Category Archives: Business

24 pages of local and locally relevant news!

The November 24th issue of the Unity Wilkie Press-Herald is a big one – 24 pages of local and locally relevant news! Check it out for:

  • a special section on the Unity salt plant, construction of which started 70 years ago;
  • an introduction to the candidates running to represent Battlefords-Lloydminster now that long-time MP Gerry Ritz has joined the ranks of the retired (there was an article on Conservative candidate Rosemarie Falk in the November 17th Press-Herald);
  • coverage on the Nov. 16 snowstorm; and
  •  photos of local music students.

And much, much more, including a review of a book written by a former Wilkie resident, hockey reports and RCMP reports. Pick up a copy at the ReddiMart, co-op grocery store or Vi’s Convenience!

Below: the Compass Minerals’ Sifto 150 banner hanging at Unity Western Days in June of this year.

150th anniversary


Saskatchewan’s minimum wage to increase in October

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will increase to $10.50 from $10.20 per hour, effective October 1, 2015. This is the seventh increase in the minimum wage since 2007.

“With Saskatchewan’s economy continuing to grow, the indexation formula used to calculate minimum wage shows that the minimum wage should increase as well,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.

Minimum wage is reviewed yearly using an indexation formula based on an equal weighting of the change of the Consumer Price Index and the Average Hourly Wage for the previous year.  Changes are subject to Cabinet approval and are to be announced by June 30 each year.  These changes would take effect October 1 of the same year.

“This increase will continue to give youth, students and other minimum wage earners more disposable income and improve their standard of living,” Morgan said.  “Announcing the changes in June of each year also provides business owners predictability, allowing businesses to prepare for the changes the following fall.”

There are almost 24,000 minimum wage earners in the Saskatchewan workforce who will benefit from the minimum wage increase.  The Government of Saskatchewan is also assisting minimum wage earners by increasing the basic personal tax exemption, the child tax credit and the Saskatchewan Low Income Tax Credit.

Saskatchewan’s “Buy local” starts tomorrow, June 6

The Government of Saskatchewan would like to encourage all residents to support the proclamation to “buy local” the first Saturday of every month.

“We value the contribution of local businesses in communities across the province, and for that reason, want to encourage Saskatchewan residents to buy local,” Immigration, Jobs, Skills and Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said.  “It’s a gesture of support for all those small businesses that work hard, create jobs and provide us with goods and services year-round.”

There are about 150,000 people employed in small business in Saskatchewan, which is about 30 per cent of the province’s total labour force.  A proclamation to celebrate the small business sector and the importance of buying local came into force on May 11 of this year.

“I would encourage Saskatchewan residents to shop local every day, but particularly on the first Saturday of every month, beginning this week on June 6,” Harrison said.

SaskEnergy warning customers about scam phonecalls

SaskEnergy is warning its customers of a telemarketing scam occurring in various areas of the province.

SaskEnergy has received reports that individuals claiming to be from SaskEnergy are contacting customers threatening disconnection of their natural gas service unless a payment is made. The caller claimed to be a SaskEnergy representative.

The calls are reported to be coming from 1-800-983-1304 and the caller ID reads SaskEnergy (the name or number on your call display may vary).  The caller asks for a payment by prepaid debit or credit card.

This is not a SaskEnergy representative. While SaskEnergy does contact customers via phone from time to time, the corporation never requests payment information over the phone, and does not accept prepaid debit or credit cards.

Anyone who has received calls of this nature should report the call to Phonebusters (the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre) at 1-888-495-8501. If a customer has provided personal financial information, including bank account or credit card information, over the phone, they should report the matter to their local police, as well as immediately contact their financial institution.

If you have questions about your SaskEnergy bill, or are unsure if the person contacting you is from SaskEnergy, ask for the person’s name, and call SaskEnergy back at 1-800-567-8899 to verify the caller.

Business Appreciation Night in Wilkie

Almost a hundred people attended the biennial business appreciation night hosted by the Town of Wilkie at the Saskcan Centre October 21. Mann Farm Equipment Ltd. was named the 2014 Business of the Year.

Mann Farm Equipment opened 28 years ago, when Ken and Gayleen Mann bought Schille Farm Supply in the fall of 1986 and renamed the business Mann Farm Equipment. They opened the doors to their new building a year and a half later, in the spring of 1988.

