Sharing news that SHCA members need to know
New board members on the Saskatchewan WCB
The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is pleased to welcome two additional part-time board members, Judy Henley and Jack Brodsky, in 2022. They join the WCB’s current full-time board members – chair Gord Dobrowolsky, worker representative Garry Hamblin and employer representative Larry Flowers – to serve the workers and employers of the province.
“We are so pleased to welcome Judy and Jack to the WCB’s board. Their knowledge and expertise will be a great asset to our organization and in turn will benefit our customers, the workers and employers of Saskatchewan,” said Dobrowolsky.
Henley has a wealth of experience in local, provincial and national leadership roles. As a health care worker and member of CUPE 5430 from Melville, she has been active in CUPE since 1985. Having served in many leadership roles within CUPE at the local, provincial and national levels, she also spent 20 years as secretary-treasurer of CUPE Saskatchewan. In 2020, Henley was elected as the new president of the Saskatchewan division of CUPE. She is an active member of the CUPE Local 5430 pension and benefits committee and subcommittees.
Brodsky brings years of experience in construction, leadership, sports and community service. He worked for his family-owned business, Brodsky Construction, for more than two decades in various roles, including part owner. For 37 years, he was a co-owner of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. He has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, and is currently a board member of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association. Since 2014, he has been working with his sons as the vice-president of business development at Brodsky Construction.
“We look forward to the insights that our two new board members will provide,” said Dobrowolsky. “As a board, together we will continue to strengthen our governance.”
This fulfils the changes to Section 4 of the WCB’s legislation, The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013, to include part-time members on the board. The amendment to expand the board was made in response to a recommendation of the 2015 Committee of Review.
All board members are appointed by the provincial government. The board members ensure a strong governance framework for the WCB. They provide strategic direction to leadership and effective oversight of financial and operational performance. Board members also approve policies, oversee risk management and engage with customers and partners. The full-time board members perform their appeals and adjudicative function.
“We are excited to work with Judy and Jack as a board going forward,” said Dobrowolsky. “Together with our staff and leadership teams, we will continue striving to achieve our vision to eliminate injuries and restore abilities. On behalf of the board, I want to welcome Judy and Jack to our existing board group.”
$9.3 million worth of pavement marking completed
Another successful year of pavement marking has concluded for crews at the Ministry of Highways.
“In 2021–22, the Government of Saskatchewan invested $9.3 million in pavement markings,” said Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw. “This important safety investment provides clear direction for Saskatchewan’s motorists, which helps decrease collisions.”
The reflective pavement marking assists drivers when it’s dark and in poor weather conditions. Between May and December, the crews repainted nearly 21,000 kilometres of centre lines and more than 38,500 kilometres of edge lines on Saskatchewan highways. If all those lines were placed end-to-end, they would be more than long enough to circle the earth.
More than 33,000 pavement signs, including arrows, medians, railroad crossings, bridge markers and crosswalks were also painted this past season.
In total, crews applied more than 1.2 million litres of paint on Saskatchewan highways.
The Ministry of Highways use waterborne or low VOC paint on 70 per cent of centre lines and 90 per cent of shoulder lines. In addition, 1,900 drums of glass beads are added to that paint, which enhances durability and improves visibility at night.
Serious worker injury leads to $70,000 fine for Saskatchewan company
On March 9, 2022, Ryderz Contracting Inc. pleaded guilty in Saskatoon Provincial Court to one violation of occupational health and safety regulations.
The company pleaded guilty to contravening subsection 129(a) of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 (being an employer, contractor or owner, fail to ensure that no material or equipment is placed, stacked or stored so as to constitute a hazard to workers, resulting in the serious injury of a worker).
The charge stemmed from a workplace incident that occurred on April 21, 2020, at a worksite in Saskatoon. While loading concrete forms, the form cage tipped over and injured the worker.
As a result of this violation, the Court imposed a fine of $50,000, along with a surcharge of $20,000, for a total amount of $70,000.
Employers are required to provide safe and healthy workplaces, and must provide information, training and experience necessary for employees to perform their jobs safely. For more information about workplace health and safety training and resources, visit www.worksafesask.ca or contact an industry safety association.
The Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety works with employers and workers to eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses through education, inspections and prosecutions.
New initiative aims to grow Saskatchewan’s helium sector
The Government of Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), is accelerating the development of helium processing and liquefaction hubs in the province.
The Ministry of Energy and Resources (ER) will support the SRC with a grant of $140,000 to complete a Helium Liquefaction Hub Study, which will incorporate technical and economic components and provide the critical information needed to develop a commercial scale, value-added, export-oriented helium sector in Saskatchewan.
“We are already home to Canada’s largest purification facility, near Battle Creek, and liquefaction is the crucial next step, as we aim to supply 10 per cent of global helium market share by 2030,” said Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre. “Only liquid helium can be exported overseas and as many end-users require liquid helium, a provincial liquefaction facility will improve both the marketability and pricing for Saskatchewan’s significant helium resources.”
Saskatchewan has high helium concentrations and some of the most attractive geology in the world for low-emission helium production. Helium is a highly desirable commodity with no substitute and is used in medical research and diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing, space exploration, fibre optics, nuclear power generation and other advanced technology sectors.
The ER grant will play a key role in achieving the targets laid out in Saskatchewan’s Helium Action Plan: From Exploration to Exports, expected to produce significant economic benefits for the province, including 15 new helium purification and liquefaction facilities, 500 new permanent jobs and annual helium exports worth more than $500 million.
