Cowessess First Nation Annual Report 2016-2018

Page 1



ANNUAL REPORT 2016 - 2018


03 Community Profile 05 A Message From Chief Delorme 06 A Message From the Executive Director 08 Governance Structure 15

Urban Office

17 Education 21


23 Lands 25 Health 27 Employment 29 Sports and Recreation 31


34 Economic Development 37 Financial Report







It is with great honour I bring greetings on behalf of your Council. The Cowessess First Nation is progressing one day at a time and your elected officials continue to find means to provide better deliverables in governance and administration. We strive for team collaboration and are in the progress of transitioning into a more results-based governance structure. One of the many great things Council have been leading is a new governance structure. The colonizing efforts of the Indian Act created a top-down model where there were too many bosses and not enough leaders. As we decolonize, Council is now at the centre of our governance instead of the top. From the centre, Council focuses on good governance by empowering Cowessess First Nation laws and delegating responsibilities to people who are knowledgeable in specific areas. Council focuses on more core areas affecting the Nation like strategic planning to help with engagements and setting overall direction in each area, collectively. The Engagement sessions for each department and Boards are an example of doing better engagement with citizens. The outcome is to find better means to service citizens and community members. This is the first Annual Report and will be continued into the future. Council thrives on transparency and accountability. The Cowessess First Nation Constitution is the foundation of the First Nation’s governance and this Annual Report shall be a required step in fulfilling the Constitution. In this report, you will find progress updates, data, and in some areas, challenges we face collectively. It is a snapshot in time to show you can trust your government and we need your inclusion as we continue to move forward. It is such an honour to be provided a great team as your Chief. We are a diverse team and continually discuss ways to progress, heal, overcoming intergenerational trauma, seek ways to helping in areas where poverty is strong, and address major issues. Your Council address areas with team collaboration and results-based solutions. We together as a First Nation, regardless if one is off-reserve, on reserve, different generation, different last name, we MUST come together, unite to seek solutions and bring ideas to be the greatest Nation we can be.

- Chief Cadmus Delorme 05


The Executive Director’s office is available to all members and can be reached by calling the Band Office.

The Executive Director’s office is responsible for supporting CFN management, staff and Council. our goal is to work with Chief and Council, and employees to ensure the Nation is administered as efficiently and effectively as possible. Leadership has worked diligently to review, revise and update policies putting into place those guidelines for management to follow in order to bring a high level of service to the members. Since 2016, relationships with our government funders have been renewed, and grown stronger. They have regained confidence in CFN to once again deliver objectives, goals, programs and services in the way Cowessess once did. Cowessess is building more relationships through grant and proposal applications with other funding sources. All of this allows for new or enhanced programs and services to be developed. Management has held and continues to hold regular meetings since April 2018. These have created more opportunities for collaboration between departments, resulting in stronger service delivery. We are proud of the work every staff member is doing to create a better future for the Nation. A few highlights of the last year, include:

Supporting the development and addition of community playground structures; Renovating the Education building and the upper floor of the older side of the Band office Obtaining funding to completely renovate the Health Centre Sports, Culture and Recreation Department has been renamed to Sports and Recreation – to focus those two areas specifically, leaving Culture to be addressed through Education and Health with Language rejuvenation; Applying and receiving grant money to develop a work preparation centre with the express goal of helping those on assistance obtain training and employment or the ability to pursue higher education; Increasing the number of proposal and grant applications written by staff.


Short term focuses are on the following:

Providing peer to peer mentoring for management; Reviewing the Nation’s pay grid and benefits structure; Revamping the Operation and Maintenance Department; Creating policy and guidelines to begin Cowessess’ own “Support system for families at risk” in the hopes of reducing child apprehension and over-representation in the judicial system; Supporting proposal and grant application development; and Building the capacity of staff through offering workshops and certificate programs.


OUR GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE The Cowessess First Nation is at a moment in time filled with opportunities Citizens have an inherent right which derives well before first contact with settler society. This is foundational in the Cowessess First Nation Constitution. Cowessess First Nation agreed to Treaty with the Crown 145 years. This Treaty Agreement affirms our responsibility to work with the Crowns Canadian State while assuring the fiduciary obligation for sharing our land is fulfilled. The challenge remains to work with the Canadian State which has attempted to harm and break our spirit as Cowessess First Nation. This challenge is now transitioning back to a true Cowessess First Nation governing body which our ancestors used prior to the Indian Act and help Cowessess First Nation move beyond the Indian Act. There are three outcomes the Cowessess First Nation focuses on: Economic Self-Sustainability, Political Sovereignty, and Cultural Rejuvenation.

