Cando's Newsfeed

The latest Cando news... 

Current issue

May/June 2023 - read with

Cando Connect May/June 2023

Inside Connect:

2023 Pre-Conference Issue

2023 National Youth Panel

2023 Women In Business Panel

2023 Economic Developer of the Year Finalists

2023 CIBC NIEEF Scholarship Recipient Profiles

Plus much more!





Click here or on image to download the latest edition in PDF file format.
Click here to read this issue online via reader.


Co-operatives First organizes new webinar series

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Writer

Officials with Co-operatives First have come up with a new way to further their mission.

The Saskatoon-based organization promotes and supports business development in rural and Indigenous communities, primarily throughout the four western Canadian provinces.

One of the latest ways Co-operatives First officials plan to get their message out is via the Regional Synergies Webinar Series.

Heather Hallgrimson Throughout this series those who tune in for the free online webinars will hear about business and community leaders that have forged regional partnerships.

Heather Hallgrimson, Co-operatives First’s business development lead.

Co-operatives First hosted the first event in this series on Dec. 8. That event featured representatives from the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP).

“The group we had was super engaged,” said Heather Hallgrimson, who is Co-operatives First’s business development lead. “People had such great questions that they were asking.”

In fact, Hallgrimson said organizers had to scrap the prepared questions they had for the hosts since webinar participants had plenty of their own asks.

SIPP is an alliance of more than 70 public and private sector partners in Greater Victoria. Partners include nine First Nations, 11 local governments, three post-secondary schools, nine industry associations and non-profits and more than 30 employers.
SIPP representatives who spoke at December’s webinar were Elysia Glover and Kear Porttris. Glover is SIPP’s manager of strategic partnerships while Porttris is a SIPP board director and the director of Indigenous relations from QM Environmental.

Trista PewapisconiasCo-operatives First’s webinar series will continue to explore rural and Indigenous partnerships throughout western Canada.

Trista Pewapisconias, Co-operatives First’s Indigenous relations lead.

The goal will be to learn how members of communities and their neighbours join forces to share resources and knowledge. The plan of these partnerships is to have an entire region benefit as opposed to just one community.

Hallgrimson is teaming up with her colleague, Trista Pewapisconias, who is Co-operatives First’s Indigenous relations lead, to organize the webinar series.

Read more: co-operatives-first-launches-webinar-series


Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative celebrates its first project completion – Pikangikum Safe Village

PIKANGIKUM FIRST NATION, ON, Nov. 3, 2021 - The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative (IHII) congratulates all those involved in the development and construction of Pikangikum’s ‘Community Safe House’ – the first IHII project to be completed. The Grand Opening was held in the community in October 2021.

This project will provide residence-based social services to vulnerable members within the community of Pikangikum in Ontario:

  • Pikangikum First Nation has built an eight residential unit 'Community Safe Village' that provides safe, transitional, emergency housing with professional and culturally sensitive support for community members escaping violence. The facility includes six hotel units accessible from a separate entrance for those visiting the community, to generate revenue to support the operation and maintenance of the Community Safe Village.

The Innovation Initiative's Indigenous Steering Committee, composed of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation experts in infrastructure and housing, chose 24 projects out of 342 submissions to participate in the first phase of the Initiative. In the Accelerator phase, project teams received funding and support to develop their ideas.

The Pikangikum project was one of the first projects to be approved to move to the implementation phase and is now the first to complete construction.

IHII aims to support the voices and ideas of Indigenous Peoples directly and complement the Government of Canada's commitment to close current socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. Supporting Indigenous-led innovative approaches and new ideas will help spark changes that can lead to better housing and social and economic conditions. The Initiative is part of the Privy Council Office's Impact Canada family of challenges and initiatives that engage Canadians on developing innovative solutions for their communities.


"The Pikangikum Community Safe Village (Safe House) will be a place of healing and empowerment, a sanctuary for the vulnerable to lessen the effects of generational trauma. The Safe House will change the lives of the people who for too long have been seeking traditional healing and have unfortunately succumbed to the hopelessness and despair that leads to suicides. We thank Chief Dean Owen and his Council for the support they have given us to build this facility…it takes a village."

Vernon Kejick and Kim Sigurdson
Innovators and Project Coordinators for the Pikangikum Community Safe Village


“On behalf of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative (IHII) Indigenous Steering Committee, I congratulate Pikangikum First Nation on the opening of its new Community Safe Village – an innovative and unique project that provides a safe space that combines emergency housing with an adjoining revenue-generating inn for visitors to the community, the latter of which will help offset the cost of operations.”

