Kitsaki’s 2023 Annual Impact Report

Our 2023 Annual Impact Report is here, showcasing how Kitsaki and its group of companies are creating opportunities through sustainable growth.

This document is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and collaborative spirit that has driven Kitsaki through a remarkable journey of growth and community impact.

You can find the entire report below.

ACLP Goes Full Service

Exploration Hub Opens in La Ronge

Athabasca Catering (ACLP) used downtime in its operations due to reduced uranium production toward the end of the 2010s to invest its efforts expanding its client base outside that sector. When the pandemic shut things down even further, ACLP was already exploring new avenues for expansion, identifying many opportunities for growth.

This macro approach to strategy has served ACLP well as it ramps up to meet increasing mining sector growth fueled by global demand for uranium and rare earth metals. The calendar’s year end will also drive investors to release significant growth and exploration funding. For December 2022, this means a massive increase in the request for ACLP’s services.

“This year is nuts,” says Alan Cole, ACLP’s Managing Director. “We’ll easily meet pre-pandemic averages serving our existing operating clients alone, and we’ll add to that with new clients in exploration by at least 25-30% in 2023.”

ACLP has been investigating new opportunities and markets since 2017, first identifying a gap in services to the exploration segment in northern Saskatchewan.

“We knew the services that segment needed were in our wheelhouse,” says Cole. “Our crews have no problem working at camps and in the bush. Shorter-term contracts also have the flexibility our team members are looking for.”

Opportunities in exploration and growth in the mining sector overall pushed the needle on ACLP’s goals to move toward a full-service operation. They added internet and communications to the established roster of ACLP services in 2019. Tented accommodations followed soon after.

“In 2022, we went full-service,” says Alan. “We took advantage of the opportunity a slower market provided when it came to enhancing our skillset, and also used that space to promote our services.”

New relationships with a helicopter operator and Saskatch- ewan-based drilling company shifted ACLP’s offerings to covering a full complement of related services, moving ACLP to explore warehousing options closer to operations. The new exploration hub in La Ronge opens at the end of 2022.

“Our La Ronge warehouse is ground zero for our operations in the north,” says Cole, “Logistically, it’s an important staging space that helps us maintain and distribute vital equipment to existing and future clients.”

A regional hub with warehousing capacity also enables ACLP to buy bulk and control more aspects of the supply chain, giving them more control on costs, and ability to estimate for the year ahead. The exploration hub helps ACLP and its clients mobilize on various projects, while also generating more opportunities for regional employment.

“One ACLP differentiator is that it’s Indigenous-owned,” says Cole, “We’re also able to provide a range of services without extensive subcontracting. This gives us, and our clients, greater ability to estimate overall project costs and plan for margins that its clients can manage.”

Regional, direct service models are taking prominence in the resource-related sectors across Canada, enabling service providers to plan for more kinks in the supply chain along a products’ journey from manufacturing to operations. This model, and the soon-to-open exploration hub, strengthen ACLP’s buying position.

“No matter how big your buying power is, you can’t control world pricing inflation rates,” says Cole. “It’s about the standard approach to commercial models. ACLP’s estimation is more holistic, build around considerations for flexibility in delivery if the dominant commercial options are unavailable.”

Lots of action needs lots of hands! Find out more about ACLP projects and career opportunities at athabascacatering.com.

Athabasca Catering and First Nations Insurance move into new office space

Athabasca Catering Limited Partnership (ACLP) has moved into renovated facilities on reserve at 103 Packham Avenue.

ACLP managing director Alan Cole says the new, 7,000 square foot office space is “absolutely phenomenal.”

“We’ve spent a significant amount of capital investment in renovating it,” Cole said. “We completely gutted it and redesigned it. We put in modular walls, built a 16-seat boardroom. We have the latest smart technology – like an 80-inch screen you can write on or send emails at the touch of a screen.”
They also made sure to address the needs of their workforce such a breakout area for customers, guests and staff to have their lunch along with a separate kitchen.

Five First Nations with Kitsaki as the managing partner own ACLP. The company provides food service, housekeeping, janitorial, mobilization and camp management services. Cole said they now have the ability and capacity to recruit, hire and retain employees that best serve the company’s strategic goals in diversifying into different business sectors.

Cole said the old space ACLP had occupied for the past nine years just didn’t fit with the company’s future. “It didn’t project the right image of where we need to be in terms of customers, suppliers and vendors and anybody else.” Cole said the new space gives a better representation of the work ACLP does.

“We do a superb job in what we do, but what we couldn’t do was showcase our standards and the image we wanted to project in the old office versus what we can do now. “It’s a fundamental shift for our company,” he said. Credit to the entire ACLP team, led by our Finance Director, Robert Cremers in making this huge move possible.

And with ACLP moving out of their old space last November, First Nations Insurance Services (FNIS) saw an opportunity to also make a move.

FNIS were looking for extra office space in anticipation of expanding its business over the next few years.

Greg Hanson, manager of business development with FNIS, said ACLP’s old space fit the bill and they moved in last December after doing major renovations. “It fits in with our three- to five-year strategy to grow. We need office space for new people to come on board as new hires.” FNIS now has five offices as opposed to two and also has a brand new boardroom.

Hanson said the space is needed because it is essential to add more people to the Saskatoon team. “We have clients closer to Saskatoon than Prince Albert (which also has an office) and we are looking to obtain clients that are in the southern part of the province.” Hanson said.

FNIS provides employee benefits for First Nations organizations and non First Nations organizations. FNIS currently has a total of 14 staff with three in the Saskatoon office. Hanson said he hopes to add another employee in Saskatoon in the near future. The new office is also conducive to walk in traffic. “We have street access and it is easier for our employer’s clients to come in and deal with their claim or ask us questions.”

FNIS has been in business since 1987 and Hanson said they want to make sure the company continues to grow in a sustainable way. And with the new office space they now have room to accommodate that growth. “We don’t want to miss the right opportunity when it comes along.”