Economic Self-Sustainability includes creating jobs, training, education, businesses, utilizing the land, enhancing citizens, taking pride in citizens, less reliant on

Economic Self-sustainability

others, efficiency, and more. Political Sovereignty is accountability, thinking Nationbuilding, empowering the Constitution, moving beyond the Indian Act, empower Cowessess laws, internal dispute resolutions, and more.

Political Sovereignty

Cultural Rejuvenation is language, healing, strengthening kinship, empowering citizens, strengthening the identity of being a Cowessess citizen, strengthening protocols and culture, and more. These outcomes lead to core strategic areas citizens can focus on to have stronger results based impact on the Nation.


Cultural Rejuvenation




There are eight core strategic areas Council focus on behalf of citizens. These Nation Building Portfolios are as follows: Finance & Administration

This committee has elected Council and assures the bylaws and policies are being adhered too and helps citizens and staff


This committee has elected Council and assesses bylaws and

policies to assure are up to date as well fulfills the Constitution Governance Committee


This area will bring speakers to help citizens better understand Inherent & Treaty Rights

what inherent Rights are and what Treaty Rights are

Stewards of the Land


This area assures our land, water, air, animals and more are protected for generations to come

This area will bring language back, help to heal, strengthen the ideology of being from Cowessess First Nation

This area will help with better training, partnerships which Citizen Enhancement

involve empowering citizens strengthening minds of citizens

This area will help with empowering the 2009 Community Plan, Community Planning

update the plan, make the community stronger

This area will help with having plans ready for a Community Capital Projects

Centre, low-pressure water system, lake front property projects and more

These strategic Nation Building Portfolios provide core areas for Council to lead on behalf of citizens and when are ongoing, will help administration, future planning, and help Council provide results based duties to the citizens. There are six foundation areas to assure the three outcomes are fulfilled. 09




Citizens, Council, Administration, and external Stakeholders must better understand and respect The Cowessess First Nation governance.

Good Governance

Citizens, Council, Administration, and external Stakeholders must understand change is not easy and feedback and

Change Management

adjustment is ongoing

Cowessess First Nation has values and these need to be forefront and respected. The Trust in citizens, Council, the governance must be enhanced. A Safe place to ask questions

Values and Trust

and appeal decisions Is good governance.

Planning in many areas is keep to understanding Goals, accomplishments, and areas which need improvement.

Strategic Planning

Planning shall be continually updated

The key to inclusion is good communication. The Annual report, website social media, and more are required to keep all updated. A place to ask questions is also key to good



Having data will result in being able to make better Decisions. This has been a weak areas and with more Data will


have better results.

Having better results in these foundational areas will help with fulfilling the Cowessess First Nation outcomes. Fulfilling the outcomes will result in the First Nation being the greatest Nation we can be. Below is the entire map.





Finance & Administration


Good Governance

Governance Committee

Change Management

Inherent and Treaty Rights

Economic Self-sustainability

Values and Trust

Stewards of the Land

Political Sovereignty

Strategic Planning Decolonization

Cultural Rejuvenation

Citizen Enhancement


Community Planning


Capital Projects








Child & Family Administration


Education Board

Chief & Council

TLE Trustees


Housing Board Ventures Board

Little Child



The Cowessess First Nation has been transitioning to a central delegated governance structure. As Chief and Council are elected to oversee the affairs of the Nation, the core centre is elected officials. At the centre is also the Oversight Committee. Surrounding the centre are areas to fulfilled the best service as well as professionalism.