Dawn Madahbee Leach, Indigenous Steering Committee Member


"It is very exciting that Community Safe Village in Pikangikum First Nation is now opening to serve members of the community. This project brings critically important housing to the community of Pikangikum. This project is just one of the 24 Indigenous housing projects supported through the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative, which provides support for the development of Indigenous housing projects in communities throughout Canada. Cando recognizes the urgent need for safe and healthy housing for Indigenous people as well as the critical role new housing development can have on community economic development."

Ray Wanuch
Executive Director
Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando)

Quick facts

  • The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative is a partnership between Indigenous Services Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and the Privy Council Office's Impact and Innovation Unit.
  • In April 2019, the Government of Canada launched the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative to support innovative Indigenous-led housing ideas.
  • The Initiative is led, from start to finish, by an Indigenous Steering Committee. The Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Initiative, with advice and support from ISC.
  • The project at Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario was approved by the Initiative's Indigenous Steering Committee to move forward into the construction phase in November 2020.
  • The Pikangikum project received just over $195,000 during the Accelerator phase and $1.25 million in implementation funding through IHII.

    Download this release in PDF format

2021 NIEEF Scholarship Recipients

Recipients announced fall 2021...

Katherine Rempel

Katherine Rempel
Métis in Winnipeg
Masters of Development Program in Indigenous Studies
University of Winnipeg

Read Katherine's story!

Delilah MahDelilah Mah
Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan
Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development
Cape Breton University

Read Delilah's story!


Kelly FiddlerKelly Fiddler
Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan
Masters in Business Administration
Cape Breton University

Read Kelly's story!


Nathan CrowNathan Crow
Kainai Nation in Alberta
Indigenous Governance and Business Management
University of Lethbridge.
This Award generously supported by Plains Midstream

Read Nathan's story!




Recovery and Resilience: South Island Prosperity Partnership (BC)

First Nation – Municipal Collaboration – Economic Recovery and Resilience Webinar - March 17, 2021

On March 17th Cando and the CEDI program invited the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP), a coalition of First Nations, municipal governments, businesses, NGOs, chambers of commerce, financial and educational institutions from Vancouver Island join us to share about their experience working together on Reboot – Greater Victoria’s Economic Recovery Plan (2020 – 2022).

As part of the First Nation-Municipal Economic Recovery and Resilience: The Experience of the South Island Prosperity Partnership (BC) webinar, CEDI provided an overview of their newest tool: Economic Recovery and Resilience: A Guide for First Nation–Municipal Collaboration which aims to support First Nations and municipalities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters of any kind together. It establishes a framework, informed by national best practices, for communities who want to begin or strengthen emergency management and economic recovery partnerships. 

Read more:


Co-operatives First officials launches Your Way, Together

Trista Pewapisconias 2Officials with Co-operatives First are gearing up for the start of a major campaign in early March.

Co-operatives First, an organization which promotes and supports business development in rural and Indigenous communities throughout provinces in western Canada, will launch its campaign titled ‘Your Way, Together’ on March 2.

Trista Pewapisconia, the Indigenous Engagement Lead for Co-operatives First, prepared most of the information for the guidebook Your Way, Together.

“Through this campaign, we hope to inspire Indigenous peoples and communities to explore the cooperative model and how it might benefit them,” said Audra Krueger, who is Co-operatives First executive director. “Our goal is to spark a conversation - a conversation with us, perhaps, but more importantly, one by and for Indigenous people.”

The goal of the campaign is to boost awareness and further promote the use within Indigenous communities in western Canada of the co-op model.

But as the name of the campaign suggests, it won’t be the Co-operatives First officials simply dictating how things should be done.

“Co-operation is nothing new to Indigenous peoples, and we see a natural fit between the co-operative model and development opportunities for Indigenous people and communities,” Krueger said.

Opportunities vary throughout different provinces.

“Your Way, Together aims to inspire Indigenous people to explore the model in whatever way makes sense for their communities,” Krueger said.

The campaign will include the release of a guidebook, which will include detailed information on the various opportunities and challenges that will in all likelihood be met while starting a business in Indigenous communities.

“The Your Way, Together guidebook provides a pathway around common barriers, and for the questions it doesn’t answer, we offer suggestions and point to supports along the way,” said Trista Pewapisconias, the Indigenous Engagement Lead for Co-opertives First.

