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July / August 2020

Facing Business Opportunities and Challenges During Unusual Times


YO U WO R K H A R D. S O S H O U L D Y O U R T E C H N O L O G Y. At the office, in the field, or working from home, your small business needs a local service provider that knows you and your technology. That’s SaskTel.


July / August 2020


Silvia Martini, Interim CEO Margot Orr, Director of Policy and Government Relations Terry Lawrence, Office Administrator Roz Macala, Office Coordinator Henry Buitrago, Creative Coordinator Ryssa Mae Alarcon, Executive Assistant


Chair Carla Browne - Real Canadian Property Management Professionals Inc. 1st Vice-Chair Jason Aebig - Nutrien 2nd Vice-Chair Graham Snell - Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan CeCe Baptiste - Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) Todd A. Denzin - Nutrien Katrina German - KatrinaGerman.com Joseph Gill - McKercher LLP Juan Godinez - KPMG LLP Tara McKeown - Conexus Credit Union Adam McInnes - Med Hack Enterprises Incorporated Sandra Ribeiro - Canadian Light Source Inc. Heather Ryan - Federated Co-operative Limited (FCL) Tanis Taylor - CCA Consulting Colton Wiegers - Wiegers Financial & Benefits


Editor: Terry Lawrence Layout & Design: Henry Buitrago Contributing Writers: Elizabeth Ireland, Carla Browne, Silvia Martini, Margot Orr Photography: Henry Buitrago

Featured Content 4





New Members




Chamber Happenings


Chair’s Message

Canadian Publications Mail Agreement No. 40052085 Return Undeliverable Addresses to: Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce 110-345 4th Avenue South, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1N3 BUSINESS VOICE is a publication of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

Copyright 2020 Phone: (306) 244-2151 Email: chamber@saskatoonchamber.com Website: www.saskatoonchamber.com Twitter and Instagram: @stoonchamber

Upcoming Chamber events

April & May 2020


Members in the News




Cover Story:

Facing Business Opportunities and Challenges During Unusual Times by Elizabeth Ireland

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) on Providing Learning Opportunities During COVID-19 by Elizabeth Ireland

Chamber Events

A Message from the Chair

Disclaimer: BUSINESS VOICE makes no warranties of any kind, written or implied, regarding the contents of this magazine and expressly disclaims any warranty regarding the accuracy or reliability of informations contain herein. The views contained in the magazine are those of the writers and advertisers: They do not necessarily reflect the view fo the Business Voice magazine and its publisher the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.


JULY / AUGUST 2020 3


CHAMBER EVENTS What issues do YOU think should top our agenda? SUMMIT Sector Roundtables will be held in advance of the SUMMIT with results to be presented on October 14th th th th

September 8 , 9 & 10


Location: TBD

Wednesday, October 14 th Location: TBD

Registration opening soon at: www.saskatoonchamber.com/events


of June 30,


avoid loans and nal s access lity (LEEFF) conventio ing need ncing Faci larger financ been met through loyers. rgency Fina nesses with loyer Eme have not to large emp and certain Large Emp helping busi g the pandemic r) $60 million aimed at s durin of at least financial secto LEEFF is e financing whose need rs (except e will bankruptcies, meant to provide bridgbusinesses in all secto ral government. representativ fede It is rofit sed by the financing. a. A CEEFC instructions. The large for-p relea .gc.c are be ies cdev to form and • Eligible entit nizations. More info est at LEEFF-CUGE@ financial application t and its orga ter their inter non-profit agreement, ing to the applican should regis ts a non-disclosure mation relat Applicants ican rtant infor send appl promptly request impo begin the form will Canada to application FC and ISED . es of CEE tativ ists. condition esen pers tion both repr omic situa more acted by current econ million or will be cont while the in nues of $300 Applicants workforce F will be open annual reve ations or ble are (1) process. LEEF cant oper n to be eligi has signifi irements know e of financing (3) of the requ mor million or • Overview lvency. about $60 in active inso ing lved seek invo (2) subsidy of (4) mot be ID-19 to a Canada and cted by COV d, spanning from S) impa (CEW been e Subsidy eek perio now be who have rgency Wag up to a 12-w CEWS will employers period for available for Canada Eme eligible Canadian le initially qualifying les must CEWS enab employee wages. Whi announced that the charities) of non-profits, 6, 2020, they up to 75% l, May 2020 orations, 2020 to June March, Apri taxable corp loyees’ . March 15, last year (e.g. nerships, paid emp beyond June vidual, part pared to the same time they have already extended (indi s com t prove employer in revenue • Eligible ), AND mus on payroll. nues th. 30% drop back a reve mon rate them 2019 CRA each es are demonst ed to put April, May ply to the encourag worker’s wag vs. March, es must reap lay off workers are revenues 25% of a to ble business remaining s. already had wages. Eligi top up the to employee es who have have the ability to actually paid to a • Business earns, up y or wages nesses who employee on the salar loyer Those busi d entirely 00 that an eligible emp ed to do so. nt will be base es on the first $58,7 unt that an encourag leme amo idy entit ’s of wag ly on the subs up to 75% • An employer the previous overall limit will cover for no is ify idy e qual subs to k. Ther , up to The of $847 a wee may continue h 18 to June 19, 2020 maximum the CEWS Marc qualify for . ation from a may claim that do not of remuner as well as employer. nizations idy of 10% unt portal, $25,000 per • Those orga ry wage subs ness Acco loyee and d tempora ’s My Busi CRA 5 per emp the $137 announce of e through subsidy a maximum nesses can apply onlin • Eligible busi ication. appl ed -bas web







COVID-19: RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS Programs and resources are continually evolving, for the latest updates on the resources available follow:

ÕdFjdù StoonChamber



STRONGER TOGETHER My fingers rest on the keyboard as I ponder a world upended in the blink of an eye. We stand in a time when history is being written. This global pandemic with its comprehensive catastrophic reach is being studied with vigour; vulnerabilities intensely addressed at policy tables, and emerging opportunities stealthily pursued. A time of great change is upon us. Disruption is significant, and competition will be fierce. Resources will increasingly be challenged, and difficult decisions rendered. Facts will demand critical analysis, and meaningful collaboration will be highly valued. Courage is paramount. Principled leadership essential. “Through recovery to thriving” is not idealistic thinking at our Chamber. It is a call to action to re-imagine, regroup and revitalize with integrity, ingenuity and courage. It will be more easily embraced within cultures replete with shared values, a clear vision and a strong drive to purpose and success. This is the commitment of YOUR Chamber. It exists because of you, and for you. The stories of heroism are born in such times as these. Leadership has never been more important, and at our Chamber I see it in action daily – in our dedicated and engaged Board of Directors; our talented, competent staff driven by purpose to serve you; through our many intelligent business and community leaders, and from our passionate government officials who work tirelessly with us to ensure a stable foundation from which economic recovery is not only possible, but probable. And, within you, our valued members who demonstrate courage, generosity, ingenuity, determination, resilience and, unquestionably, a purpose to serve, I thank you. Our members, through this harrowing time, epitomize that which we know to be true: Business Community is Community! The Saskatoon Chamber is this city’s official Board of Trade, since 1903. For the Chambers of Commerce, this means we represent all businesses, and not just one sector. We work together as Chambers of Commerce to build capacity for advocacy on issues critical for your success municipally, provincially, nationally and internationally. In Saskatoon, we work with our valued and respected NSBA, WESK, business improvement districts and other organizations and industry associations toward matters important to all our business community, appreciating that in our respective uniqueness we are stronger together. We exist to build for and with you a strong, responsible, accountable and healthy business environment from which our community can prosper.