Chief and Council are central and hold weekly meetings to assure ongoing progress

of the Nation. The Oversight Committee is the first judicial system the Nation has. It will take

complaints and disputes and provide a process to find solutions internally. One Council member sits on the committee and the remaining nine are nonpolitical. Administration is the biggest of them all. The Council oversees the Executive Director

and Director of Finance. The Finance and Admin Committee takes ideas and gives direction to the Senior Executive. Treaty Land Entitlement was settled in 1996. It has two duties, purchase land and

manage investments. One Council member is on Trust along with five non-political. The Ventures Board oversees the business entities of the Nation. Two elected officials

sit on the board along with five non political. The Little Child Committee Development Board oversees gaming on the Nation as

well is the Community Development Committee (CDC), to help with citizen donations. There is one Council member on the Board and five non-political. The Housing Board is not implemented as of yet. It will create a housing authority on

the Nation to oversee the affairs of the homes on Cowessess First Nation. There will be one Council member on the Board and remaining non-political. The Education Board is in yellow as it is not implemented as of yet. It will create an

Education authority on the Nation to oversee the affairs of CCEC on Cowessess First Nation. There will be one Council member on the Board and remaining non-political. The Child Family Services Board is in yellow as it is not implemented as of yet. It will

create a CFS authority to oversee all children in care as well in prevention. There will be one Council member on the Board and remaining non-political.

This governance structure will empower specialists to help make major decisions on behalf of the Nation as well as assure your elected officials remain central to the affairs of the Nation.



July 2019 14

DEPARTMENT OF URBAN SERVICES Jodie Delorme, Director of Urban services From its programming to its physical location, The Urban Office department has undergone extensive changes over the past few years. In 2016 the Urban Office was located at a challenging location which made it inaccessible to our membership. The office itself had no space available to administer programming or host meetings. The department was also severely short-staffed. As of May 2018, the office moved to a bigger and more accessible location. A Program Assistant was also hired to assist with program development. Moving to a larger space opened up many opportunities including allowing rental office space to White Bear First Nation and Cowessess Ventures Ltd. This extra revenue provides funding which is then put back into administering and expanding programs.


With these changes we have been able to provide more programs and services such as:

Youth Volleyball & Skill Development - This program

promotes physical activity, builds self-confidence and prepares kids for competitive environments through tournaments. Drum & Share - This program is held once a week to teach our

youth to sing and drum. They also learn the proper protocols for handling and being around a drum. Cultural Crafts - This program is held once a week and teaches

our youth how to make cultural crafts such as dream catchers, beadwork, mini tipis and more. Knowledge Keeper Gatherings - These Gatherings are for

Seniors to come together and socialize or take part in the planned activities for the day. Summer Youth Day Camps - This camp centers around

cultural recreational and educational activities for youth ages 7 – 12 and is held twice a week. Driver Program - This program assists members with obtaining

the six hours of in-class and in-car training needed to acquire a driver’s license. Medical Transportation Services - This service is provided to

our seniors who require transportation to their medical appointments in Regina. CFN Summer BBQ’s - These BBQ’s are hosted on Cowessess, in

Yorkton, Regina and Saskatoon. This gives our members the opportunity to visit with friends, family and with Chief and Council. Rental Meeting Space - Our new building allows us the extra

space to provide community groups with rental options.



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EDUCATION Sandy Pinay-Schindler, Director of Education The Cowessess Education program, which includes Day Care, Head Start, Nursery, Cowessess Community Education Centre, Bussing and PostSecondary Education, looks much different today than it did just a few short years ago. Significant strides have been made to provide fundamental services for students and employees that were either absent or severely lacking in previous years. For example, the daycare was in dire need of renovations and under-funding meant the postsecondary program was not able to provide the necessary support to our students or provide enhancements to the Cowessess Community Education Centre (CCEC) curriculum.






In March of 2019 the K’awasis daycare was completely renovated to include a new furnace, new flooring and the installation of a wheelchair accessible washroom). K’Awasis Day Care has also undergone program enhancements which include a year plan, support from the Cowessess dietitian and consultation with an Occupational Therapist. Result: A better space for our young people to thrive in.

Our two Head Start employees were nominated for a Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in January of 2019 for their exemplary relationship building and support for young people. Result: Recognition of the dedication and expertise of our staff.



Funding changes have enabled Cowessess Education to better serve the needs of the students. Result: Improving services that were largely absent or failing in 2016, and directing the dollars to the needs identified.

The Cowessess Post-Secondary Education Program now has a dedicated Coordinator who supports Cowessess members through their post-secondary studies. A new PostSecondary Program policy was also released April 2019. Result: A dedicated position that enhanced reporting and accountability.