The guidebook attempts to answer questions to many different situations. That alone is a challenging task since First Nations tend to have their own set of rules, bylaws and policies.

Read the full story

Co-operatives First offers assistance for varying ventures

Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op

The Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op, based in Lac La Biche, Alta., includes various artists who promote and sell their goods.

Officials with Co-operatives First pride themselves on doing things a little bit differently.

But as its track record indicates, Co-operatives First, which supports and promotes business development in Indigenous and rural communities throughout western Canada, has a proven way of getting things done.

Just ask those associated with The Food Forest and Learning Centre Co-operative in Viscount, Sask.

Maggie Bluewaters

Or those with the Indigenous Technical Services Co-operative, headquartered in Regina.

Or the Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op, based in Lac La Biche, Alta.

All three of these groups have benefitted immensely in recent years by working alongside representatives of Saskatoon-based Co-operatives First.

The Food Forest and Learning Centre Co-operative was founded by six women from two families. One of its leaders is Maggie Bluewaters, a Sixties Scoop survivor. 

Maggie Bluewaters helped launch the Food Forest and Learning Centre Co-operative in Viscount, Sask.

“She was trying to reclaim her culture and her heritage,” Trista Pewapisconias, Co-operatives First’s Indigenous Relations Lead said of Bluewaters. “They purchased some land which has food, berries and traditional medicines on it now.”

Co-operatives First assisted Bluewaters’ non-profit co-op with its incorporation.

Read the full story

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) -

AGM Video - State of Indigenous Tourism Industry

This video was released December 15th during ITAC's 5th Annual General Meeting and the response was excellent.

The AGM was a major success and we will have out the recording and minutes soon. There was membership voting and attending from across Canada. New ITAC board members were elected and the Executive Committee was confirmed.

Despite recent inaccurate media reporting ITAC now has 99% of the Stimulus Development Grants paid (of the $16.2 million) with the final details being completed this week to ensure all 100% is paid before the end of December as per the agreement.

What we don't want is the importance of urgency to continue stabilizing our Indigenous tourism sector.

Please take 8 minutes to watch ITAC's State of the Industry video.


Keith Henry ITAC

ITAC Response to CBC Coverage

Keith Henry, ITAC President & CEO, responds to recent coverage by the CBC concerning the delivery of ITAC's COVID-19 Stimulus Development Fund program.

Webinar from December 8th in response to the CBC story.

Video Link:


Cando among Indigenous organizations that partnered to create successful taskforce

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

There’s no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on businesses throughout the world in 2020.

But numerous positive stories have also emerged during this challenging year.

For example, a handful of organizations, including the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando), joined forces to create the Indigenous Business Taskforce, in response to federal government’s call to companies to increase their production of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada are the other organizations currently part of the taskforce.

George MorrisonThese organizations then collectively hooked up with Indigenous Services Canada and Acosys Consulting Firm, an Indigenous consulting firm, to launch a database of Indigenous businesses.

The goal was to have some of those Indigenous businesses in the database step up and offer to respond to the country’s massive demands for PPE supplies, including masks and sanitizers, to deal with the pandemic.

One of the companies that has been successful with its procurement bids via the federal government is the First Peoples Group of Enterprises. This company, which has offices in British Columbia and Ontario, offers diverse services, including the development of housing and commercial projects.

But one of its other ventures is manufacturing skin products, including sanitizers.

“Before COVID we probably couldn’t give the stuff away,” said George Morrison, the principal of the company’s First Nations consulting team. “After COVID it was like gold.”

Read more: 




Taskforce Banner

New Indigenous Business Database Assisting with
Economic Recovery During Pandemic

EDMONTON, October 30, 2020 - At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government called all Canadian businesses to action to increase production of personal protective equipment (PPE), to support Canada’s purchases in response to COVID-19.

Since the call was made, several National Indigenous Organizations have partnered up and created a 100% Indigenous-led Taskforce to mobilize Indigenous suppliers, who then responded overwhelmingly to either manufacture supplies such as hand sanitizer, gowns, or masks, or retool their businesses to do so.

In partnership with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) the Indigenous Business Taskforce includes the following National Indigenous Organizations:

  • Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando)

  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

  • Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

  • Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)


‘’It is truly historic to see as many National Indigenous Organizations work together towards a common goal. The magnitude of such a collaboration has never been seen before, and Cando, as contribution agreement holder, is enormously proud to be a part of it.’’

