Saskatchewan Business Year in Review Part 3: The Regina Area

City of Regina. Photo provided by Tourism Regina.
City of Regina. Photo provided by Tourism Regina.

Provincial capital chosen as the site for Canada’s first non-wood pulp mill, the world’s largest canola crushing facilities, and a renewable diesel plant

The third article in Industry West’s four-part year-in-review series reflects on the past year and what lies ahead for Saskatchewan. Continuing on to Queen City, the Regina area has received massive amounts of investment as multiple new, cutting edge facilities have been announced.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and its economic effects, Saskatchewan saw many exciting developments in its industries and sectors. In fact, the province continued to be a leader in job growth, manufacturing and merchandise sales, and broad industry development.

Expansion plans to grow the province’s international presence

The Government of Saskatchewan announced on May 12, that it will open four new trade and investment offices in London, United Kingdom; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Mexico City, Mexico; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Announced as a key part of the 2021-22 Provincial Budget, the establishment of four new office locations will facilitate investment and trade efforts to grow the province’s exports and economy.

New partnership for FHQ Developments and Stantec

On May 26, FHQ Developments and Stantec announced the creation of an Indigenous consulting partnership which took shape as Stone and Arrow Consulting. The new company was formed to explore engineering, design work, and to provide an understanding of local communities across Saskatchewan.

Stantec now has 11 partnerships across the country, formed with Indigenous businesses, Indigenous economic development corporations, Indigenous communities, and Indigenous individuals. Stantec shares FHQ Developments’ technical capabilities with the partner’s local knowledge and experience to deliver quality services.

Regina selected for $350 million wheat straw pulp mill

On June 1, Red Leaf Pulp Ltd. announced that Regina will be the home of its new $350 million proprietary wheat straw-based pulp mill which will be Canada’s first non-wood pulp mill. Red Leaf Pulp has secured properties on Regina’s west side and construction will begin in early 2022 with plans to commence production in 2024.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 182,000 tonnes of market pulp annually from locally-sourced waste wheat straw and is expected to create 110 permanent full-time jobs with 250 additional jobs created during its construction.

Innovation Saskatchewan announced a $395,000 commitment to Red Leaf Pulp delivered through the Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund (SAIF) to further develop the company’s novel wheat straw pulp technology. The company also received $3.8 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to commercialize its proprietary technology as well.

Mosaic Potash Esterhazy mines close, Colonsay plans to resume production

Mosaic Potash announced on June 4 that the company would immediately close the K1 and K2 potash mine shafts at Esterhazy nine months early due to flooding. Their Colonsay Mine will be restarted as the transition from K1 and K2 to K3, which is nearing completion, continues. Mosaic says its annualized potash production could increase by two million tonnes (from 2020 levels) as K3 builds up to full capacity and Colonsay restarts production.

Federal funding provides $11.5 million to Saskatchewan ventures

On June 3, the Government of Canada announced $11,513,951 in funding for 11 projects under the Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program. The funding went to small and medium-sized enterprises contributing to the growth of Western Canada’s economy as they increase productivity, find new markets, and create opportunities for Saskatchewan.

The ventures receiving federal dollars include Heads Up Plant Protectants, Avena Foods Ltd., Blue Sky Hemp Ventures Ltd., Brandt Industries Canada Ltd., Curbie Cars Inc., North Start Systems Inc., Offstreet Technology Inc., Cova Software, Salon Scale Technology Inc., Saskarc Inc., and SkillShark Software Inc.

New wind energy project for Cowessess First Nation

SaskPower has awarded a utility-scale wind energy project to Renewable Energy Systems Canada and Awasis Nehiyawewin Energy Development, a wholly-owned Cowessess First Nation entity.

Plans for the project were announced on June 17, which will be built north of Moose Mountain Provincial Park in the province’s southeast on Cowessess First Nation reserve land in the R.M.s of Hazelwood and Kingsley. When complete, the wind energy facility will supply 200 megawatts (MW) of power. Construction began in the summer and is expected to be complete by 2023.