From 2016 to 2019, there have been program enhancements in academics, sports and extra-curricular and cultural opportunities. Dedicated staff offers highquality programming like Daily 5, balanced literacy, Math Intervention, Individualized program supports and Cree 10. The number of graduates has increased from 2 in 2016 to 9 in 2017, 9 in 2018 and 10 in 2019. Result: Higher enrolment, higher graduation rates, stable teaching staff


Cowessess Bussing has improved through the regulation of S endorsed drivers, centralized support for the bus drivers and stable maintenance processes with Legacy Bussing. SGI accredited bus driver training through ProTec will be available in July of 2019. Result: More skilled bus drivers to safely transport students, improved service delivery to drivers, parents and community.





Individualized programming has been greatly enhanced for students with special learning needs. Result: Happier students, happier families – the services are provided in the community and a student does not have to leave because of absent services (eg. Access to Speech and Language pathologist)

Through the acquisition of a grant through Aboriginal Language Initiative (ALI, Heritage Canada and SICC), Cowessess Education and instructor Darren Okemaysim (FNUniv) led the creation of weekly Cree classes for 11 interested members. Cowessess Health and YTC Prevention funded the development of a community language plan which includes weekly classes, integration of the Cree learners into K’Awasis Day Care and regular Cree classes for Nursery, Head Start and Kindergarten. Result: Teaching students and community members their Indigenous languages in the process of decolonization and revitalizing.


Cowessess has accessed excellent second level services (data, assessment, ELA and Math consultants, professional development) from File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council as well as Information Technology (IT) services from Prairie Valley School Division. Result: better alignment in attaining school goals in literacy, Math and other areas.


Establishment of a Hot Lunch program for all CCEC students in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Result: Better learning environment


Well attended Education Community Engagement sessions were held in March of 2019 (four sessions). Participants engaged in educational dialogue about programming needs, vision, goals, governance, priority teachings and community involvement in all areas of education. Result: Verifying priorities and direction, goals, and policy development.


Establishment of Career Planning and support through the Student Mentor/Coach in 20182019. Result: More than half of the graduates in 2018 and in 2019 went on to post-secondary programming (technical schools, university).


The creation of a Director of Education position in 2017 to lead


the programs resulted in better synthesis between programs and efficiencies in service for example, the Education and Labour


Force Development programs moving to the same department in 2017. This allowed for sharing of resources, better services to members and alignment of programming (ie. Educational


Assistants were identified as a need – so LFD provided the program through SIIT).


The goal moving forward is to create an Education Strategic plan that will consider the holistic, respectful and relevant of Cree/Saulteaux teachings. We also look forward to growing our partnership with Cowessess Health.


























JUSTICE Darlene Taypotat, Director of Justice The Justice Department was re-built after a crippling funding deficit and a lack of resources left it unable to effectively fulfill its mandate. The handling of Alternative Measure files and the Justice Committee could no longer be sustained. A lack of dollars from the government put a strain on Cowessess and had a huge impact on the delivery of services. The Fire Department was left paralyzed with no activity and minimal gear and equipment. The safety of the community was put in jeopardy. Animal Control was bare minimum as well. Today, although challenges still exist, progress has been made in increasing safety and security on the Nation.






Funding from Justice Canada and Sask. Justice

There is still a need for volunteer firefighters and a

was reinstated in 2016 which went a long way inÂ

consistent push to recruit.

covering program costs. Alternative Measure files were transferred to Cowessess from Yorkton Tribal

Continual development of Justice Policies for

Council Justice Unit.

completion. Peacekeepers and Volunteer Firefighter active with community events.

In 2016 a Special Constable was rehired and Peacekeepers positions were filled to provide

Health and Justice staff work together to addressÂ

security and safety for the community. The

concerns and homes identified to receive home

Justice Committee comprised of members from

visits. The goal is to ensure families aren't alone in

both on and off the Nation was re-established.

figuring issues out: healthy homes, healthy

The goal of this committee was to ensure all

community. Disputes, bullying, family issues are all

members had a say about safety concerns

part of the Circle of Care process.

through their representative on the committee. Animal control is active in making sure we are In 2017 $20,000.00 worth of Peacekeeper

respecting our animals and receive the care they

equipment along with Animal control expenses

deserve and we work with a number of local

was purchased with funding from the CDC. In

rescues and charities to administer various

2018 we purchased much-needed Firefighting

programs including vaccinations, re-homing and

equipment with funding from an Enbridge


Community grant. The Peacekeepers and fire trucks are also equipped with medical bags, ADE heart machines and fire extinguishers. This is the first time these trucks have this equipment. The medical bags contain additional medical supplies as well. First time NACAN is carried by our Peacekeepers to address drug overdoses.