Keith Matthew, President and Cando Director for British-Columbia.


The Indigenous Business Database

With the support of ISC and Cando, Acosys Consulting Services, an Indigenous consulting firm, partnered with Google and SADA Systems, to create a technical solution for a single, national database of verified Indigenous businesses, using Google Cloud.

‘’This Indigenous-led solution will undoubtedly help satisfy Canada’s need for PPE and COVID-related services, especially now that the second wave is well underway. Moreover, it provides Canada with a pathway towards economic reconciliation.’’

David Acco, President of Acosys Consulting Services.

Generating business

The initial release to government buyers with the support of PSPC resulted in more than $5M of business towards registered Indigenous suppliers for purchases of hand sanitizer, disposable masks, and sanitizing wipes to support the reopening of government offices.

AMI Medical Supply Inc. seized the opportunity and was recently awarded a contract to supply 3-ply nonmedical disposal masks to the Government of Canada. Edgar Davis, Executive Director, expressed his gratitude to the Taskforce for its commitment to providing Indigenous-owned businesses greater opportunities for growth and prosperity.

"Now more than ever, we need to support one another and work collaboratively towards a common goal, taking care of our families and our communities."

– Edgar Davis, Executive Director, 
AMI Medical Supply Inc.

Other businesses that won contracts following their registration on the database include Dreamline Canada in Alberta, and First Peoples Group, a company rooted in B.C. & Ontario.

The database is now accessible to any organization looking for prospective Indigenous PPE suppliers and COVID-related services, and can be accessed through PSPC’s PPE supply hub, as well as at

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, two of the biggest challenges we face are keeping people safe and supporting Indigenous businesses. The Indigenous Business Taskforce has risen to the challenge and is doing both. The Government of Canada is proud to have partnered with the Taskforce and we encourage all businesses and communities in need of PPE to consider purchasing it from a supplier or manufacturer in the Indigenous Business Database.  Together, we can fight the pandemic and support people and businesses through this crisis.”

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services.


Registering a business onto the database is completely free, and an integrated concierge service provides assistance to businesses as well as prospective PPE buyers in the process.


Paul Macedo
Communications Officer, Cando
Phone: (780) 990-0303 #236

For registrations:
Justine Germain
Communications Consultant
Acosys Consulting services
514 262-3461


Media Release English Docx

Media Release English PDF

Communiqué taskforce Français Docx

Communiqué taskforce Français PDF


 Taskforce Banner


2020 NIEEF Scholarship Recipients

Tasha BrooksTasha Brooks
Cowichan Tribes in British Columbia
Doctorate of Business Administration,
Royal Roads University in Victoria

Read Tasha's story!




Michelle Francis-DennyMichelle Francis Denny
Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia

Master's of Business Administration,
Simon Fraser University

Read Michelle's story!



Jana SasakamooseJana Sasakamoose
Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan
Business Administration,
First Nations University of Canada

Read Jana's story!





Chase SoosayChase Soosay

Samson Cree Nation in Alberta
MacEwan University, Edmonton

This Award generously supported by Plains Midstream

Read Chase's story!




2020 Cando Conference
October 20-21 & 27-28

Proposed Conference Overview

Cando’s 27th Annual National Conference & AGM, will be held virtually. The continued support from Conference stakeholders provides Cando with the opportunity to host a quality virtual event by delivering tools, resources, training and network opportunities
for Economic Development Officers, members, stakeholders, and friends.

The 2020 virtual Conference will continue to include two showcase panels: The National Youth Panel and the Women in Business Panel. In addition there will with an Agriculture/Agrifoods Panel and a Government Procurement Panel plus a variety of
topical workshops and presentations to empower EDOs and Lands Managers.
This year’s virtual conference promises to again provide delegates with valuable information on working in the field of Indigenous community economic development, as well as to incorporate a unique cultural perspective that is not often seen in pan-Indigenous gatherings. The conference features the following:

Conference Agenda

Conference Pricing


More 2020 Cando Conference Information!


L2L Webinar Series Banner

The L2L Webinar Series launches October 2020!

Successful land management and economic development initiatives are key to building healthy, thriving Indigenous communities. Links to Learning (L2L) is developing a virtual training series that provides a wide range of learning opportunities for Economic Development Officers (EDOs) and Lands Management Officers (LMOs).

Building on its established model from many years of hosting and refining the physical Links to Learning forums held in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba since 2013, Cando has created the L2L Webinar Series to continue the work of building capacity for EDOs and the Indigenous communities they serve.