Silvia Martini, Interim CEO Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Resilience is an essential character trait of the business community, and we walk this journey together with you. This issue of Business Voice embraces the essence of “pivot”. Amongst other changes you have and will experience with us, this one is a clear message that your safety is paramount, as we deliver to you valued information for your reflection and success. We hope you enjoy our very first full on-line issue. This does not preclude a future printed version; just not now. As we transition to our Chamber office, watch for our upcoming hybrid events, being designed to ensure your safety, engagement and enjoyment. We are excited to work with our new Operational Committees as we engage with members and message: “Keep safe. Live life!” I hope you will find, as I did, within the pages of this magazine that which inspires you to reflect, and build renewed resolve. Our featured stories affirm that success is being realized. I encourage you to value and cultivate diverse intelligence, cultures and opinions; embrace discomfort, but not to get paralyzed by it; nurture a culture of critical and innovative thinking, and explore opportunities, perhaps even when it seems counter-intuitive. The world has changed. We walk it with you.

Silvia Martini, Interim CEO, Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce


JULY / AUGUST 2020 5


NEW MEMBERS DJB Transportation Services Inc. Provide both city and province wide courier and trucking service. Dave Bone / Sherry Bone

119 Gladstone Cres, Saskatoon p: (306) 664-0077 Courier / Delivery Service

Yamin Tin Maung Maung

203 Pichler Lane, Saskatoon p: (306) 229-1045 Health Care - Services / Supplies Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Central Services Provincial government ministry. 1920 Rose St, Regina p: (306) 787-6911 Government Agencies - Provincial / Federal


Innovative Stonecraft Inc. Manufacturer of high-quality stone veneer with the belief that we can bring innovation and new green processes to the Canadian market while still remaining competitive with a home-grown market.

Verolingo Communications Combination of knowledge and experience in communication and translation practice. Represents Véronique Loewen's skills and expertise as a professional translation and communication services provider.

1D-820 51st St E, Saskatoon p: (306) 591-0670 w: www.innovativestonecraft.ca Manufacturers

83 Bain Cres, Saskatoon p: (306) 220-4360 w: www.verolingo.com Consultants – Communications

Parmjot Maan

Dr. Myat Tun Lin Nyo Medical Prof. Corp Medical professional corporation.

Jeanine Singh

(April & May 2020)

Véronique Loewen

Pelmac Stables Starting with a home for their personal horses, the stable facilities were expanded over the years as needed to support their growing client base. Specializes in English riding lessons.

WINTERSTEIGER An international machinery and plant engineering group that has gradually established itself as a leading provider of innovative solutions for customers in technically sophisticated niche markets.

RR 7 Site 707 Box 66, Saskatoon p: (306) 270-6224 w: www.pelmacstables.com Veterinarians / Animal Services AND Pets / Pet Supplies / Pet Training

851 57th St E, Saskatoon p: (855) 216-6537 w: www.wintersteiger.com Agricultural

Zoë MacDougall


Cory Pearson


MEMBER RENEWALS 2 Web Design Inc. A1 Accounting Group LLP AED Advantage Sales Ltd. AgraCity Crop & Nutrition Ltd. Apex Performance Consultants Ltd. Ashmeade & Low Investigations Ltd. Basaraba Services Boyden Canada Brunner's Construction Ltd. Budgetcar Inc. Business Furnishings (Sask) Ltd. Canadian Indoor Air Quality Investigators Clear Cutt Landscaping Dakota Dunes Golf Links LLP Decora Homes Ltd. Dream Development / Homes by Dream Edge Immigration F.E.D. Construction Ltd. Flex ED Government of Saskatchewan SaskBuilds Single Procurement Service Green Villas Construction Ltd.

Horizon Leasing & Financing Ltd. Idylwyld Medical Centre Infinity Management J. Beck Consulting Inc. James Brown JDR Reinforcing Ltd. McDonald Heavy Duty Mechanical Ltd. Meridian Development MING HAI INC. Moon Lake Golf and Country Club Novozymes BioAg Limited Nutrien Wonderhub Palisades Residential Group Penney Murphy and Associates preferred choice Development Strategists Prery Plumbing & Heating Ltd. Progressive Yard Works Ltd. Quality Care Homes Ltd. Quality Cutting Tools Inc. Rayner Agencies Ltd. Realty Executives Saskatoon (Wayne Zuk) Reed Security Saskatchewan Polytechnic Faculty Association

(Paid in April & May 2020)

Saskatoon Cabinet Office Saskatoon Tribal Council-Economic Development & Investments Saskatoon Wildlife Federation SED Systems Shark Club Shawn Murphy Royal Lepage Small Group of Companies Ltd. Smith-Windsor Partnership Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan Strong Roots Consulting Suncatcher Solar Ltd. The Mosaic Company The Rotary Clubs of Saskatoon Trek 2000 Corporation Veeman Law Wayne Watts WESK - Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WMB Management Ltd. zu

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JULY / AUGUST 2020 7


Business in Saskatchewan was very different 100 years ago and a lot has changed in the business world since 1920. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for a unified voice that represents the needs of Saskatchewan business. A “unified voice” was the aim of the 26 delegates who gathered at the McCallum Hill Building on July 21, 1920 and formed the Saskatchewan Associated Boards of Trade. While the organization is now known as the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

(SCC), the mandate hasn’t changed. The SCC continues to be the advocate for the Saskatchewan business community, to ensure that businesses are treated with welldeserved respect and careful consideration. The chamber continues to be a trusted voice for reason and pragmatism for its members and for the business community at large. As part of its centennial celebrations, the SCC released a historical publication, which chronicles the growth of the Saskatchewan

Chamber of Commerce, the key issues over the decades, and the history of the province over the last 100 years. “A Century of Enterprise – Saskatchewan’s Voice of Business Celebrates 100 Years” is supported by The Hill Companies and The Brandt Group of Companies and was written by Bruce Johnstone. Visit www.saskchamber.com

Chamber members save 50%* on domestic and international shipments with UPS® Chamber members, take advantage of the UPS Members Benefit Program and save on a variety of UPS services! You’ll receive 50% off all small package shipments including imports to Canada*, 30% off brokerage entry preparations fees, at least 75% off freight shipments over 150 lb. and more.

CALL 1-800-MEMBERS (1-800-636-2377) M-F, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST VISIT membersbenefitprogram.com/SaskatoonCC *Incentives are based on the daily rates in the UPS Rate and Service Guide. The member understands that actual rates for shipments may vary and be less.




Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty announced the recipients of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit We extend congratulations and appreciation to the 10 outstanding individuals elected to receive the 2020 Saskatchewan Order of Merit, three valued contributors to our Saskatoon business community. On June 5, 2020, Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty announced the 10 recipients of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. These outstanding individuals will be invested at a ceremony held in their honour when public gatherings resume. “I offer my sincere congratulations to the newest recipients of Saskatchewan’s highest honour,” Mirasty said. “The Saskatchewan Order of Merit enables us to celebrate the remarkable individuals, such as this year’s honourees, whose excellence, generosity, and vision have benefited so many people in our province.” The Saskatchewan Order of Merit was established in 1985 to recognize excellence and achievement from outstanding Saskatchewan citizens. They have made significant contributions in areas such as the arts, agriculture, business and industry, community leadership, public service, research and volunteer service.

