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The pre-Conference issue of Cando Connect is here...

September / October 2019 - read with

Inside Connect:

Cando National Conference

Women in Business Panel

National Youth Panel

Economic Developer of the Year Award Finalists

Mining Certification Program:
NORCAT Underground Facility Tour

Atlantic Links to Learning

CEDI Terms of Reference

2018 Cando Conference
Grand Prize Winner

Click here or on image to download the latest edition in PDF file format.

Click here to read this issue online via reader.


Six partners sign historic Friendship Accord in southeastern Ontario

Accord signing

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

A pair of First Nations from central Ontario were among a half dozen partners who joined forces to sign a Friendship Accord.

Laurie Carr and Emily Whetung, the chiefs of the Hiawatha First Nation and the Curve Lake First Nation, respectively, were two of the individuals who signed the accord called Ezhi-Wiijikiwendiyang.

In Anishanaabemowin this term roughly translates into ‘How we are friends.’

The signing of the accord was held on Nov. 2 at the Lang Pioneer Village in Keene, Ont., located near Peterborough.

LTG with ChiefsAlso signing the agreement were representatives from Selwyn Township, Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan, the County of Peterborough and the Board of Peterborough and Kawarthas Economic Development.

“This is not a treaty but a new establishment of our working relationships with all levels of government,” Carr said. “We value building relationships with all levels of government.”

By signing the accord, the partners agreed to work collaboratively on various fronts, including economic development ventures.

“We can come up with some projects that we might not have come up on our own,” Carr said.
Whetung echoed this sentiment.

“It’s about our communities working together, politically and administratively, for the betterment of our communities,” she said.

Though the Friendship Accord was officially signed in early November 2019, the six partners have been meeting frequently since 2016 to build stronger relationships and discuss projects that would benefit all.

Read more!

Congratulations to the 2019 Economic Developer of the Year Finalists!

The winners will be selected by the Cando Conference delegates after presentations from each of the finalists. Winners will be announced at the Presidents Dinner the evening of October 30th.

Individual EDO Category

Community Category

Indigenous Private Sector Business Category

2019 Women In Business Panel

Each year Cando selects four panelists to form the Women in Business Panel, one of the signature events at the Cando Annual National Conference which will be held in Gatineau, QC from October 27-30, 2019. Through this annual panel, Cando highlights and recognizes the significant impact that Indigenous women entrepreneurs have on the Canadian economy.  Four panelists from across Canada will share their experiences of being a woman in business.

2019 Women In Business Panel


Victoria LaBilloisVictoria LaBillois
Wejipeg Excavation

A Mi’gmaq entrepreneur from Listuguj, Quebec, Victoria owns Wejipeg Excavation; owns rental properties; co-owns Wejuseg Construction, and is an active partner in other joint ventures. Victoria served the Indigenous public service, working at the Band, regional and national levels.  She holds both a BA and MBA from the UNB Fredericton. Coach to many, Victoria serves as mentor for the Coady International Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership and New Brunswick’s JEDI Aboriginal Business Accelerator Program. Victoria is bilingual and actively learning Mi’gmaq. Victoria is the go-to MC for community events, and member of a woman’s hand drum group, sharing ancestral songs. A proud alumnus of the 2017 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference; Victoria spent time examining Northern Ontario issues and exploring relationships between leadership and community. Victoria currently serves as a board member of the Listuguj economic development commission, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Business Corporation and the National Indigenous Economic Development Board.

Read Victoria's Story


Jolene JohnsonJolene Johnson
Wabanaki Maple

Jolene Johnson (Previously Laskey) is the CEO & President of Wabanaki Maple. Wabanaki Maple is a 100% Indigenous Female owned company with a unique set of barrel aged maple syrup products. Jolene has an extensive experience (just over 18 years) in the culinary field ranging from food preparation and service to senior management. She also has worked extensively in forest management, from pruning, planting, fertilizing and harvesting, this work has kept her grounded and in touch with her roots and will always be one of her favourite work experiences. In 2013 Jolene took the initiative to establish and operate her own construction company, in doing so she was the first female entrepreneur on Tobique First Nation in that industry sector. Now that her company is progressing well, she has set her eyes upon entering the maple transformation business (developing and marketing value added Maple products). Most recently Jolene has been featured on CBC and Global TV Halifax and was the Grand Prize Winner for the 2019 FedEx Small Business Competition out of over 3000 applications across the country.