The goal of Links to Learning has always been to deliver a dynamic technical training forum for EDOs and LMOs to enhance their ability to undertake successful lands and economic development ventures for Indigenous communities. The L2L Webinar Series will focus on knowledge sharing and skills enhancement among practitioners at the community level. Please see list of topics and subject matter to be delivered during the L2L Webinar Series.

The L2L Webinar Series will include weekly scheduled delivery of virtual workshops, presentations and panels led by experts in a range of Indigenous economic and land development related disciplines unique to the region. Each of the four (4) streams will be customized to address issues and learning relevant to the region.

In addition, the L2L Webinar Series will deliver two Accredited Training courses that can be used to earn course credits towards Cando’s TAED Certification or PAED re-Certification.

Check it out current courses being offered here.

Plus there will be opportunities for dialogue and networking. 

Download L2L Webinar Series Poster

Links to Learning Site


Cando currently offering three Accredited Training Courses

Cando offers professional development, and in some regions accredited training, at our Links to Learning events across the country. These conferences are tailored to each region’s EDO preference/expressed need.


National Conference:
Accredited Training towards TAED Certification

Competency 1: Aboriginal Law & Policies
ACED-220 - First Nations Law and Community Economic Development
Instructor: Koren Lightning Earle
Date: October 26, 2020
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm MST

Course Details
ACED 220 will provide the student with knowledge of contemporary First Nations Law and Economic Development. The student will learn about constitutional law, case law, and public policy. This course will discuss the concepts of self-government and also of community development. Analysis will include studying the Indian Act and also studying contemporary economic initiatives. In addition, this course will discuss the communities' control over services, creation of corporations, and economic development. Systemic issues such as historical background, history of treaties, and Canada-First Nation relations will be studied. This course will provide a historical understanding of contemporary events as well as current legal and political developments.


$100 for Course Registration WITH Cando Conference Registration Fee.

Accredited Registration is OPEN!

Register Button

Need assistance? Want to register?
Contact Carmelle Nepoose via email:!

Check it out more courses being offered here.

Starting in 2020!
NIEEF partners with CIBC to create
Indigenous Scholarship Program
delivered by Indspire

This new initiative will provide $44,000 in awards
annually for four (4) years.

Many of the awards provide funds to a student over multiple years.

Application deadlines:
February 1 - August 1 - November 1

More information:



Cando kickstarts pandemic taskforce unifying Indigenous organizations

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

There’s no denying the pandemic has forced people throughout the world to change their lifestyles and ways of thinking.

One of the positives, however, has been the creation of the Indigenous Business COVID-19 Response Taskforce.

This initiative was brought forth by officials from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), the organization that promotes economic development in Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

Besides Cando, the taskforce, supported by Indigenous Services Canada, includes seven other organizations. They are the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Assembly of First Nations, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, National Indigenous Economic Development Board and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

The purpose of the taskforce is to bring together First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations to provide the federal government with one Indigenous business voice during the pandemic.

Keith Matthew

And its goals include providing analysis on Indigenous businesses and communities so the government can assist with proper support as well as assembling the Indigenous supply chain to take part in calls for manufacturing and distribution of medical equipment and supplies.

“It’s historic that these organizations are working together,” said Cando president Keith Matthew said. “In my mind that’s very notable.”

Some of the organizations in the taskforce had talked about working together dating back to early 2019. The thinking then was to combine forces and collectively seek federal funding, instead of doing so individually.

The pandemic and its ensuing impacts heightened the need for some sort of Indigenous taskforce involving various organizations.

“We saw an opportunity to work together and we reached out to the feds,” Matthew said. “We said (Cando would) be happy to act as the catalyst.”

Read more: news/indigenous-business-covid-19-response-taskforce


CEDI Newest Community Graduates

CEDI’s Newest Graduates: Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, the Township of Selwyn, Peterborough Economic Development, County of Peterborough, and Township of Otonabee South Monaghan (ON)

Front Row CHOPS

Merissa Lawrence
Senior Program Officer - CEDI - Cando

Over the course of three years, the Treaty 20 – Peterborough County CEDI partnership consisting of six partners: two First Nations, two townships, a County, and an economic development corporation has accomplished a lot together. Since this partnership has recently graduated, the CEDI team celebrates their accomplishments together and is pleased to share more information on one of their joint community economic development initiatives, an online GIS consultation tool.