The Saskatchewan Order of Merit is recognized in the Canadian Honours System. The 2020 recipients are: Dr. Gordon Asmundson, Regina Rigmor Clarke, Shell Lake Sally Elliott, Regina Gerald Grandey, Saskatoon Dr. Donald Greve, Rosthern Dr. Lorne Hepworth, Weyburn and London, ON Pamela Klein, Regina Silvia Martini, Saskatoon Eloise Sitter, Saskatoon Dr. Walter Streelasky, Melville This year’s recipients of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit will join the 241 individuals who have previously been invested. Congratulations to our Interim CEO, Silvia Martini

“Well respected as a business owner and entrepreneur with a strong commitment to integrity in leadership, you contribute to a healthy, vibrant and sustainable Saskatchewan. As a valued member on numerous boards, you assist organizations in effective board governance and leadership excellence.” Honourable Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan


JULY / AUGUST 2020 9



the government of Saskatchewan required the salon to incur costs associated with CAKe. Hair Design, is one of the many continual sanitization and the appropriate salons affected by Covid-19. Closure for PPE equipment.  The loss of income, the 77 days, was completely unexpected.  I am mental fatigue of missing your job, and a commission based salon with 3 employees.  uncertainty of recovery, is a very sobering This forced closure resulted in no income.  I thought for the future.  To be back and doing was fortunate enough to keep my employees what we love albeit in a new way, makes this on payroll by qualifying for the government new normal feel well, normal. CEWS program. The guide lines provided by www.cakehairdesign.ca

CAKe. Hair Design

Hairstyle Inn

To say we are all in this together is true… To say we are all having the same experience or challenges is not… In business you cannot wait for someone to come and save you!! Through Covid 19 we have seen 3 different responses by people in business. Some figure it out and make it happen. Some wait for it to happen, to be told what and how to do it. Some analyze, synthesize, talk, and ultimately do nothing about it. Some choose to make it political and others just choose to get it done. Though some government assistance is needed, will help, 10 BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

and is greatly appreciated, many businesses do not qualify for some of the programs offered. You would think that everyone qualifies based on news reports and headlines touting these programs. This may prove to be challenging for many businesses moving forward. People often say it is just business, to us it is more than just business, it is personal! We found the key to our resilience is relationships. Thank you to our partners, suppliers, our trusted marketing team, business organizations like the Chamber, our team of amazing managers, stylists and our valued guests. Hairstyle Inn Salons has been part of Saskatoon for over 40 years and we have seen and been through a lot. We will continue to thrive and flourish through Covid 19 because of the relationships we have built in our community. www.hairstyleinn.com


Essence Recruitment

COVID-19 forced my business into a hold pattern. I went through every emotion possible, from denial to scared and everything in between. Essence is a professional and executive recruitment company, but hiring was the LAST thing companies were doing. Companies are going to realign, this would affect their employees. I saw this as an opportunity to help SME’s make tough decisions that would affect their team. Which is when I decided to open a new business. PeopleCo helps their clients give exceptional customer experience, helping organizations create a positive workplace with engaged employees. Your business plan starts with your people. www.essencerecruitment.ca

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES TO: bv@saskatoonchamber.com



Honey Bun Café

Navigating Honey Bun Café through COVID-19 was the hardest thing I have ever done as a business owner. Very quickly, we had to change our business model to operate almost entirely online. By limiting our hours, encouraging pre-ordering and focusing on our most popular items, we were able to maintain sales enough to stay relevant. Now that we have opened our doors again, our goal is to create and follow stringent policies and procedures that protect our staff as well as our customers. If we all feel safe, we can work together to grow the economy. www.honeybun.ca

LSM Commodities Ltd

LSM Commodities Ltd is a Canadian Grain Commission bonded grain trading company in Saskatoon. We are a team of grain traders working with in-house logistics and transloading staff. LSM Commodities focuses on bringing more value to the Canadian producers and promote Canadian Agricultural products through their extensive network in

Trades Labour Corporation

Trades Labour Corporation is a reputable employment agency that specializes in recruiting the perfect candidates for specific jobs. Through our 20 years of operating in Canada and the USA, we have customized a number of programs for our clients to help with the busy periods with seasonal and temporary talent to fit those needs. Our most popular programs are: Daily and Weekly Worker Placements – Order labour when you need it.

the global agricultural industry. LSM buys both conventional and certified organic milling quality feed grains from the prairies. We are proud to continue working with Canadian producers through the COVID-19 influences and look forward to helping more people by supplying high quality Canadian grain. www.lsmcommodities.com Temp to Perm Placements – This option is gaining momentum as this allows our clients the opportunity to assess the worker’s habits, attendance, attitude and personality to ensure they are a good fit for your team. TLC can help you take the risk out of hiring with this innovative program Let us save you time and money while you focus on the success and expansion of your business. www.tradeslabour.com


JULY / AUGUST 2020 11


Working for You The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce continues to actively advocate on behalf of its membership. Over the past several months the Chamber, like every other organization, has been impacted by COVID-19 which has resulted in a shift in the way we conduct business. Our staff members have worked remotely, we conducted our committees and meetings online and of course we shifted our events to ADVOCACY FOCUS

online platforms. Throughout this process we have come to develop new ways to engage with our members and continue to provide meaningful services for you. One thing has remained consistent throughout this entire process, our advocacy efforts are as strong as ever as we work with all levels of government, our regional partners and many stakeholders, we strive to build the best business climate in Canada. The Chamber has been advocating for our business community since its inception in 1903. Based upon the varied needs of


our almost 1500 members the Chamber lobbies government officials, conducts media campaigns, prepares policy briefings and research papers to work on your behalf. The last month and a half have held important consultations with ministers, hard conversations with partners on the road to recovery and many meaningful advocacy efforts. Your Chamber wants to make sure that you, our members, know some of the work that we have been doing on behalf of our diverse membership. The Chart below highlights the high-level advocacy files that have been top of mind this spring:



Ensuring a vibrant, safe and welcoming city centre core is essential to the vitality of our community and economic well-being.

• Ongoing consultation with Community partners. • Joint letter sent to Saskatoon City Council with recommendations to address crime and safety. • Letter to discuss crime and safety concerns sent to Ministers Merriman, Reiter, Tell and Deputy Minister Gordon Wyant.

Meeting held with Social Service stakeholders, Minister Merriman and letter signatories to discuss next steps on this file.

To assist tenants with the payment of rent through this economically challenging and uncertain time.

• In early April the Chamber advocated for a provincially funded rent bank where through an application process, funds that would be pooled provincially would then be paid directly to the landlords.

Provincial Rent bank not established but the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance put in place.

To assist in the creation of meaningful procurement policies that are inclusive, provide equal opportunities and straight forward.

SaskBuilds is undergoing a consultation process for their procurement renewal. The following are the Chambers summarized recommendations: • Ensure the inclusion of Indigenous engagement practices and inclusiveness within procurement policies. This includes special considerations for Indigenous-owned businesses as well as organizations that employ large populations of Indigenous communities. • Consult with private industry on best practices for both Indigenous engagement, and minimizing environmental impact. • Ensuring best value criteria is adopted widely with lowest dollar amount not being the main consideration in the tender assessment. • Provide assistance and training to businesses unfamiliar with bidding for provincial government contracts.

As of 25/06/2020 consultation ongoing and draft policy being put forward.

Decrease financial burden placed on our residents and businesses and ensure that the payment can be sustainable when it does come due.

• Recommendations put forward to Saskatoon City Council that tax and utility deferrals be extended with repayment being spread over a 2-3 year period. • Letter Sent to Minister Duncan with the recommendations to extend the deferral period for SaskPower with the repayment to be spread over a 2-3 year period.

