This spring marked the launch of a technical services co-operative led by four of the province’s most prominent tribal councils, with the help of Saskatoon-based organization Co-operatives First.
The Saskatchewan First Nations Technical Services Cooperative Ltd., which provides engineering, water treatment and housing inspection services to First Nations’ housing programs, launched in March with tribal councils and individual First Nations as the shareholders.
“They’ve basically helped us (with) their knowledge, their expertise, their subject matter; their experts basically helped amend our bylaws (and) prepare us for our first AGM that we held last week,” said Tim Isnana, SFNTSC’s business manager.
Co-operatives First’s executive director, Audra Krueger, said the organization works with groups with “cool” ideas they want to make a reality. It also works with groups in other western provinces — for example, a group interested in taking over a tree planting business in B.C. called Tree Amigos.
What they do with individual groups is listen rather than talk. The staff has expertise in areas such as incorporation, bylaws and the details of co-op development, “the things that could stop organizations in their tracks,” Krueger said.
“We don’t develop co-ops. We help the groups to develop their co-op. There’s a difference there. We don’t want to come in and develop their co-op; we want to assist them to develop their co-op.”
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