Main Justice Department Duties:

Animal control


Controlling sick, unfed and stray animals in the community

First responders

Assist in medical emergencies


Monitoring homes and businesses ensuring they are secure


Traffic accidents 12%










Assaults 4% Vandalism 12%



30 25

Other criminal offences 20% Theft 20%


20 15

Disturbing the peace 12%

10 10

Drunk driving 20%


Traffic accidents 11.3%

Other criminal offences 27.4%

Vandalism 12.9% Drunk driving 1.6% Theft 16.1%


O th er

Th ef t

D ru nk

D is dr tu iv rb in in g g O th th e er p cr ea im ce in al of fe Tr nc af es fic ac ci de nt s


As sa ul ts Va nd al is m


Assaults 29%


LANDS Loretta Delorme, Director of Lands Department The Department of Lands and Resources has made significant strides in the past two years. In 2016 the department was understaffed with two employees to manage all of lands. At the time, only TLE Reserve lands were being taken care of. With Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) years behind on registering permits. Previous years payments were also misdirected and went into suspense as opposed to the Revenue Trust Account. No land improvements were made. If Cowessess wanted to be competitive and receive the potential revenue it should have been earning from our land a lot of work needed to be done to improve the management of land as a whole.

July 2019 23

As of 2019 The Lands department has an office staff of four members and is looking to add one more. Training for staff is also available to obtain their Lands Management certificates at the University of Regina. Through the


development of formal systems and putting structured processes in place, There are now 28 permits on the home reserve with the revenue going to the RTA. We have also developed a Land Use Plan and Zoning bylaw.


As a result of process change, Cowessess has been able to begin increasing land use rates which now brings in more revenue to the First Nation. Permits


being registered. Staff also actively seek and apply for grants in order to help improve our lands which will allow us to receive fair market value for use. The department also continues to manage all Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE)


Reserve in addition to Fee Simple and Original Reserve Lands. In 2018 we applied for the LEDSPE with Indigenous Services Canada and received $15,000 for fencing and $76,000 for grass seed which works out to a rough estimate of 1500-2000 acres. Various land descriptions were improved. Today Cowessess has 74,638 acres TLE Reserve Status, 19,404 Fee Simple, Original Reserve 12,833 acres total of 106,875 acres. 2019 Spring Revenue to Ottawa RTA = $860,911.10 TLE Reserve and Original Reserve (No GST) 2019 Spring revenue to CFN TLE = $193,199.64 (No GST). Our department works with a Treaty Land Entitlement Trustees whose job it is to turn land to reserve status and Investments. The lands department oversees the land management of TLE with reporting to the Trust on leases as they sign the leases and all revenue on fee simple lands goes to the trust.

CFN TLE 18.3%




Original Reserve







Ottawa RTA 81.7%




Angie Tanner, Director of Health

The Department of Health and Social Services has done a considerable amount of rebuilding since 2016. For example, to serve a community of over 500 there were previously only eight staff. Human resources were severely lacking in critical positions. Under new leadership, hiring took place and we went from a staff of eight to 17 almost immediately in order to start bringing back programs and services that are important to the community. Despite being the first independent health facility in Saskatchewan to receive accreditation, that status was revoked during the previous administration so working towards becoming re-accredited has been another important goal. Some of the main priorities of the Health department include:

Annual Programming/Work Plan Health Transformation Jordan’s Principle Emergency Management Community Wellness Program Health Centre Renovations Occupational Health & Safety Program Four Band Health Directors Multi-Year Work Plan 2020-2025 Accreditation Needs Assessment Indian Residential School/Day Scholars/60’s Scoop








We've put together A series of training regimens for the inner champion in you


300 Medical travel reimbursements

Achieved Accreditation in 2019 The relationship between management and staff has


been restored to the point of

Children, and/or their parents,

staff opting out of having the

involved in programs

SGEU union represent them Funding levels have increased Expanded program and service offerings Staff have more control over their programs and not micromanaged

40-50 Monthly clients receive various services

The Health and Social Development department now sets daily, weekly and monthly routines to ensure consistency to improve service delivery to community members. The future consists of completing the next level of Accreditation,

15-20 Youth on average participate in biweekly Youth Group Meetings

Completing A Needs Assessment, developing a multi-year Work Plan, and developing a Health and Social Development Policy and Procedures Manual. We continuously strive to enhance programming with new health initiatives and innovative