Saskatoon City Council set to address the recommendations in a June 29th, 2020 report on economic recovery. SaskPower has extended their deferral period for 18 months.

To Disseminate information to our members and provide feedback on better policy options to move away from "one size fits all” policies for funding.

• Consultation in April and May in regards to problems with the CEWS and CEBA. • Ongoing conversations held with Minister Joly, including a membership ZOOM meeting.

Eligibility expansion granted for CEBA and CEWS.

Provide support for Saskatoon's tourism sector, a sector that boosts our economy by providing jobs and revenue through attraction dollars.

• Joint letter sent on behalf of the Saskatoon Combined Business Group and the Air Services Group asking for support through a plan for the sectors recovery and financial assistance.

Government announces waiving of ground lease rents from March 2020 through to December 2020.

Suspension of Evictions

Recommendations put forward that take into account the need for safe clean housing for tenants and also the livelihoods of Saskatoon's landlords.

• In partnership with the SKLA, SRHBA, RRHBA and SRA the Chamber put forward a letter calling for the end to the current eviction moratorium.

This file is ongoing. We have not seen movement to end the moratorium.

Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

Assist in disseminating information to our members along with relaying information to the government on what is working with the Re-Open Plan and areas for improvement.

• Regular consultations with Minister Harrison on next steps along with focusing on effecting and safe opening procedures.

Consultation is Ongoing.

City Centre Safety & Crime

Creation of a Rent Bank

Crown and Agency Procurement

Utility and Property Tax Deferral

Federal Economic Aid Programs

Support for Canada's Airports

As we continue to address advocacy issues related to COVID-19 the Chamber has struck a COVID-19 Operational Committee. The committee's objective is to successfully see the transition of our members through this most challenging of times and in doing 12 BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

so strengthen our value proposition to our membership and build stronger relationship bridges to stakeholders in the future. As we continue to work through the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan’s phases and into the eventual period of thriving, your Chamber


is dedicated to advocating on your behalf. In the next issue of Business Voice, we will be focusing on advocacy efforts towards the municipal and provincial elections.


Innovate Or Die: The New Normal by Mouneeb Shahid, CEO of 2Web.ca Our world has changed. The past 100 days have put a strain on the global economy our generation has never experienced before. Some have compared COVID-19 to the Spanish flu that infected half a billion people and claimed 10% of those lives from the period of 1918 to 1920. But times today are very different from what they were a century ago. Today we have the privilege of staying "connected" using technology while continuing to practice seclusion and social distancing. Whether imposed forcefully or by will, this new norm will continue to exist for many more months and possibly years. Perhaps we will never go back to the way things were. Expressing a smile while keeping the door open for those who follow us may become a thing of the past. Our behaviours are prone to change, and over an extended period of time, the change becomes part of our habit. Some would argue that we are moving backwards. But after all, we are "super-beings" who have survived by adapting. This shift has forced the business world into three groups; those who have succumbed to the fear and are hopeless, those who have become dormant and have hope, and finally, those who have taken action and pivoted their business to serve the "new normal." Fear can be a psychological driver to change, but if not paid attention to, it is an enemy that locks you into thinking that there is no better way. Businesses in this category will die if they don't change their mindset drastically and take action to adapt to changing customer behaviours.

Those who have become dormant but have hope, need to understand that "Hope" is not a strategy. Collecting subsidy cheques and waiting it out may be comfortable, and would help you survive for now, but it will not improve what is to come when funds dry out. Things may never get back to the normal you knew, and if you are not well prepared to serve your customers on their turf, survival will be history. The group that you want to be in is where you take advantage of the shifts in your customer behaviours and thrive. To be part of the thriving group, you need a drastic change in mindset and the guts to go into unfamiliar territory. It demands you to be in an uncomfortable state of struggle that will pay off if you pivot strategically.

from those who have crossed such paths before. Any spark of imagination can be fueled with data to prove if it is a viable direction, but this does require you to strive for continual innovation. Most importantly, you need an open mind that is willing to think big and start small if that is what it takes. Trends in the past several months have shown massive adoption of digital technologies, some of which have been on the back burner for many transpired to be put in action overnight. Understanding how you can leverage online platforms and build an extension of your business is key to your survival. The next three months will decide how you create an impact over the next three years. Make those count.

There is no set formula to pivot or a set recipe for innovation. You can, however, learn


JULY / AUGUST 2020 13


Facing Business Opportunities and Challenges During Unusual Times by Elizabeth Ireland





Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses – and supply chains – across our province have been hugely disrupted. Fortunately, some Saskatoon-area businesses have found opportunities for innovation and growth during COVID-19 and we can comfortably say that it is not all bad news out there. These are the stories of four such businesses – KeyLeaf Life Sciences, Prairie Pulse, Radouga Distilleries and Three Farmers.


JULY / AUGUST 2020 15


KeyLeaf Life Sciences

KeyLeaf Life Sciences (previously known as POS Biosciences) is a food ingredient and nutraceuticals company based in Saskatoon. Today, KeyLeaf is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation and a world leader in hemp extraction and innovation. KeyLeaf employs approximately 105 people at its Innovation Place production facility and laboratories. KeyLeaf ’s mission is “positively disrupting the food, beverage and nutraceutical ingredient industries, creating massive advantage and value for our partners and useful innovation for consumers.” In April 2019, KeyLeaf won the Chamber’s SABEX Award for Growth & Expansion. Dr. Rick Green is KeyLeaf ’s President of Technology Development. “In terms of supply chains, we can feel the impact of COVID-19. Equipment and parts have been slower to arrive from Europe and the US. Some ingredients are slower to come from China. Across the board, packaging materials are more difficult to source. We have definitely had to adapt and to be more flexible,” says Dr. Green. In terms of day-to-day operations, Dr. Green describes scheduling changes to ensure social distancing, pre-entrance screening procedures



"Positively disrupting the food, beverage and nutraceutical ingredient industries, creating massive advantage and value for our partners and useful innovation for consumers". KeyLeaf's mission

(including temperature checks and health questionnaires) and other safeguards that KeyLeaf has implemented to protect its employees and to maintain a high level of productivity. On the business side, COVID-19 is creating a demand for KeyLeaf ’s ingredients and nutraceuticals aimed at health and wellness markets. “Millennials drive a lot of market demand in terms of nutraceuticals and more nutritious foods. As consumers, they are very aware of health, wellness and sustainability. Millennials have a strong relationship with wellness, and this presents an opportunity for new consumer products and value-added products,” says Dr. Green. www.keyleaf.ca


Prairie Pulse

In business since 1994, Prairie Pulse is a lentil company based in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan. It is a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) that cleans and mills lentils. As well as its specialty crop processing facility, Prairie Pulse focuses on marketing and exporting lentils. The company’s primary product is red split lentils. “COVID-19 has generally not had a negative impact on our business. Thankfully, we have had no issues and continue to operate at full capacity,” says Allan Wagner, CEO and Managing Director of Prairie Pulse. Interestingly, Wagner notes that there was initially an increase in demand for lentils when people were in the “food hoarding phase” of the pandemic. About one-third of the company’s product is sold domestically (Canada and the US) while the remaining two-thirds are exported. Prairie Pulse uses the Chamber’s services to stamp and certify Certificates of Origin for export. A Certificate of Origin is an important, and necessary, international trade document. Currently, Wagner says that the United Nations World Food Programme are “big customers.” Other countries that Prairie Pulse

“COVID-19 has generally not had a negative impact on our business. Thankfully, we have had no issues and continue to operate at full capacity,” Allan Wagner, CEO and Managing Director, Prairie Pulse

exports to include Egypt, Italy, South Africa, Spain and Sri Lanka. He credits a neutral flavour and health benefits for the global popularity of lentils. Wagner also believes that red lentil noodles, as an alternative to pasta, have growth potential in North America. “Lentils are the only grain in the world that continue to see an increase in per capita demand.” Overall, Wagner says that CN Rail strikes and rail-line blockades in British Columbia protesting oil pipelines earlier this year were “way more issues than COVID-19 has been.” www.prairiepulse.com BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

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Radouga Distilleries Inc.

