Sharing news that SHCA members need to know
City of Regina implements Indigenous procurement policy
Regina City Council has approved the city’s new Indigenous procurement policy.
Regina is committed to reconciliation and this policy, which outlines a minimum goal of 20 per cent Indigenous procurement, is a step along journey to economic reconciliation. Effective immediately, the procurement policy puts tools in place to foster greater success for Indigenous-led business growth and development within Regina and surrounding areas.
The Indigenous procurement policy has been developed in collaboration with the Indigenous Procurement Advisory Committee (IPAC), who graciously provided insight and support to help Regina move forward together in reconciliation. The IPAC will continue to meet and provide guidance to support implementation of the Indigenous procurement policy to its fullest.
“Economic fairness is imperative for our collective future,” said Regina Mayor Sandra Masters. “It requires us to understand where barriers exist and to collaborate with, and learn from, Indigenous partners to find solutions. We are grateful for these partnerships and their guidance through this process.”
“The City of Regina’s Indigenous procurement policy is a step in the right direction to create economic prosperity for Indigenous-owned businesses and our community,” said Thomas Benjoe, president and CEO, FHQ Developments. “The work of the IPAC was critical in helping to shape the policy with Indigenous perspectives to ensure that there are appropriate supports and accountabilities established in the processes. This commitment to a minimum 20 per cent total spend is historic and will benefit not only our Indigenous business community but our community at large through the reinvestment that most Indigenous businesses make in supporting our local economies.”
Currently, Regina spends approximately $200 million on procurement per year, with 0.15 per cent procured through Indigenous business, which equals approximately $300,000. At current procurement levels, a minimum 20 per cent Indigenous procurement value would be at least $41 million worth of goods and services procured through Indigenous businesses.
The city’s Indigenous procurement partner has recently been hired and is settling into their role connecting with stakeholders and providing support to administration to affect the rollout of the Indigenous procurement policy. As part of the rollout and to ensure effective implementation of the policy, training and support will be provided to all areas of administration.
Visit Regina.ca/procurement for more information about the Indigenous procurement policy.
Canada and Saskatchewan invest in infrastructure projects to strengthen communities.
In February, Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Saskatchewan’s Government Relations Minister Don McMorris announced more than $19.7 million in joint funding for 25 infrastructure projects across the province.
The construction of new facilities at the First Nations University of Canada’s Land-based Learning Centre in Regina is included in this funding. The centre will serve as a place for Indigenous teaching and learning on the land. It will include overnight facilities such as cabins, shower and washroom facilities, a mess hall with a kitchen, water and wastewater infrastructure, along with a permanent sweat lodge structure and an outdoor learning centre.
Funding will also provide improvements to Estevan’s Leisure Centre to enhance the quality of facilities for residents. This project will include the rehabilitation of its rooftop for increased sustainability and the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.
Several rural areas will also see infrastructure improvements including bridge replacements in the rural municipalities of Big Stick No. 141, Biggar No. 347 and Laurier No. 38, which will improve the transportation system. In addition, funding will support the decommissioning of five landfills for the villages of Climax, Ceylon, Harris and the towns of Lumsden and Milestone to help protect the environment.
By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities and improving the lives of Canadians.“
The investments announced today will create opportunities for Saskatchewanians to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” LeBlanc said. “We will continue working with our partners to support rural and Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan.”
“Our government is investing nearly $9 million in provincial funding toward these 25 vital infrastructure projects,” McMorris said. “These investments will increase Indigenous cultural learning opportunities, provide recreational opportunities, improve our rural transportation system and support our environment. We will continue to build a stronger Saskatchewan that is home to a strong economy, strong communities and strong families.”
Procurement begins for Regina General Hospital Parkade
The Government of Saskatchewan has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to find a proponent to deliver the Regina General Hospital (RGH) Parkade project. The proponent will be hired under a Design-Build-Partial Lease (DBPL) agreement, which means that the selected team will be responsible for designing, constructing, financing, maintaining and operating the new parkade. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will lease 800 stalls from the chosen proponent.“
The parking situation at Regina General Hospital has been a long-time concern and I am very pleased to see this project moving forward,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “Staff and visitors deserve the safety and convenience a nearby parkade will provide.”