Different programs and services offered to the community

thinking. ENDURANCE


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PREPARATION CENTRE Barry Sparvier, Director of Employment The Cowessess Preparation Center exists to fill the gap between eligible workers and labour force needs. The prep centre focuses on four main areas: Skill development Job Readiness Career Assessments Apprenticeships

July 2019 27



SERVICES Target Groups Social Assistance Recipients Individuals Eligible for Employment Insurance Individuals looking for employment

01 02 03 04 05 06

Mentoring Career planning Counseling Training Upgrading Driver Training

07 08 09 10 11 12

Safety tickets Lifeskills/wellness ABE GED Tutoring CPR & First Aid



SPORTS Shelley Lerat, Sports Director Sports plays a key role in the lives of children beyond whatever the score says by the end f the game. In sports children learn about important values that will carry them through life like teamwork, perseverance, and leadership skills. With the majority of the on Nation population being less than 30 years old, having organized extracurricular activities becomes even more important. That is why it was important to develop an engaging youth sports and recreation program since one did not exist before 2016. In a few short years the Cowessess Sports programming has grown to over 10 activities with over 40 active youth participants and we have no plans on slowing down anytime soon.




athletes competed in simmer games in Prince Albert

youth registered for softball



youth registered for participated in the wrestling clinic

Hip Hop Classes Community Slo-pitch Adult Slo-pitch League(Melville) Community golf Twilite Drive-in Swimming/Gym Passes (Yorkton) Youth Softball

Wrestling Clinic Lacrosse Golf Lessons Mini Golf Tournament Youth Basketball Camp Tony Cote Summer Games 4 Band Amazing Race



HOUSING Audrey Delorme, Director of Housing Indigenous Service Canada (ISC)Â and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) are the two main federal organizations that assist First Nations in meeting their on-reserve housing needs. CMHC provides Section 95 assistance with terms and conditions to the First Nation, In return the First Nation agrees to accept the assistance. The assistance that Cowessess First Nation receives under Section 95 is called a mortgage. In return, Cowessess First Nation collects Rent from Tenants. Cowessess First Nation was not eligible for Section 95 between 2013 to 2017 because of the grave financial position the Nation was in. However, since then we have been able to turn the department around and qualify for CMHC assistance.









In 2016, the housing department was able to complete all out-standing paperwork and reports. With a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance, Cowessess

Qualified to apply for Section 95 houses in 2016

First Nation finally qualified to apply for Section 95 houses. October 2017 – Surplus allocation of two Units July 2018 – Regular allocation of four Units October 2018 – an additional two surplus

July 2018 – Regular allocation of four units

Units. Then June 2019 – CFN was allocated four Units

The housing department is responsible for the following:

Flooring - Underlay and fastener, tile, rug or linoleum installation interior wall repairs Windows – Glass replacement Exterior/Interior doors, cupboards and vanities, roof, heating, plumbing, electrical, Emergency Septic pump outs, Emergency Cistern repairs, cleaning & water hauling Well Chlorination CMHC appliances

October 2018 – an additional two surplus Units

Then June 2019 – CFN was allocated

four units





VENTURES Jessica Nixon, CEO Over a few short years, the Cowessess Economic Development department has undergone momentous changes. Due to internal governance deficiencies, EcDev was met with significant financial challenges in 2016. The department was meeting its project management duties in status-quo. However, there was no focus on business development. Since the appointment of its current Chief and Council, the focus and efforts on economic development have been shifted from management to proactive growth as one of many means to becoming a selfsustaining Nation.





Up until 2018, Economic Development was led by Cowessess Chief and Council. This included overseeing operations of eight existing limited partnerships, general partners as well as acting as the interim Board of Directors for most of the Limited Partnerships. This created an opportunity for politics to be involved in the day-to-day business success. As a result, CFN Chief and Council decided to create a separate entity - Cowessess Ventures Ltd. (CVL) with its own Board and CEO bringing the active and inactive partnerships under the same umbrella. An external consulting firm was contracted to assist with execution a separate business entity in May 2018 which ultimately resulted in the establishment of Cowessess Ventures Ltd. As part of the