Founded in 2014 by Paul Riben, Radouga Distilleries operates out of Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan. Its craft distillery portfolio includes Provincial Vodka, Provincial Spiced Vodka, along with Apple Pie and Blueberry Pie liqueur. Radouga is the Russian word for rainbow. “Radouga Distilleries is the largest spirits producer (by volume) and by the end of the year we will also have the largest physical distillery space, at 50,000 square feet, in the province of Saskatchewan. We focus on the quality of the liquid and Provincial Vodka has won 17 international awards,” says Lawrence Eberle, Operations Manager. The business initially joined the Chamber in 2018 to facilitate stamping and certifying Certificates of Origin for export. “We now have our employee benefits plan through the Chamber, and we sponsor events. Becoming a Saskatoon Chamber member is a no brainer,” says Eberle. It is probably not a surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Radouga Distilleries in a positive way. “Vodka sales are through the roof in Alberta and Saskatchewan. March, April and May have exceeded the level of sales that we normally



“It has not slowed down. The one issue was getting enough empty bottles for production,” Lawrence Eberle, Operations Manager, Radouga Distilleries

see during the golden quarter – the holiday season of October, November and December,” says Eberle. Eberle clarifies that there is no off-sale store at their Blaine Lake location so there has been less to worry about in terms of social isolation protocols. The business has a total of 14 employees, including one in British Columbia and one in Tennessee. “It has not slowed down. The one issue was getting enough empty bottles for production,” says Eberle. Radouga Distilleries is mindful of addiction issues during these difficult times and supports the Love My Mind Initiative (lovemymind.ca). www.radougadistilleries.com


Three Farmers

Founded in 2011, Three Farmers is known for its roasted chickpeas, pea pops, crunchy little lentils and Camelina oil. The company is also notable for its deep-rooted philosophy of sustainable agriculture and traceability. Three Farmers is somewhat of a family affair – CEO Natasha Vandenhurk and CRO Elysia Vandenhurk are sisters and their father is one of the three farmers. Three Farmers’ popular plant-based protein snacks make up about 75 percent of the company’s business. Plus, their high-quality Camelina oil works easily as a salad oil or a cooking oil, as well as a healthy Omega-3 supplement. Jeff Hodgson is Three Farmers’ Supply Chain Manager. “Business has slowed, primarily due to some channels closing or slowing, such as airports, convenience stores, food services and home goods (TJX Canada). Fingers crossed these customers can get back their momentum again soon,” says Hodgson. Three Farmers has appreciated the government of Canada’s COVID-19 work-sharing program that assists employers in facing cutbacks and avoiding layoffs through an Employment Insurance (EI) fund. Hodgson notes that the equine and pet portion of the company’s Camelina oil business has seen an uptake with the COVID-19

“Business has slowed, primarily due to some channels closing or slowing, such as airports, convenience stores, food services and home goods (TJX Canada). Jeff Hodgson, Supply Chain Manager, Three Farmers

pandemic. “Perhaps people are spending more time with their pets now. As they say – happy horse, happy horse owner.” In early April, Three Farmers pivoted to further expand its online presence through Amazon and the Three Farmers’ e-commerce shop found on their website. “We have pivoted in our business to accommodate accelerated online consumer demand, while ensuring continued support of our brick and mortar customers and strategies,” explains Hodgson. Three Farmers continues to “connect Canadian farmers to consumers by bringing sustainable, quality food products to the marketplace." www.threefarmers.ca


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Saskatoon Women’s Network

The Saskatoon Women’s Network is a growing, networking organization that provides fun, interactive ways for women to connect. Our objectives are: • Provide a meeting place for women. • Establish a network which will support the aspirations of women by allowing them

to share thoughts and exchange ideas; consult other women about careers and common problems women face at home and on the job; exchange information and professional advice; experience companionship and social exchange. • Develop among our membership a strong

network of professional contacts • Carry out its objectives without endorsing any cause or ideology or to realize any profits or monetary gain, and any profits or other accretions to the organization shall be used in promoting its objectives. www.swnsaskatoon.com

Simply Agriculture Solutions Inc. Simply Agriculture Solutions Inc. is a nonprofit farm program delivery organization. The programs we deliver usually have an agricultural, environmental and educational aspect. Programs that we have done in the past include Environmental Farm Plan, Watershed Awareness Initiative and even the pilot Agricultural Plastics Recycling program. Right now we are involved with the Saskatchewan Species at Risk Farm Plan where we work with agricultural producers all across the province to protect and enhance habitat for numerous species at risk. There is both and educational and awareness component in the workshops we hold and also stewardship funding available to participants to carry out projects to the benefit of one or several species at risk on their farm. www.simplyag.com




Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF)

Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) is a farmer-funded, farmerdirected non-profit organization investing in agricultural research. With more than 172 active projects, WGRF is the largest producer funder of crop research in Canada.

With a Board of eighteen farmers from across Western Canada and a staff of seven, WGRF operates out of an office at Innovation Place in Saskatoon. Since 1981, WGRF has invested almost $200 million to support field crop research.



WGRF partners with producer commodity organizations and funding agencies from across Canada to optimize producers’ investments in research. WGRF is nationally recognized for its leadership in technology transfer to agronomists and farmers. Earlier this year, as part of a larger $28 million initiative to increase research capacity, Dr. Maryse Bourgault was announced as the first WGRF-funded Integrated Agronomy Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan. Other capacity investments are planned at universities, public research institutions and producer research organizations across Western Canada. WGRF will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary next year. With a new strategic plan and a refocused vision and mission, WGRF is ready to embark on the next 40 years of funding vital field crop research. www.westerngrains.com

Your Chamber is your: Voice on local, provincial, national and international issues Officially registered Board of Trade Business networking centre Quality access to forums and updates Membership to success!

Visit us at www.saskatoonchamber.com or call 306-244-2151 for more information


JULY / AUGUST 2020 21


Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) on Providing Learning Opportunities During COVID-19 by Elizabeth Ireland


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Educational institutions around the world have pivoted greatly during these uncertain times, moving to online classes, distance learning and hybrid models of learning. CeCe Baptiste, CPA, CMA, ICD.D, is Vice President of Finance at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). Baptiste has previously held roles with the University of Saskatchewan and the First Nations Bank of Canada. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, as well as United Way Centraide Canada. Established in 1976 with a province-wide mandate, SIIT is a First Nations-governed educational institution and one of four credit and diploma granting post-secondary institutions in the province of Saskatchewan. Each year, approximately 2,400 students walk through SIIT’s doors. Baptiste herself is Cree and from Little Pine First Nation. In terms of COVID-19 health and safety-related protocols, Baptiste notes that SIIT falls under the directives of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education. Right now, SIIT is prioritizing how to support Indigenous students dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 on their lives and education. “Our leadership team is currently planning for three scenarios during fall 2020. Classroom learning, online classes or a hybrid of the two scenarios. We are strategizing on how best to be there for our students and to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks,” explains Baptiste. SIIT offers Adult Basic Education (fulfilling grade 12 requirements) and programs such as Educational Assistant, First Nations Childcare, Business, Indigenous Practical Nursing and IT Support Specialist. Popular SIIT trades programs – at the diploma and apprenticeship levels – include Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Carpentry,