The new parkade at RGH will be built in the northwest portion of the existing visitor parking lot and will provide a minimum of 800 stalls, a net increase of at least 566 parking stalls.“
The Government of Saskatchewan is taking action to address parking at the Regina General Hospital,” Regina Walsh Acres MLA Derek Meyers said. “Once completed, the new parkade will improve safety, accessibility and productivity for staff, patients and visitors.”
The SHA is actively working alongside SaskBuilds and Procurement to help ensure patient, staff and visitor perspectives are being reflected in the design process of the parkade.“
The new parkade is a vital addition to Regina General Hospital that will help alleviate ongoing parking pressures,” Saskatchewan Health Authority acting vice president of infrastructure information and support Michelle Mula said. “The SHA’s interim parking plan will ensure minimal disruption to parking services during the construction of the parkade.”
The proponents shortlisted through this RFQ will proceed to the second stage of procurement for the project: a Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP is expected to open this spring, and each of the shortlisted proponents from the RFQ stage will be invited to participate in the RFP and to submit a proposal for the project.
Saskatchewan cities feeling pinch of PST on municipal construction projects
As municipalities finalize their municipal budgets and prepare for the 2023 construction season, Saskatchewan’s hometowns are continuing to feel the pinch of PST on municipal construction projects. Cities are paying millions of dollars in PST on infrastructure projects designed to improve the quality of life for their residents and surrounding areas.“
Local governments are responsible for approximately 60 per cent of public infrastructure,” Mayor Gerald Aalbers, chair of the SUMA City Mayors’ Caucus and vice-president of cities for SUMA, said. “Our hometowns largely build and maintain that infrastructure through government grants like the Municipal Revenue Sharing program. But one-quarter or more of our Municipal Revenue Sharing dollars are being returned to the province in the form of PST on construction projects.”
Based on data gathered by SUMA, medium-sized cities in Saskatchewan returned 24 to 39 per cent of their total Municipal Revenue Sharing grant back to the province in the form of PST on construction projects in 2021. The City of Yorkton paid approximately $1 million in PST on their infrastructure projects, and for the City of Prince Albert, the total was $2.8 million. Through Municipal Revenue Sharing, the cities received $3.2 million and $7.1 million, respectively.
When the exemption of PST on construction projects was removed in 2017, Saskatchewan’s hometowns raised concerns over the additional costs, requesting an exemption. With inflation, costs have increased drastically, further impacting the already limited budgets of Saskatchewan’s municipalities. For those cities undertaking major infrastructure projects, like the City of Prince Albert, the percentage of funding returned to the province through PST on construction projects is anticipated to rise substantially.“
We truly appreciate the funding provided to our communities through programs like Municipal Revenue Sharing,” Mayor Aalbers said. “But we are returning a significant portion of this funding through PST on municipal construction, funding that could instead be used to enhance municipal services and limit property tax increases.”
The impact of PST on infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan’s cities was discussed during the virtual SUMA City Mayors’ Caucus meeting on Feb. 9. SUMA’s City Mayors’ Caucus brings together representatives from Saskatchewan’s 16 cities to discuss issues of common concern and project a strong, unified voice on the most pressing and important local and provincial issues facing Saskatchewan’s cities.
Saskatchewan seeks leave to intervene against new Vancouver port fees
Saskatchewan, along with Manitoba, appeared virtually before the Federal Court earlier this year to seek leave to intervene in a judicial review of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s new gateway infrastructure fees.“
As a province that depends heavily on exports, Saskatchewan wants to ensure that the full impact of new port fees on key sectors of our economy is taken into consideration,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “These fees could significantly increase costs for Saskatchewan goods moving through the Port of Vancouver and diminish Canada’s overall global competitiveness.”