Read Jolene's Story


Marie photoMarie St-Gelais
Ashini Consultants

Ms. St-Gelais is an Innu civil engineer from Pessamit and has 13 years of experience as a manager, project manager and design engineer. She has worked in mining, construction, and Aboriginal communities. Her previous experience has led her to develop a strong expertise in engineering management, project management, tender preparation and management, contract administration and structure and civil engineering design. Ms. St-Gelais is a LEED Eco Associate and has knowledge in the design of bridges, steel and wood building frames, civil engineering works and the environmental aspects. Since 2016, she has been managing Ashini Consultants, coordinating engineering and construction projects and ensuring the company's development. She also recently graduates a 2nd cycle program in Wood Material Use in Construction and is currently pursuing a graduate program in Aboriginal Management at ENAP.

Read Marie's Story


MalloryMallory Graham
Tribal Trade Co.


Mallory Graham is an anishinaabe-kwe, born and raised in her home community of Curve Lake First Nation. She completed her Honors Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. After competing in a New Venture Creation business pitch competition and winning the KPMG Award in Entrepreneurship, for RezPoints Rewards, Mallory launched the coalition loyalty program for her parents' businesses in Curve Lake. Mallory founded Tribal Trade Co (formerly known as in 2013 - an online retail store with a brick and mortar location in Curve Lake, offering contemporary indigenous products including lifestyle clothing, footwear, accessories, and giftware. Tribal Trade is 100% female-indigenous owned and operated business aimed to foster inclusion of all indigenous people who wish to proudly represent their heritage. With 15+ years of experience in small business and 7+ years as a marketing freelancer, Mallory currently works with small businesses to develop and execute their digital marketing strategies, while fostering the continued growth of Tribal Trade.

Read Mallory's Story 

2019 National Youth Panelists announced!

The National Youth Panel will be brought forth in an effort to showcase Indigenous youth. Each year Cando selects six Indigenous youth participants to form the National Youth Panel, a signature event at the Annual National Conference. The selections for the National Youth Panel are based on their strengths, initiatives, accomplishments, entrepreneurial spirit, and participation within their communities.

2019 - National Youth Panel 

AlexandraAlexandra Jarrett
Canoe Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan

Alexandra Jarrett is a young Indigenous woman from Eagles Lake First Nation & Canoe Lake Cree First Nation. Alexandra was born in Meadow Lake, SK, and currently resides in Saskatoon, SK. 

Read Alexandra's story




Aubrey-AnneAubrey-Anne Laliberte-Pewapisconias
Canoe Lake Cree First Nation, Saskatchewan

Aubrey-Anne Laura Laliberte-Pewapisconias is a 20-year old Cree woman from Treaty 10 Territory with Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and Treaty 6 Territory with Little Pine First Nation. She is a third-year commerce student at the University of Saskatchewan currently pursuing a major in Finance at Edwards School of Business.

Read Aubrey-Anne's story



NipawiNipâwi Kakinoosit
Sucker Creek First  Nation, Alberta

Nipawi Mahihkan Misit Kakinoosit is a Nehiyaw (Cree) from the Sucker Creek Frist Nation in Northern Alberta and was born and raised in Prince George, BC. He is also an adopted member of Musqueam Indian Band (Coast Salish) and Elsipogtog First Nation (Mi’kmaq).

Read Nipawi's story



RyanRyan Oliverius
Okanagan Indian Band, British Columbia

Ryan Oliverius is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band in Vernon, British Columbia. Ryan is the youngest member on council for the Okanagan Indian Band. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and is the first in his family to graduate from post-secondary. Ryan double majored in Marketing and New Venture while at TRU.

Read Ryan's story



DestineeDestinee Peter
Carry the Kettle Nakoda First Nation, Saskatchewan

Destinee is the current owner and operator of Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon.  Tangles is a full-service Hair and Beauty Salon. She has a full line of hair and beauty products to address every clients’ needs. She started doing her own accounting to pay all bills and track all revenue and also did her own payroll and made sure all deductions and taxes were submitted on time, but since she has expanded, she now contracts all accounting services.  Destinee is responsible for 7 female employees and make schedules for adequate coverage for Tangles.  