Power Engineering and Welding. Baptiste describes trades-related programming as “very successful” and encompassing about 25 percent of SIIT’s students. Plus, for 22 years, the SIIT Joint Training Committee has focused on Indigenous individuals building successful long-term careers in the skilled trades. First as apprentices, then by completing their trade levels and finally by becoming certified Journeypersons. To date, over 100 apprentices have completed training and been certified in Saskatchewan. Since trades programs have smaller class sizes, classroom and practicum time can be staggered. Baptiste says it will be easier for these students to come back on campus while “safety and health remain elevated.” How have programs offered by SIIT been impacted by COVID-19? “This has been a hard time for all students everywhere. Our students are largely First Nations and have some unique needs and face some additional barriers such as poverty, housing, lack of Internet connectivity, transportation and trauma-related issues,” says Baptiste. She also points out that students with young children have the added stressor of childcare considerations or multiple families living in one home. The institution prides itself on “wraparound support” for its students that continues on as they transition into the workforce.


SIIT has nine Career Centres (and satellite sites) located strategically throughout the province, aiming to bridge local employment demands with the Indigenous workforce. Industry-driven advisory committees ensure that training options and case management of clients are geared towards desired skill sets and competencies. These Career Centres serve approximately 6,500 clients a year, resulting in 2,500 employment outcomes and a network of more than 1,100 employers. With a robust delivery of employment services, Career Centres round out the SIIT student life cycle. Adding to SIIT's suite of foundational programming, digiTEAM (Digital Talents Energized and Maximized) is delivered online and aims to blend life skills training with preparation for a digitized learning or employment environment. JobQuest is an online option targeted to mobilize youth into innovative developmental activities using a "gaming" platform ( JobQuest will be available later this summer). Both initiatives involve collaboration with Indigenous communities throughout the province to ensure a full circle of support for participants. SIIT reinforces the value of culture and community, even during this time of distance learning. As part of this ongoing support, SIIT will provide devices (such as iPads) to its Elders so that they can remain connected to students. How can COVID-19 affect the future of our province’s workforce, particularly through an Indigenous economic growth lens? “It is critical that institutions continue to support Indigenous learners and clients throughout their education journey, especially at this time. With our skilled graduates in a variety of sectors, their workforce attachment fuels the economic growth of our province. We have evidence of the success of our wraparound support model in increasing success rates of our graduates,” says Baptiste. Ensuring that this continuum of support remains prominent is a priority for SIIT. According to Baptiste, summer internship opportunities at SIIT has been “set aside” due to COVID-19, but also due to lack of funding.

CeCe Baptiste, CPA, CMA, ICD.D Vice President, Finance Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) CeCe Baptiste, a member of Little Pine First Nation, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree as well as a both the Certified Professional Accountant and Institute of Corporate Director designations. Her career spans senior positions in a variety of sectors, including provincial ministries, banking institutions, crown corporations, and higher education. Ms. Baptiste is a past board member for SaskGaming Corporation, the United Way of Saskatoon and Area, and currently sits on the board of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce as well as United Way Centraide Canada. Her leadership roles have been recognized through various nominations and awards, including YWCA Women of Distinction finalist, CBC’s Top 40 Under 40, FSIN Strength of our Women award in Business, and U of S Canada 150 Citizen award. She devotes her energy to enhancing partnerships between the Indigenous and the non-Indigenous community, through active promotion of leadership at board tables.

SIIT receives provincial funding through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training, as well as federal funding through Indigenous Services Canada. More information on SIIT programs can be found at www.siit.ca. BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

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WE GOT THIS! #YXE When COVID-19 demanded that Saskatonians isolate, lock down and take care, we did.

More than $10,000 has been raised!



CAMPAIGN Derek Watson, or Watty as many of us know him, is no stranger to seeing how our community can rally in times of need. His 22 years in commercial radio has afforded him with many opportunities to partake in community fundraising events. “It has always been a source of inspiration for me and is one of the many reasons I love Saskatoon and raise my family here”, says Watty. In the wake of total lock-down, Watty saw an opportunity to check off a bucket list item, while creating a platform for people to bring hope and pride, as well as an avenue to provide much needed resources to Saskatoon’s most vulnerable. And so, the “We Got This” t-shirt campaign was born. As a city of bridges, Watty found an image of the Broadway Bridge that resonated with him. The bridge offers connection, foundation, support and resiliency, much like this beautiful city we call home. Photographer Scott Prokop was eager to support the initiative and quickly gave rights to insert his image into the words “We Got This” to create the t-shirt design. “I learned about the quick formation of the Saskatoon Inter-Agency Response and the work the Saskatoon Community Foundation and United Way were doing to help provide monetary support to those hit hardest by the pandemic. “I couldn’t think of a better way for our community to help with the urgent need of our citizens”, as he remarked about being nervous that the first 100 shirts he made

wouldn’t sell. But they did, and so have nearly 1000 more! “I was given a firsthand reminder of the strong sense of unity that exists in our city. From those who have purchased shirts and proudly worn them, to the multiple people who have offered a hand in delivering them, there is much strength and good that comes from working together. So often, our minds can easily find all of the wrong in the world and while we know there is so much work to do and so much for us all to learn, turning our minds to unity and positivity is essential for a strong and resilient Saskatoon.” Recognizing the incredible impact that is being felt by everyone through this pandemic, Watty hopes that the legacy of the t-shirts will continue in what we have learned during this time. “There are many people who are vulnerable in our city due to entrenched housing and food insecurity. They need our help. We must not accept division by geography, race, or belief and in this current situation acknowledge that we must not go back to “normal”. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment, one that fits all humanity and Saskatoon is the place to do this.” While final numbers will be calculated in the days to come, over $10,000 has been raised to help our most vulnerable through this pandemic. With the way Saskatoon has stepped up to help each other, it really does prove that ‘We Got This’ and we’ll keep doing the work needed moving forward.


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Chamber Member of the Year – Cody Podhordeski by Elizabeth Ireland

To say Cody Podhordeski is energetic and self-motived is an understatement. The Professional Business Specialist for Conexus Credit Union in Saskatoon, he also dedicates a significant portion of his time to supporting our community as a volunteer. Since June 2018, Podhordeski has volunteered as a project team member and emcee for Chamber on Tap – the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce's largest monthly networking event. He is instantly recognizable at Chamber on Tap events with his distinctive orange jacket and his networking abilities on full display. In fact, it was while moderating the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting this year that Podhordeski found out he was named Member of the Year. Since January 2019, he has also served as the Saskatoon chapter president of Saskatchewan Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (SYPE). SYPE’s vision is to “seek for every young professional and entrepreneur to be connected, inspired and engaged in our community.” SYPE began in 1999 as the Saskatoon Junior Chamber of Commerce and, while it was eventually spun off as its own entity, the organization still maintains an informal relationship with the Chamber 21 years later.

Cody Podhordeski niche segment. His scope includes businesses that follow professional association bylaws and require highly detailed, customized financial strategies and advice.