Protein Industries Canada Announces New Pea-Hemp Partnership

Protein Industries Canada (PIC) announced another plant protein partnership on July 27 which includes NRGene Canada, Farmers Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics, and Manitoba Harvest. The research will work on increasing protein content in peas and hemp and improving the starch content and texture of the products.

In November, PIC announced another new project in partnership with Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (Food Centre), the University of Saskatchewan, the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) and Ag-West Bio. It will focus on fermentation processing technology in food and ingredients and create a new training program in the field to build capacity in Canada’s plant-based food sector.

Saskatchewan poised to process even more canola with new facilities

In a series of announcements this spring, several companies released plans that will help the province reach the Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan goal to crush 75 per cent of the canola the province produces in Saskatchewan.

Richardson International will double the crush capacity at its Yorkton facility to 2.2 million metric tonnes of canola seed annually. Ceres Global Ag announced its intent to build a new $350 million integrated canola crush facility in Northgate with a capacity of 1.1 million metric tonnes.

Cargill announced it will build a new plant in Regina with the capacity to crush one million metric tonnes annually. The city is also the site of Viterra’s plant that will create 2.5 million metric tonnes of capacity, which will make it the largest canola crushing facility in the world.

Brandt makes a series of historic acquisitions

Brandt Tractor Ltd., a subsidiary of the Brandt Group of Companies completed its acquisition of the Cervus Equipment Corporation in October for $302 million at a rate of $19.50 per share in cash. With Cervus having locations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Brandt now owns and operates 120 full-service equipment dealerships and employs over 5,100 people.

Following a 97.66 per cent endorsement by Cervus shareholders, the transaction made Brandt the largest equipment dealer in Canada, adding 64 locations to the company’s existing dealership network and making it the largest John Deere dealership in the world.

Earlier this year, the Brandt Group of Companies successfully acquired the assets of Ontario-based Sokkia Canada making it the exclusive dealer for Sokkia optical survey instruments for the entire Canadian market. Additionally, Brandt became the sole owner of the Regina Pats after being a co-owner of the WHL team since 2014.

Economic Development Regina launches strategy to become a global ag hub

Also in October, Economic Development Regina (EDR) announced its Agriculture and Food Innovation Strategy for Regina. The EDR strategy is designed to build Regina as a place to start, grow, scale, and attract agribusiness. Led by an appointed board of local agriculture and food leaders, the strategy has set objectives to further build the agriculture industry in the greater Regina area.

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. transitions to low-carbon and completes company’s largest acquisition

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Calgary-based Whitecap Resources Inc., in which FCL will use Whitecap’s carbon capture utilization and storage capabilities in Saskatchewan.

The agreement is part of the FCL’s plan to reduce companywide emissions to 40 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030 and to become a net-zero emitter by 2050. The MOU covers carbon capture at FCL’s Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina and at the Co-op Ethanol Complex in Belle Plaine that it purchased from Terra Grain Fuels in July.

Additionally, the Regina City Council has approved the sale of land to FCL for the company’s planned renewable diesel plant. The renewable diesel will be produced primarily from locally-sourced canola, is estimated to create $1.85 billion in economic activity, and is planned to be constructed north of the CRC.

On November 30, also FCL announced its purchase of 181 Husky Energy’s retail fuel sites from Cenovus Energy subsidiaries. The deal, worth $264 million, is the largest acquisition in FCL’s history and includes a mix of gas bars, car washes, and convenience stores. Upon completion, FCL will transfer the Husky sites to various independent local Co-ops in Western Canada.

Samsung announces Regina office to support SaskTel 5G

On December 1, Samsung Electronics Canada announced that it will be establishing a new regional office in Regina to support its growing relationship with SaskTel and to expedite the deployment of 5G wireless services and solutions to the province.

Samsung Electronics Canada was selected as the sole vendor for Sasktel’s 5G solutions last March and the new regional office will be located in downtown Regina. A representative from the company says that the location will be permanent and they expect full tenancy by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Two weeks later, SaskTel announced it has begun deploying its 5G wireless network within the province. Work has started in Regina, with expansion plans to both Regina and Saskatoon in early 2022.