Mayor David Zeigler, in presenting the award, said, “Since then the business has thrived and prospered with the support of the community. From big tractors and combines to his grandchildren’s broken baby strollers and Tonka trucks, Ken has repaired it all at one time or another.”

Before presenting Ken with a plaque, Zeigler concluded by saying, “Being in business for over 25 years only a few things have remained the same – Ken, Gayleen and Tracie and the commitment to serve the community.”

Mann Farm Equipment - Wilkie's 2014 Business of the YearUp with Ken to receive the award and be recognized by the audience were Gayleen, Tracie and mechanic Andy Winterhalt. MC Maryellen Herzog presented Gayleen with a flower arrangement.

New businesses in Wilkie were also recognized during the evening.

On hand to receive certificates and congratulations were the following businesses.

Al Rasko moved to Wilkie about two and a half years ago, bringing with him 50 years of bookkeeping experience. He mainly works on contract for non-profits and small companies.

Travis Thompson started TNT Plumbing & Heating Ltd. in October last year. Thompson is a journeyman plumber and a licensed gasfitter.

TKW Handyman Services was started by long-time Wilkie resident Thomas Winterhalt in June. Winterhalt will soon be retiring from CP Railway and offers services such as fence building, small repairs and snow removal to the residents of Wilkie and area.

Receiving the certificate on behalf of her sister Sheila Barron was Michelle Rasko. Barron is the owner/operator of Parson’s Parish Bed & Breakfast. Barron opened the B & B, which can accommodate up to 10 people at a time, in June 2013.

Information about TCL, a tree trimming and lawn care business, owned and operated by Mandy and Blaine Klein, and K1 Construction and Renos, owned and operated by Kelly and Kelly Anderson, was also read out, although no one was present to accept the framed certificates.

New business owners in Wilkie, Saskatchewan

Bookkeeper Al Rasko, Michelle Rasko (sister of Sheila Barron, owner/operator of Parson’s Parish B&B), Wilkie Mayor David Zeigler, plumber/gasfitter Travis Thompson and handyman Thomas Winterhalt, all new businesses recognized at the Wilkie Business Appreciation Night October 21, 2014.

Danielle Smith, owner of Split Endz; Rhelda Baschuk, licensed mortgage broker, Walter Geering Jr., Little Walter’s yard maintenance; Kirklan Glassford and Jackson Soanes, Smash Brothers lawn care; and Jenn Winterhalt who does gel nails were also acknowledged from the podium.

The business expansions of the Junction C-Store and Restaurant to include the sale of Esso fuel at their location and of Georgine’s Greenhouse to include fresh flowers and arrangements were recognized.

Herzog welcomed the new owners of the Blue Moon Restaurant to Wilkie. Carey, Lucy and son Dave moved to Canada from China about five years ago, coming to Wilkie in September 2013. During her “welcome to Wilkie” remarks, Herzog noted, “I know I speak for many when I say I am grateful that the Blue Moon burger lives on in Wilkie.”

Before concluding the formal part of the evening with the drawing of door prizes, Herzog also spoke about the sale of Viterra in December, 2012 and the subsequent sale of the agriculture part of the business from Glencore to Agrium, also known as Crop Production Services.

“When major companies like this get bought, there is always a lot of uncertainty regarding potential job losses and loss of service that the previous company provided,” Herzog said. “We were fortunate that there were no job losses and CPS actually added some employees and continues to be a major employer and a vital part of the business sector in the area.”

Next week’s paper

Check out the 2014 edition of Evolution in next week’s Press-Herald. Along with those business stories, find out:

  • the names of ALL of the winners in the co-op/credit union Members Matter Most contests;
  • who is Wilkie’s Business of the Year;
  • how much money was raised at Pink Night this year; and
  • some ideas for family fun at Halloween that will also improve your child’s literacy skills!

Attendees at the Wilkie Business Appreciation Night, October 21, 2014.