In his spare time, Podhordeski is passionate about playing competitive paintball, cycling and snowboarding. He describes himself as “an adrenaline junkie and an extreme sports enthusiast.” He also has “a love for men’s fashion and bold styles” that are noticeably key parts Podhordeski grew up on an intensive livestock farm, just east of his personal brand. of Marcelin, Saskatchewan. “Working for my family’s business, I He is the “proud dad” of three young daughters – Nevada, Violet honestly thought 14 to 16 hours was a normal workday. It was only and Aubrey. “My motivation for everything I do is to be proud to raise after my first boss off the farm was consistently sending me home my three girls in Saskatoon. I don’t want them to feel that they have after eight-hour shifts on the sales floor that I realized this wasn’t to leave our province to find opportunities when they get older, as so the case!” he recounts. Other jobs he has had along the way include many of my peers did. I genuinely believe in the potential of the great serving, bartending, trucking, and various sales and marketing roles. minds and motivated people of Saskatchewan, and I want to have a Podhordeski moved to Saskatoon in 2006 to study nursing at part in building that legacy.” At 34, Podhordeski is aging out of his SYPE role (the organization Saskatchewan Polytechnic. While he did not finish his degree, he did requires Board members to be between the ages of 18 and 35). This solidify his interest in business and entrepreneurship during that time. will free up a bit of his time, although one imagines he will continue “I was lucky to have private mentorships where successful individuals to operate at his standard “90 percent capacity.” shared their time, wisdom and advice with me.” Combined with what he learned from his entrepreneurial parents, his passion for business “I’ll absolutely be involved in the Chamber in years to come. There became deeply rooted. is a lot of great work that the Chamber is doing in our community In 2013, Scotiabank hired Podhordeski as a Small Business Advisor. to be proud of – putting on events, connecting and networking with Without a degree, his “life experience checked their qualification key businesses and individuals, and all of its amazing advocacy work. boxes” and he went on to successfully specialize in healthcare in It’s an honor to play a role in those efforts.” the northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba market. In 2017, he was recruited by Conexus Credit Union to build its professional business 28 BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON


THROUGH COVID - From Recovery to Thriving COVID has shifted - everything. A great advantage resides with those who wish to build market share at this time, by staying connected with their target markets. Business Voice offers this opportunity with dedicated target marketing to the greater Saskatoon region.

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To address the sensitivity of COVID transmission, Business Voice has moved to an online format, and with an exciting contemporary look and feel, and multi-platform reach.

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Reach Your Target Audience


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Connect with Influential Chamber Members!

Proceeds from this online magazine are reinvested into the Chamber to support its mission - to build a strong community of preferred choice to live, work and build a successful business.


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Leverage the Chamber’s status in the community as a leader for business issues. Connect with influential Chamber members and non-members alike, with rates offering excellent value. Limited advertising spaces with special COVID Recovery rates! More visibility and greater impact.

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During this time through COVID, it is pulling out all stops for members and the business community to ensure programs, support, advocacy and opportunities are available to members. Issue features will address current needs and stories relating to issues, concerns and success as Saskatchewan opens its economy, and businesses operate in a new ab-normal context. We are at a time of great disruption, and within it comes new opportunity! We are Stronger Together! #strongertogether.


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The Chamber is the voice of business in our community. Working to promote Saskatoon’s economy, businesses, entrepreneurs, all while advocating for positive business policies locally, provincially and federally, A membershipbased organization established as a non-profit, it addresses the needs of its members.

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Distributed directly to the Chamber’s database of over 2,500 members e-mail addresses, Business Voice reaches your target audience. It is also available online on our website (5,168 monthly visitors as of June 2020). The publication and its content are shared on all of our social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with about 3,000 organic followers on each one. Also these posts are boosted (geo-fenced to reach all of Greater Saskatoon area, reaching another 3,000 for a total of 6,000 individual social media exposure.

Limited advertising space! More visibility and greater impact. Preferred COVID Recovery Rates Reserve your preferred spot today Published by:


110-345 4th Ave South, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1N3 • Phone: 306-244-2151 www.saskatoonchamber.com • Email: bv@saskatoonchamber.com BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

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Chamber Happenings CHAMBER



The Chamber Peer Power CHAMBER Series is an opportunity for Chamber members to connect with other members to share knowledge and learn together. SERIES Workshop attendees will get together in a classroom-style event where CHAMBER the presenter, will deliver a dynamite presentation that participants will gain immediate value from.







(Through a webcam)


Chamber Happenings

(Through a webcam)

Virtual networking, virtual business card trading, online and not-so-virtual drinks made the online versions of Chamber on Tap a success!


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Chamber Happenings

Our ZOOM approach to a virtual AGM was amazing! Thanks to all the participants for making this year's AGM an event to remember!



(Through a webcam)


Chamber Happenings

(Through a webcam)

In his speech, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri discussed about what economic growth and urbanization means for Canadian cities and the housing market.


JULY / AUGUST 2020 33



We are committed to ensuring that our members receive the recognition they deserve, especially during these times. We highlighted some of our members in all of our social media.

Page 39 After Sandra Ribeiro’s name … please put “Director”




A Virtual Q&A with Tourism Saskatoon’s Todd Brandt by Elizabeth Ireland

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, to limit the spread of coronavirus, more than 200 countries and territories imposed measures to restrict people from crossing borders. While borders are gradually opening again, the pandemic’s impact on global travel and tourism has been massive and the city of Saskatoon has suffered as well. Todd Brandt is President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon. He has been in this leadership role for the past 22 and a half years. Brandt was scheduled to retire this year in early July, but with the industry Todd Brandt, President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon chaos created by COVID-19 he will be staying on until the fall before beginning his “next phase of life.” rescheduled for 2021. So is theatre programming for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. Cancelling the Junos in March was a very tough How is Tourism Saskatoon pivoting during COVID-19 and decision – the volunteer training had already taken place and the event addressing a huge disruption in the industry? was so close to happening.” “As an organization, we’ve been working from home for several months and we had to layoff six staff. Our downtown office will be What have been some of the highlights of your past 22 and a half re-opening for employees and the public in early July. Most of our years at Tourism Saskatoon? staff will be back. Globally, the visitor and tourism sectors have been “Working here, no two days are the same. Some highlights for me are the most heavily impacted. The majority of Tourism Saskatoon’s own the 2007 Junos, the 2010 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, funding is through hotel-based visitor levies.” the Brier curling championships, and all the big conferences and events that have brought our city national and international exposure. We Who is the most impacted by a decline in tourism? have also built our brand with great coverage in the New York Times, “In Saskatoon, approximately 16,000 people are employed in the USA Today and Vogue Magazine.” visitor-related economy. At our hotels, about 85 percent of staff have been laid off and there is a lot of anxiety. The hospitality sector What do you anticipate for the future of tourism in Saskatoon? employs many young people, new Canadians and Indigenous people “This is a beautiful city to market. We have a great culture and – groups that are already vulnerable. I know there are some businesses sophistication around hosting major events and conferences. Marketing that will not come out of this intact, despite federal and provincial needs to be done now to secure the big events that are planned two aid. In terms of air travel, right now there are thousands of aircraft to five years in advance. Historically, when travel and tourism are hit sitting on the ground.” hard, the rebound is substantial due to pent up demand. I encourage Saskatchewan residents to explore our city and our province. Have What is happening with the city’s main tourist attractions? some new experiences to help in the recovery of our industry.” “Hopefully, some of the city’s main attractions will reopen during the second part of phase four of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan. Tourism Saskatoon’s offices are reopening on July 6. This will include the Remai Modern and the Western Development Museum. Wanuskewin Heritage Park will stay closed until the fall Tourism Saskatoon due to renovations. Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo is included 101-202 Fourth Avenue North in the first part of phase four.” Saskatoon, SK S7K 0K1 306-242-1206 or toll-free 1-800-567-2444 What events have been rescheduled for 2021? www.tourismsaskatoon.com “Virtually all spring to fall 2020 events are now cancelled. Rock the River and the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival are both BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