The Hub Study will bring together helium stakeholders and help provide companies with the information they need to make major investment decisions, including around establishing Saskatchewan as a regional helium liquefaction hub in Western Canada and surrounding U.S. states. The study will also include helium supply volume forecasts from Saskatchewan, neighbouring provinces and states under different market scenarios and a ranking of specific site locations.
Currently, helium is produced and purified in Saskatchewan, but must be sent to the United States for commercial scale liquefaction. Provincial liquefaction will also ensure that end-users in Canada have reliable access to liquid helium for critical equipment such as medical resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
SARM responds to 2022–2023 provincial budget
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) appreciates this budget’s increased dollars for initiatives and programs that benefit rural Saskatchewan and believes this government is on track despite the deficits incurred in recent years due to the pandemic, weather events and more.
“Road and bridge infrastructure is integral to rural life,” said Ray Orb, president of SARM. Understanding that the bridge infrastructure deficit is growing, and additional investment is critical for Saskatchewan, SARM appreciates the investment to the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program of $22.5M, including $7.5M in stimulus funding.
“This will help RMs maintain and improve economically strategic municipal roads and bridges that support agriculture, energy, forestry and other rural-based sectors,” said Orb.
The success of Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector is imperative for the province’s economic growth. Agriculture producers in Saskatchewan can take comfort knowing the province is funding the Business Risk Management Programming at $338.5M and enhancing programs like crop insurance (and others) to ensure support will be there when it’s needed. SARM also appreciates the continued investment in irrigation expansion.
As municipal revenue sharing remains a reliable (and preferred) model for funding, one that RMs count on to serve their communities, SARM is disappointed that the funding was decreased for the second budget in a row, reduced to $276M. While increased funding to the municipal revenue sharing is needed, SARM greatly appreciates the continuation of the Targeted Sector Support Funding at $1.5M, money earmarked for capacity building and intermunicipal cooperation.
After the backlog and strain resulting from COVID-19, SARM is very appreciative of the budget focusing on funding and initiatives to improve our overall healthcare system. SARM is pleased with the inclusion of key rural focused initiatives such as physician recruitment, long-term care and funding for more health care programming and services in rural areas.
“Continued investment to reduce rural crime is also welcome news,” said Orb. SARM appreciates the noteworthy investments of $50.7M to create a Provincial Protective Services branch and a $2.5M increase for the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.
With broadband being a service that is essential to the livelihood and economic growth in rural Saskatchewan, SARM hopes the $337M investment in information and communications technology infrastructure will reach rural Saskatchewan to further contribute to a network of reliable and affordable broadband across this province.
Bring an MP to work – Seeking outstanding Saskatchewan projects
Is there a project your firm worked on that showcases innovation or sustainability? Is there one that involved a high level of engineering complexity, addressed environmental and sustainability issues, or that has had a positive social and/or economic benefit to the community? Then share the important story of this project with the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Saskatchewan (ACEC-SK).
A strategic ACEC-SK priority is to raise the profile of the valuable work undertaken by the Saskatchewan consulting engineering industry, to raise awareness of its importance to public health and safety as well as to the economy.
One avenue to do this is to participate in the national “Bring an MP to Work” program. ACEC-SK was very successful in harnessing the power of this program in 2017, and we are exploring how we can do this again.
By taking part, you can showcase your project and raise your firm’s visibility and highlight to elected officials the contribution your team makes to the economy and the social and environmental quality of life of your community. The project can be complete or still in progress.
Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Indigenous community infrastructure initiative financing to support Kahkewistahaw Landing
The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has achieved financial close on a $15.4 million loan to Kahkewistahaw Business Landing Limited Partnership, wholly owned by Kahkewistahaw First Nation (KFN). The CIB’s investment will accelerate the Kahkewistahaw Landing Infrastructure urban reserve project.
The long-term financing is the CIB’s second opportunity under the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative (ICII) and its first investment in Saskatchewan. The First Nations Bank of Canada and Indigenous Services Canada have also contributed to the project.
The CIB’s investment will be used for enabling infrastructure such as road works, utilities and broadband connectivity. The enabling infrastructure will allow KFN to build a multi-use gathering place that will house: a medical centre providing culturally sensitive social services, commercial and office space, a conference centre and hotel and the headquarters for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
Kahkewistahaw Landing will help foster greater self-sufficiency and independence for First Nation businesses and professionals by improving their access to the provincial business capital of Saskatoon. The investment will benefit the KFN community members and the broader Indigenous population that resides in Saskatoon.
“We are proud of this partnership which will help deliver socio-economic benefits to the Kahkewistahaw community in Saskatoon. This investment is the second of many to come under our Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative. We are committed to collaborating with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities to help develop inclusive and sustainable infrastructure,” said Ehren Cory, the CEO of CIB.
“Investments in infrastructure are essential to support Indigenous self-determination and building strong nations,” said the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services. “Our government is committed to working with Indigenous communities to help close infrastructure gaps by investing in clean water, housing, schools and health facilities that will support on-reserve job creation and promote healthy, safe, and prosperous communities.”
- An urban reserve is defined as land within a city that has been purchased on the open market by a First Nation and granted reserve status by the federal government.
- The CIB has a commitment to invest $35 billion over the long-term across its priority sectors, and within that overall commitment, a target to invest $1 billion in partnership with and for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples.
- Through the ICII, CIB’s investment team will invest in community-based projects that provide a service and a direct benefit to an Indigenous community or communities to help close the infrastructure gap.
- The CIB’s investments are subject to approval by its board of directors.