strategic plan, a professional board was recruited as well in addition to Ventures' current CEO, Jessica Nixon. Today Cowessess Ventures Ltd. is a fully established entity operating under strategic direction, fiduciary oversight, and performance expectations of the CVL Board of Directors. The CVL Board has been structured to be independent of political influence from Chief and Council and is comprised of professional individuals who hold a wealth of expertise in business, legal, government relations, and corporate governance. Since its inception, CVL has been making strides in the direction of economic growth and business development for the benefit of CFN citizen . Cowessess Ventures oversees existing business operations and develop new business pursuits including urban land development, natural

resources, agriculture, businesses in retail, renewable energy, and more. CVL has also made progress in its organizational readiness by developing its operations manual, policies& procedures, organizational mandate, mission, vision and core values. Under the leadership of its CEO, Jessica Nixon, CVL has a fulltime Business Manager and a Summer Student assisting Jessica with smooth operations of not just CVL but also the business entities under the CVL umbrella.

Little Child Holdings Ltd.


Entered into a Fuel Supply Agreement with Esso and co-branded the stores. New pumps and tanks for the stores. Significant increase instore sales!

STANDPOINT Cowessess Wind Development Ltd.


Developed and Commissioned 400kW Solar Add On Project with SaskPower in 2018. Additional 100kW solar to be installed in 2019. 4C Farms Ltd.

Internalized the operations of 4C Farms with hiring of 3 citizens. Secured grants to offset labor costs and equipment grants. Purchased swather/ haybine, combine and 4wd tractor.


Formed a construction company with JV Driver Group and secured road building contract with Enbridge.


Economic Development Land Plan Yorkton - successful engineering and planning to attain successful Concept Plan approval from City of Yorkton 1246 Albert Street – demolished strip mall and planning new development 1236 Albert Street – partnership with provincial and federal government to plan Urban Indigenous Health Centre


Website development and social media presence in addition to improvements at the course (new shingles on clubhouse, hole 7 repari underway, etc) 36


These financial statements are prepared under Public Sector Accounting Board regulations, which aren’t always the easiest regulations for all individuals to understand what the information is telling you, so let’s look at some key data to help you better understand the information from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2018.

Financial Assets

Over the period from 2016 to 2018, financial assets increased from $7,495,428 to $9,536,364. Financial assets include cash, any receivables as well as short term assets such as inventory for resale and investments in Cowessess owned businesses. The increase of just over $2 million over this time has multiple factors. One of the largest factors is the reduction of receivables from $4,008,000 to $715,000. In 2016, because reports were not being furnished, government agencies were withholding payment of a multitude of funds until the reports were received. Once these reports were received in 2016 and 2017, the receivables turned into cash, which was then used to repay large amounts of debt and payables that had accumulated. Also significant is the investment in Nation business entities, which increases from $1,147,557 to $3,535,293 over that time frame. This was largely in part due to the formation of Cowessess Wind Developments. In 2016, the wind project assets were included as a part of the band’s assets, in the tangible capital assets under non-financial assets. When Cowessess Wind Developments was formed, the wind turbine and its related assets were removed from tangible capital assets and transferred to Cowessess Wind Developments, which is an investment. The cash resources have increased significantly over this time as well from $1,933,232 in 2016 to $5,209,978 (including all reserve and trust funds) in 2018. In part this is due to improved cash flow and in part, this also has to do with a significant increase in deferred revenues (as seen in current liabilities) of $1,028,067. Deferred revenues are funds that have been received from funding agencies, but that must be spent in the future, or ultimately must be repaid to the funding agency. Handling these deferred revenues and the associated cash flow is a major challenge. Part of these deferred revenues are in major capital projects which are not handled by the band office. A large part of the ones handled by the band office are mostly due to funds not being spent in 2015 and 2016. Because reports were not being delivered and funds were halted, there were not sufficient funds available to spend what needed to be spent in those years, so there was a future requirement to spend the funds in future years. The 2019-20 fiscal year is the final year we have to spend those funds or the government will recover them. 37