Wilkie Business Appreciation Night

Letter to the Editor – re: West Central Pelleting

Thank you for this opportunity to communicate with area residents and particularly residents who are shareholders in West Central Pelleting Ltd. (“WCP”)

As the first person to purchase a share in that fledgling company in 1996, and as a founding member of the steering committee, I believe I made a significant contribution in the formidable startup stage, as well as during the subsequent 19 years when I was honoured to serve as president and chair of the board.

For this reason, I was disappointed when there was no reporting of my resignation effective Feb. 25, 2014 in the recent shareholders’ package. Similarly, there was no reporting of the board’s decision to “terminate without cause” the company’s CEO and general manager Dean Skinner effective April 28, 2014.

In 1996, and again in 2002, I stood before potential investors and asked them to trust their Board of Directors to keep their investment secure until the day when the original investment would be returned to them. I took that promise seriously and throughout my tenure I looked for liquidity for the shareholders. It is with profound regret that I am no longer in a position to keep that promise.

My resignation from the company’s Board of Directors was a cause of deep personal distress as my decision was made following several weeks of isolation and acts of duplicity. Only once before in my affiliation with WCP had I endured such mental anguish and that was as a result of an unfortunate industrial accident in 2003.

My departure was met with stone silence from the other directors, some with whom I had worked for years. However, someone was eager to spread the false rumour that “Margaret left the board because she wanted to sell the company to one of her sons cheap.”

At this point in this letter, I want to remind WCP’s shareholders that Margaret Skinner could not have sold the company even if she had wanted to, and she had never said she wanted to. The sale of the company requires a two-thirds majority vote of the shareholders, in person or by proxy, at a meeting called for the express purpose of considering the sale.

Then April 28, the Board of Directors fired CEO and general manager Dean Skinner, stating he was being “terminated without cause.”

In 2007, when Dean Skinner accepted the position of GM, he took over a company in dire financial shape with an accumulated deficit of $(504,458). During his tenure, the company’s retained earnings grew to $2,176,187 (as reported in the audited 2013/14 financial statements) for an increase over the seven-year period of $2,680,645. As well, Dean’s aptitude for innovation and product development positioned the company as a leader in the Canadian feed industry.

And yet, he was “terminated without cause”. A decision made by the Board of Directors on behalf of the shareholders of West Central Pelleting Ltd.

I was not entitled to submit a farewell message in the 2013/14 shareholder package so I will make this my farewell.

Margaret Skinner, Wilkie

Wilkie Stories file photo of West Central Pelleting plant at Wilkie, Saskatchewan:

West Central Pelleting, Wilkie SK

Reminder: Saskatchewan Youth Looking for Work Must Complete Course

Whether you’re a small business or a farmer wanting to hire some help over the summer months, or the parent of a young teenager who is anxious to find his or her first job, or a teen yourself looking for that first job, the Saskatchewan government wants to remind you about the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course.

Saskatchewan youth aged 14 and 15 must successfully complete The Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) and obtain a certificate in order to work over the summer and during the school year. 

The mandatory job readiness course teaches youth about their rights and responsibilities as it relates to health, safety and employment standards in the workplace.

“Inexperienced young workers have a higher risk of getting hurt on the job and are typically not aware of employer and employee expectations,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.  “This course provides valuable education about the basic rules for health and safety and fair treatment at work.”

All young workers (14 and 15 years old) must provide their employer with proof of age, written consent from a parent or guardian and a copy of their certificate.  Employers are also required to keep a copy of any young worker’s certificate on file.

The current course can be taken online at  You can also learn more about YWRCC at 1-800-667-1783.

Spring highway weight restrictions eased for farmers

The Saskatchewan government is making it easier for farmers to haul their product to awaiting rail cars.

In response to the backlog in grain movement out of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure has taken steps to ease seasonal weight restrictions on some highways.

“Our government is committed to assisting farmers in getting their grain out of the bins and to market as quickly as possible,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris said. “While we will continue to protect our investment in highways during the spring thaw, we will allow for some exceptions to spring road bans to facilitate farmers’ urgent transportation needs.”

Shippers and farmers may apply to Ministry District Offices for permits that will allow for heavier than published spring weights. Circumstances where permits could be granted include roads where ministry staff determine heavier loads will not cause undue road damage, or during colder than seasonal temperatures. Haulers must hold a permit to access the heavier weights. This flexible approach applies only to agricultural commodities.