Through a collaborative approach, this partnership’s Planning and Consultation Working Group, composed of staff from Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan, Hiawatha First Nation, Township of Selwyn, Curve Lake First Nation and the County of Peterborough, developed an idea for an online GIS consultation tool to assist local planners in determining consultation triggers for Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.  

The goal of the tool is not only to heighten and clearly demonstrate when consultation is required for Planning Act applications, but to also assist with the review capacity of staff of Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations by vetting those applications that do not require consultation.

Signing Accord CHOPSThe need for change in the consultation process was first identified by Julie Kapyrka, Consultation Liaison at Curve Lake First Nation. She shared grievances at the first CEDI Joint Workshop about how the First Nations were not on the County’s Official Plan Technical Advisory Committee and that the Planning Act stated that First Nations were to be consulted only if development was within 1 km of a First Nation. The First Nations wanted to be consulted and engaged on all development within the Treaty 20 area, as all the community partners are within the boundaries of Treaty 20.

The County has since formally extended invitations to Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations to join the County’s Official Plan Technical Advisory Committee and has embraced open discussion on relationship building and development with the CEDI partners.

Read more:

Cando releases 2019 Conference videos...

 26th Annual Conference Hi-Lights Video:

Economic Developer of the Year Awards Video:


National Youth Panel Video:


Women in Business Panel Video:



Resource site provides A to Z details of starting and running a co-op

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Dan Mathews

Starting up a co-op can be a rather onerous challenge.

But a resource site titled Co-op Creator, which was launched earlier this year, is helping make that task a little bit easier.

Dan Matthews, Manager of Strategy and Communications for Co-operatives First

The site, which can be accessed for free at, is managed and maintained by officials from Co-operatives First, a Saskatoon-based organization whose mandate includes to help Indigenous and rural communities prosper.

“In the co-op sector there’s nothing out there like it,” Dan Matthews, the manager of strategy and communications for Co-operatives First said of the Co-op Creator site. “It’s definitely unique.”

The site includes information on whether the co-op model is the best route to take, incorporating, business planning and financing.

“We wanted to have from A to Z how to start and get a co-op up and running,” Matthews said. “That was the driving force behind this.”

Thus far there have been glowing reviews about the site.

“There’s been really a very positive response from the co-op sector and those that have been using it,” Matthews said.

Co-operatives First officials are also pleased with the number of individuals who are accessing their site.

“We probably have 20 users a day,” Matthews said. “It’s a pretty niche thing. Having 20 (visitors) a day is pretty good for now.”

Though there is tons of information available on the site covering various topics, Matthews himself finds a particular resource extremely useful.

Read more: news/co-operatives-first-co-op-creator


Pelican Narros Co-ops First

Co-operatives First representatives are available to meet with those considering the co-op model such as at this community engagement event in Pelican Narrows, Sask.

Western Canadian organization promotes and supports co-op business development

By Sam Laskaris
Contributing Writer

As its name suggests, Co-operatives First continues to be a rather co-operative organization.

The Saskatoon-based organization, now in its third year of existence, provides information for all those who are considering the co-op model.

“A large part of our mandate is education and support,” said Dan Matthews, who is Co-operatives First’s manager of strategy and communications.

The organization’s priority is to increase economic development through promoting and supporting co-op business development in Indigenous communities and rural areas across the country’s four western provinces; British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

But Co-operatives First’s online resources and services are available to those in other parts of the country.

Co-operatives First is funded by the Co-operative Retailing System and Federated Co-operatives Limited.

Co-operatives First works in partnership with various businesses and organizations that are starting up. While officials from these businesses and groups generally have a good grasp of how things work, Co-operatives First representatives are available to provide guidance and various resource tools to assist with any start-up decisions.

Co-operatives First can also provide a relationship manager to focus solely on a group or business that explores the co-op model. After all, starting up a co-op can be an arduous challenge with some confusing processes, which can obviously be made easier with the assistance of those in the know.

Co-operatives First employees are also available to assist with feasibility studies and business plans.

Read more: news/co-operatives-first-supports-business-development


Remembering Cynthia Bertolin

Cynthia Bertolin

It is with profound sadness that Cando has learned of the passing of Cynthia Bertolin.

Cynthia was a key part of the Cando family for many years serving as Cando Executive Director from the late 1990's through 2002.

Cando extends its condolences to Cynthia's family and friends and we wish them comfort and peace during this very difficult time.


Read obituary here.