ventures names new CEO

Montreal Lake Business Ventures LP, part of Montreal Lake Cree Nation announced on Mar. 14 that Gary Daniels is the organization’s new CEO. Daniels is a member of Mistawasis Nêhiyawak with more than 20 years of experience at Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, including over 14 years as the General Manager for Dakota Dunes Casino.

“Gary is the right Chief Executive Officer for Montreal Lake Business Ventures LP,” said Chief Joyce Naytowhow-McLeod, Chief of Montreal Lake Cree Nation. “Gary’s extensive background in a large and complex Indigenous-owned organization, his positive attitude and tireless energy will be strong assets to help our team succeed in our mandate to provide long term business development opportunities and benefits for Montreal Lake Cree Nation.”

Montreal Lake Business Ventures LP (MLBV) was formed in 2010 to create wealth, employment, and economic self-sufficiency opportunities for the Montreal Lake Cree Nation. Montreal Lake Cree Nation is a  located on the southern shore of Montreal Lake, north of Prince Albert.

BuildForce Canada sees construction growth for Saskatchewan

BuildForce Canada’s 2022–2027 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward report released on Mar. 16 predicts a recovery in new home construction and provincial capital investment will increase construction employment in the province.

“Saskatchewan’s construction market is expected to remain on an upward trend through 2023, driven by residential activity, major public expenditures, and the anticipated start of a potash mine expansion, a canola processing plant, and a natural gas power plant in Moose Jaw,” said Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “We anticipate that investment will cycle down slightly in 2024 before ramping back up again through the end of our forecast period.”

However, the same report projects that 13 per cent of the 2021 construction labour force will be retiring in the next six years. While some of the gap can be addressed by new entrants into the industry, the current rate of new apprentices and trade completions presents a risk to several trades. According to the report, the construction industry needs to remain focused on “building a more diverse and inclusive labour force,” including women, Indigenous peoples and newcomers to Canada to address labour shortfalls.

The Conference Board of Canada predicts growth

On Mar. 15, the Conference Board of Canada released its quarterly economic forecast with a short-term outlook for Canada’s province. The report predicts that Alberta and Saskatchewan will lead the country in growth for 2022 and 2023 because of prices in energy and other commodities. The forecast sees a GDP increase of 5.5 per cent in 2022 and 4.0 per cent in 2023 as demand for fertilizers will rise along with potash prices. Several investment projects including BHP’s Jansen project, three canola processing plants (Viterra and Cargill near Regina and Ceres Global Ag at Northgate) and FCL’s new biodiesel plant will all drive growth as well.

Saskatchewan leads in wholesale trade growth

Saskatchewan leads Canada with year-over-year growth in wholesale trade. The province’s wholesale trade increased by 34.7 per cent from January 2021 to January 2022, first among the provinces. Last year, Saskatchewan’s agricultural exports hit a record $17.5 billion, forestry product sales rose to an all-time high of $1.8 billion and merchandise exports saw a record high of $37.5 billion.

Canadian farmland market stays resilient

Despite pandemic disruptions and adverse weather in 2021, Canada’s farmland values saw an 8.3 per cent national average increase in value in 2021, according to the latest report from Farm Credit Canada (FCC). FCC’s Farmland Values Report was released Mar. 14, showing that in Saskatchewan, farmland value rose by 7.4 per cent in 2021. The largest increases were seen in Ontario (22.2 per cent) and British Columbia (18.1 per cent).

“The low interest rate environment and favourable commodity prices seem to have offset some of the many challenges that could have been expected to restrain the demand for farmland and the price producers are willing to pay for land,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist. “It’s a testament to the resilience and business confidence of farm operators who are largely driving this strong Canadian farmland market.”

New training initiative announced

On Mar. 15 the Government of Saskatchewan announced $4 million in funding for the Economic Recovery Work Experience Initiative.

The initiative is a one-time pandemic-related program for employers and job seekers, providing funding for paid work experiences for job seekers seeking to learn skills in sectors such as hospitality, agriculture, retail services, health, and childcare. The program will accommodate up to 465 job seekers in work experiences up to 16 weeks in length.

“The Economic Recovery Work Experience Initiative will help address the gap of skilled labour shortages in key priority sectors,” said Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison. “This funding will create a stronger Saskatchewan by providing employers with the skilled workforce they need and by empowering job seekers to fully participate in our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The Economic Recovery Work Experience Initiative is funded through the Canada-Saskatchewan Labour Market Transfer Agreements and will be administered by service providers who will connect employers that have available work opportunities with eligible job seekers. Up to $6,000 in funding per each work experience participant is available, and 100 per cent of the minimum hourly wage is covered in the first month, 80 per cent in the second month, and 60 per cent in the third and fourth months.

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