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced it was implementing new fees in the fall of 2022, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The fees range from eight to 40 cents per tonne for bulk, non-containerized cargo, including potash and grain, depending on the terminal through which the export is being processed. In response to this increase, a number of companies, including Viterra Canada Inc., are seeking a judicial review of the decision.
Saskatchewan will provide a public interest perspective on the interpretation of what constitutes a fair and reasonable fee, based on a provision under the Canada Marine Act, which requires that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Board have representation from the prairie provinces, and the large amount of Saskatchewan exports processed through the Port of Vancouver.“
As a landlocked province, Saskatchewan relies on a fair and competitive transportation network to get our goods across Canada and around the world,” Highways Minister Jeremy Cockrill said. “Our producers can compete with any in the world, as long as they are treated equitably.”
The Port of Vancouver is critical for Saskatchewan exports. In 2020, approximately 44 per cent of all Saskatchewan exports went through it, which represents a total value of $12.2 billion. This includes over $8 billion in agriculture and agri-food products and $2.9 billion in potash and potassium-based fertilizers. Approximately 22 per cent of the collective metric tonnage of goods that went through the Port of Vancouver in 2020 were made up of Saskatchewan exports.“
Port of Vancouver is trying to impose new gateway infrastructure fees that in our view places an unfair and unnecessary burden on bulk terminal operators like grain,” Parrish & Heimbecker CEO John Heimbecker said. “Given that a significant portion of those costs will inevitably be borne by prairie grain farmers, it’s only right that the Government of Saskatchewan would intervene to protect their interests and we’re thankful to the Premier and his ministers for doing just that.”
Redhead Equipment has been appointed as EvoQuip’s Canadian distributor for the province of Saskatchewan. Along with sales opportunities, Redhead Equipment’s factory-trained technicians will provide parts, service and warranty support for EvoQuip’s crushing, screening and conveying equipment for the region.
Andrew Lawrence, EvoQuip sales director, said “EvoQuip already has a strong presence in Canada and this new appointment will improve the level of customer support we can offer. This is a hugely important region for us, so it was important that we partnered with an experienced company that has the skills to further develop the EvoQuip brand in Canada. We believe we have found the right partner in Redhead Equipment.”
With a long history stretching back to 1948, Redhead Equipment has since established eight locations across Saskatchewan where they supply agricultural, construction and truck and trailer equipment.
Speaking of the new partnership Gary Wilson, corporate sales manager for Redhead Equipment, explained, “This is another big step for us. Over the years, we’ve gained a lot of expertise in dealing with construction equipment, so adding compact crushing and screening to our portfolio was the next logical step. We’re excited to be able to bring these products to our customers.”
Ontario preparing students for jobs of the future.
The Ontario government is implementing a new high school graduation requirement to help better prepare students across the province for the jobs of tomorrow. Starting with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024, all students will now be required to earn a Grade 9 or 10 Technological Education credit as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.“
I am proud to announce another step forward to ensure all students learn the critical skills necessary to succeed and get a good paying job,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education in Ontario. “By requiring students to take at least one Technological Education credit in high school, we are opening up doors and creating new pathways to good jobs in STEM and the skilled trades. All students will benefit from a greater emphasis on hands-on learning experiences and technical skills in the classroom so they can graduate with a competitive advantage in this country.”
This new learning graduation requirement will expose Ontario’s students to at least one Technological Education course that could guide them to a future career in the highly skilled workforce, including the skilled trades. With more than 100,000 unfilled skilled trades jobs right now, it is critical Ontario attracts more young people to pursue a fulfilling, good-paying career in the trades.
The Technological Education curriculum covers a broad range of sectors, including construction, transportation, manufacturing, computer technology, hospitality and communication. In Ontario, men make up more than 70 per cent of workers in trades-related occupations. The exposure to these career pathways as a mandatory graduation curriculum requirement will ensure more young women make the choice to pursue a career in the trades.