Liabilities are anything that is owed by the Nation to others. While this normally means money is owed in the form of a loan, a line of credit or payables (invoices that the nation has to pay), it also comes in a few other not so obvious forms, such as the previously discussed deferred revenues or the per capita payable, which is what is owed for the next approximately 12 years for citizens that were born at the time of the flood claim settlement but are not yet 18 years old. The Nation has $2.7 million in long term debt as of 2018 (between long term and current portions), however, $2.5 million of that is CMHC debt, which is subsidized. Comparatively speaking, Cowessess has little long term debt, which will enable it to have borrowing capacity for future economic development projects. Liabilities as a whole have decreased from $11,175,000 to $8,531,000 over the two year span. Most notably, the line of credit which was overextended at $657,000 in 2016 and $929,000 in 2015 ($425,000 limit) was not in use in 2018. Payables had been cut nearly in half from $3,992,000 to $2,045,000. Of the payables remaining, half of the amount is owed by the band back to TLE ($1 million in 2018). A repayment program has begun since to reduce that amount by $10,000/month until it is paid in full. Furthermore, in the notes to the financial statements, you will see that the CMHC reserves are underfunded. In 2018, the amount of the underfunding was $1,015,000 as compared to $1,519,000 in 2016.

Line of credit



$0 Liabilities



$ - 657,000

$11,175,000 million



$8,531,000 million







2018 38



Net Financial Assets (Debt)

Cowessess’ financial picture had improved so much over the two-year span, that it went from a net debt of $3,680,000 in 2016 to a net financial asset position of $1,005,000 in 2018. Of this $4,685,000 swing, approximately $3 million is due to the asset transfer to Cowessess Wind Energy and the remainder is purely financial performance. Non-Financial Assets

The non-financial assets include a small amount of prepaid expenses and mostly tangible capital assets. Tangible Capital Assets are any asset the Nation has acquired that will be in use for more than 1 year. This includes all of the heavy equipment used in maintenance, all of the band buildings, roads, the entire water and sewer infrastructure, and the largest item on this list, all of the land acquired through the TLE process. With the exception of the heavy equipment and a few other items, most of the items that comprise the tangible capital assets are not available for sale. The $51.8 million in the tangible capital assets as at the end of fiscal 2018 leads to an accumulated surplus of $52.9 million on the financials, however, only $1.1 million of that $52.9 million is liquid. Statement of Operations

The statement of operations shows the revenues and expenditures for each fiscal year. One of the keys to deciphering the results is where the revenue is coming from and any abnormal expenditures that needs to be explained. For example, the revenues in 2016 are $15.4 million. However, $3.4 million of that is land transferred from TLE to the First Nation. Ignoring such an event, the 2016 revenues were just $12 million, $1.2 million lower than in 2015 and $4.1 million lower than in 2018. The 2018 results are assisted by some major capital revenues and that too has to be considered as to how well a year went, as approval for major capital is the responsibility of ISC and can have major ramifications on the net result. Another item that frequently distorts financial results since the regulations changed in 2010 is amortization and capital additions. Major capital is often not in the control of the Nation. Prior to 2010, if you collected $20 million for a school and spent $20 million, the operating fund, which was on the statement of operations, would expense that spending in the first year. That no longer happens under PSAB regulations. The $20 million comes in as revenue, but 1/40th of the amount is amortized and expensed, leading to a major surplus in the year of construction, but $500,000 deficits every year for the next 39 years after that. For the true picture as to how well Cowessess did, you need to look at the operating surplus or deficit, which is contained in note 17 of the 2018 financials and note 15 of the 2016 financials. At the end of 2016, the unrestricted deficit was $3,669,197 and by 2018, it was reduced to $1,874,966, almost reduced in half. This measure takes away the effect of the TLE and major capital issues identified above and looks strictly at how much was received and spent.




Final Thoughts

Cowessess exited ISC intervention in August 2018 and has been on a strong path to eliminating its debt over time. Strong financial management and strong leadership from Chief and Council have been central to this occurring. However, Cowessess still is not completely out of debt. The Nation still owes significant amounts to TLE, the CMHC replacement reserves and deferred revenues. Long term, Cowessess needs to become self-sufficient, especially through economic development, to continue to thrive and get out of the dependence of the federal government. The dependence on the government has led to many a Nation failing financially, and it is only those who have taken matters into their own hands that have managed to thrive.

Operational revenue in millions

Unrestricted deficit down almost 50%






2018 $1,000,000

Item 6 $0









Cowessess First Nation Annual Report

Contact us:

Cowessess First Nation Band Office 306-696-2520 Toll Free (888) 772-7790 Fax (306) 696-2767 Po Box 100,Cowessess, SK. S0G 5L0 Cowessess Urban Office 306-522-5558 Toll Free (866) 744-0677107A Albert StreetRegina, Sk. S4R 2N3

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