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What Better Place for Agriculture to Meet Technology? by Elizabeth Ireland

Jordan Dutchak, Executive Director of Co.Labs, predicts a two-year recovery from the economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the upside, he believes that the “impossible is possible right now” with faster decision-making and policy creation by provincial and federal government stakeholders, in terms of actions that can benefit innovation-based businesses. “The needs of a tech start-up and other innovation-based businesses are unique and nuanced compared to, say, a hospitality or manufacturing company. For instance, taking on debt is unaligned with the structure of a tech start-up. We need to keep asking, what is affecting our Co.Labs companies in this very different economic environment?” says Dutchak. Relating to this issue of Business Voice, Dutchak reinforces that Saskatoon is the perfect place for agriculture and technology to join forces. He has three Co.Labs ag-tech companies on his radar. First is Cropper, a phenotyping software platform that was

accepted into the fall 2019 Co.Launch Cohort. Cropper went on to win $10,000 at the Co.Launch Finale hosted in December 2019. "Cropper is a forthcoming start-up providing UAV image analysis solutions for the global seed sector. Scientists will use our SaaS product to gain faster, cheaper and better insights about their crop varieties. Co.Labs helped redirect our efforts from research to market-ready software. Cropper would not succeed without the real-world business perspective provided by the Co.Labs community," says William van der Kamp, Founder and CEO of Cropper and a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan’s computer science program. Next is Croptimistic, a company that is part of Co.Labs’ Co.Lead program – a scale-up tech accelerator that supports fast-growing start-ups in increasing revenues, attracting sophisticated investment and growing their teams.

“Croptimistic is a global leader in soil-based variable-rate mapping within ag-tech. Our patented SWAT (Soil, Water and Topography) MAPS process is active on over a million acres, helping farmers and their consultants better understand field variability in order to optimize crop inputs and profitability,” says Shawn Graham, CEO of Croptimistic Technology Inc. According to Cory Willness, President of Croptimistic, “Co.Labs assists us via shared workspace along with introductions into a network of ag-tech capital as we engage to scale our product globally.” The company’s websites are croprecords.com and swatmaps. com. The third ag-tech company on the Co.Labs roster is FarmTRX. Rick Casson is Product Design Lead and one of the co-founders of what would become FarmTRX (farmtrx.com). “FarmTRX is helping farmers better understand their crops by building affordable sensors and data collection technologies for retrofitting onto grain harvesters, as well as advanced mapping apps to process and visualize the collected data in an easily understood and actionable way. Co.Labs has been incredibly supportive of FarmTRX by providing access to knowledgeable mentors, an amazing workspace, and an incredibly supportive community,” says Casson. Co.Labs is Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator and has served as a creative collaboration space for 111 tech start-ups in its first 38 months of operation. Co.Labs is funded by the provincial and federal government through Innovation Saskatchewan and Western Economic Diversification Canada. Co.Labs Innovation Place 229-116 Research Drive, Saskatoon www.co-labs.ca | @colabsyxe



Real benefits for your business Request a quote by calling 306.808.2280 OR

visit Employee Benefits with a Difference.


JULY / AUGUST 2020 37


A Message f rom the Chair

The Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce has also gone through great change and we are continuing to keep the needs of our members in the forefront. With the addition of our new Interim CEO, Silvia Martini we are maneuvering through a time of rebuild and hope for the Saskatoon business community. The energy and momentum within our Board and staff is constantly instilling confidence that I hope you all can feel. Our provincial and national reach to programs and support systems for our members is a reminder of the reasons this organization was formed. The original purpose of the Chamber is the same purpose today and that is to promote the general business interests of our members and foster the growth of the Saskatoon Business Community. As we work with other business organizations in

Saskatoon and Saskatchewan along with government at all levels it is important that we are taking your voices with us.

There has a been a deep awareness of the need to support local and ensuring that we take care of each other where we can.


Carla Browne, Chair Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce


Image: Gina’s Portraits

In June 30, the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce announced the official resignation of our past Chair Chris Sicotte as he pursues his candidacy for Ward 3 City Councillor in the 2020 Saskatoon general election. Chris has served the Chamber for six years and has made numerous contributions to the Chamber as a Director and then Chair of the Board. Chris has been an excellent leader for our organization, he has been instrumental in the establishment of our Indigenous Economic Growth Committee and continually works to foster partnerships with our Indigenous and Non-Indigenous business community in the name Saskatoon Chamber Board Chair Carla Browne of economic reconciliation. Summer in Saskatoon is a special time and As we move and adjust, I assure you that even though we will not see the large events our goals and mission are a constant in these we normally see throughout the city we uncertain times. I encourage you all as part encourage you to get out and enjoy the city of the Saskatoon Business Community to and realize how many businesses are there engage with the Chamber. We want to for all of us – lets show them our support! hear from you! Follow along through our social media channels to stay up to date on On behalf of the Board it is an honor what is happening. Join in on some of our to serve you for this year as Chair and upcoming events which although they are even though we are faced with a year of going to be presented a bit different will unprecedented challenges I truly look forward still leave you feeling like you are part of a to many successes and new adventures. community that cares and wants to share in your business journey. Feel free to call or email – it is important that all members Sincerely, have a voice not just now but always! Most importantly, remember to take Carla Browne, care of yourselves and those close to you. Chair Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

Well it has been exactly one month since the AGM where I was honored to be sworn in by our Worship, Mayor Charlie Clark. As I write this message we are moving through our 3rd month of COVID-19 and into the 4th phase of the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan. We are reminded each day that so many of the Saskatoon and area businesses will forever be changed. COVID-19 is testing the stamina of all business organizations to preserve, to endure and to be resilient. Through the reopen plan we have seen some businesses reopen, some close their doors forever and some thrive as new opportunity presented itself. This crisis has brought about so many firsts but as a whole has made us realize so much about ourselves. There has a been a deep awareness of the need to support local and ensuring that we take care of each other where we can. Some of these realizations have been in my mind a blessing within a pandemic.

Carla Browne is the Chair of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and the Owner of Real Canadian Property Management Professionals Inc.


Carla Browne

Jason Aebig

Graham Snell

CeCe Baptiste

Chair Real Canadian Property Management Professionals Inc.

First Vice-Chair Nutrien

Second Vice-Chair Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan

Director Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT)

Todd Denzin

Katrina German Director KatrinaGerman.com

Joseph Gill

Director McKercher LLP

Juan Godinez

Tara McKeown

Dr. Adam McInnes

Sandra Ribeiro

Heather Ryan

Director Nutrien

Director Conexus Credit Union

Tanis Taylor

Director CCA Consulting

Director Med Hack Enterprises Incorporated

Colton Wiegers Director Wiegers Financial & Benefits

Director Canadian Light Source Inc.

Director KPMG LLP

Director Federated Co-operative Limited (FCL)

Chamber Board of Directors Working for You! BUSINESSVOICE SASKATOON

JULY / AUGUST 2020 39


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Our local experts will work directly with you to understand your business, set goals and implement a thoughtful marketing strategy to help restart and grow your business. CONTENT










Profile for Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

Business Voice - July / August 2020  

Resilience is an essential character trait of the business community, and we walk this journey together with you. This issue of Business Voi...

Business Voice - July / August 2020  

Resilience is an essential character trait of the business community, and we walk this journey together with you. This issue of Business Voi...

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