While almost 39 per cent of Ontario secondary school students were enrolled in a Technological Education course in 2020–21, nearly 63 per cent were male students. With this graduation requirement, more young women will have an opportunity to explore the trades. This new requirement means a student may be introduced to programming learning in Grade 9, explore the apprenticeship pathway further and may ultimately decide to become an aerospace manufacturing technician, for example.“
For Ontario to succeed, we need more women and girls to pursue fulfilling careers in the skilled trades. I am proud our government is taking action to ensure students across our province have the tools and skills they need to build a new generation of prosperity in Ontario,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “
This mandatory graduation requirement means a brighter future – not just for women and girls – but for our entire province.”This new graduation requirement builds upon other actions taken by the government to bolster its Skilled Trades Strategy, including developing an accelerated Grade 11 to apprenticeship pathway for students to get into the skilled trades faster.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is taking an all-hands-on deck approach to attract and train our next generation of skilled trades workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”
Brandt named exclusive Canadian dealer for Sleipner products
Brandt is now the exclusive Canadian dealer for the complete line of heavy equipment mobilization products from Sleipner Finland Ltd., which are used in the mining, quarrying and construction industries to improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of operations.
Sleipner products are proven to deliver travel-time reductions of up to 85 per cent when transporting tracked or wheeled equipment in tonne-class sizes from 30 to 570, including front shovels, large dozers, excavators, wheel loaders, trucks, drills and more.
“By transporting equipment more quickly and easily, you use the equipment better, and are able to do more work and eliminate waste,” said Jim Thompson, Brandt vice president of sales, Mining.
Producers will see multiple benefits by enhancing the mobility of their production-class equipment. This includes safety, productivity increases of up to 20 per cent, lower overall operating costs due to reduced fuel and maintenance costs and a measurable reduction in carbon emissions.
“Partnering with Brandt was a natural fit for Sleipner as we expand our frontline presence in the Canadian market,” said Sleipner CEO Jukka Koponen. “Our customers deserve the very best, and Brandt’s long-term industry experience, parts and service infrastructure and reputation for customer support are unmatched.”
A full range of Sleipner products, along with replacement parts and service personnel, will be accessible through Brandt’s coast-to-coast dealer network.
SARM aims to attract the next generation of rural government
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) has been the voice of rural Saskatchewan for over 100 years and has worked with generations of rural elected officials representing their member RMs. As more young families are calling rural Saskatchewan home, recruitment of the next generation is vital to maintaining a healthy rural municipal government. There are countless young people living in rural Saskatchewan who would be a valuable addition to RM councils – they just need to be encouraged to participate.
“We see many advantages to having diverse demographics among rural councils, particularly the younger generation just starting out. The future of Saskatchewan’s rural communities depends on young people stepping up to join municipal politics. SARM is starting the conversation with current members to identify ways we can ensure the next generation knows how to get involved and knows how much we really need them. We want to plant the seed in RMs, encouraging those interested in having a say about their RM to step forward and consider a pathway in municipal politics,” said Ray Orb, president of SARM.
SARM is calling for more young people to join rural municipal government to help shape the future for the next generation living in rural Saskatchewan. The need to attract young RM members is in the forefront of this conversation, and SARM is asking members to give thought to flexible council meeting times, developing a mentorship plan for new councillors, and perhaps even hosting an open house at the RM office to welcome those interested in local politics to come and learn more about it.
“I chose to be in municipal politics to get an understanding of how grassroots politics worked and try to have a positive impact for our rural community. I also wanted to advocate for positive change in rural Saskatchewan and for our future generations to keep rural communities growing and succeeding,“ said Shawn Kramer, Councillor for the RM of Maple Creek. “Over my past two terms, I have learned a lot about rural municipal procedures and governance, and also how to work with other communities and levels of government to work towards a common goal. There is always more to learn from past community leaders and the future leaders as well. I look forward to continuing learning and working for our rural community in my third term.”