Read Destinee's story


ChanelleChanelle Smoke
Alderville First Nation, Ontario

Mnidoo Migizi Chanelle Smoke, Bear Clan, of Alderville First Nation, as a National Youth Panelist. Chanelle has shown herself to be a leader not only within our school board here at Kawartha Pine-Ridge DSB, but also within her community. From an early age, Chanelle has had the wellbeing of others foremost in her mind. She is currently enrolled in the paramedic program at Loyalist College.

Read Chanelle's story


The Youth Summit Issue of Cando Connect...

July / August 2019 - read with

Inside Connect:

Economic Development
Youth Summi:

Fashion Show
Blanket Ceremony
Land Use Plan
CEDI Headlines
Final Presentations

Yukon Links to Learning

Resources for starting a co-op

CEDI Partnership Graduations:

Enoch Cree Nation and City of Edmonton
Paqtnkek and County of Antigonish

Click here or on image to download the latest edition in PDF file format.

Click here to read this issue online via reader.



Renew your Cando membership and win!

Membership Draw 2019

Get more information on Cando membership here!


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


Cando releases 2018 Conference videos...

 25th Anniversary Conference Hi-Lights Video:

Economic Developer of the Year Awards Video:


National Youth Panel Video:


Women in Business Panel Video:




Elder Larry Grant with Kelly LendsayKelly Lendsay with photo

Kelly Jim Peter

Indigenous Works stages successful succession planning forum in Vancouver

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Organizers are rather pleased of how well things ran at a succession planning forum held in Vancouver in mid-January.

“The event was very well received,” said Kelly Lendsay, the president and CEO of Indigenous Works, the Saskatoon-based organization that staged the forum.
Indigenous Works aims to boost the inclusion and participating of Indigenous people in the Canadian economy.

More than 50 invitees from across the country attended the forum, which was held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre on Jan. 16-17.

Most of those who took part were from western Canada.

“There was strong representation from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and some from Manitoba,” said Lendsay, adding one of the forum participants was from New Brunswick.
Representatives from Indigenous economic development corporations as well as reps from small and medium enterprises attended the forum.

The plan was to get everybody together to discuss strategies for succession planning for business owners thinking ahead to their retired days.

“It was really a nice cross section,” Lendsay said. “Even some students took it in.”

Lendsay said almost 80 per cent of Canadian businesses do not have a succession plan. The forum was staged in part to provide information to those Indigenous representatives looking to create jobs and provide enterprises and investments in their communities.

Read the full article here.



Cando announces...

NIEEF Scholarship Recipients for 2018

Inspiring Success - Time management is key for mother who also juggles work and schooling

Rosemarie Hill

Rosemarie Hill is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

Rosemarie Hill has become an expert in time management.

For starters, the 39-year-old member of Cook’s Ferry Indian Band in British Columbia is a single mother of four. Her oldest child is 13 while her youngest is just one.

Hill is also working part-time as a receptionist in Merritt, B.C. for the Nicola Tribal Association, which represents seven First Nations, including her own.

Plus she’s also a full-time student now at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. The Merritt-based school is British Columbia’s Aboriginal post-secondary institute.

Read Rosemarie's story!


Inspiring Success - Indigenous scholarship winner pursuing Master’s degree

Courtney Bear

Courtney Bear, a member of Manitoba's Peguis First Nation, is currently pursuing her Master's degree at the University of Winnipeg.

Courtney Bear is keen to make a difference.

The 33-year-old, a member of Manitoba’s Peguis First Nation, is currently pursuing her Master’s degree via the Development Practice program from the University of Winnipeg.

“I know the importance of education,” she said. “It will help me be successful.”

Bear, a mother of six children ranging in age from eight months to 17 years old, eventually wants to work with Indigenous people who have experienced hardship.

Bear certainly knows what that is all about.

Read Courtney's story!

Inspiring Success - PhD and law school might be in future for Cree student

Taylor Wilson

Though she's in her first year Master's course, Taylor Wilson is already considering future options, including a PhD and law schoo

Taylor Wilson has some rather lofty ambitions.

But the 24-year-old, a member of Manitoba’s Fisher River Cree Nation, is not quite sure where life will be taking her in the coming years.

“I’m passionate about human rights law,” Wilson said. “I’d love to potentially go to law school.”

Wilson graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 2016. She also met all of the requirements to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution but the university does not offer a double major option.

Read Taylor's story!


ED logo



Individual EDO Category

Community Category

Aboriginal Private Sector Business Category



2018 Economic Development Award Nominees

Cando received 9 nominations in the three categories for the 2018 Cando Economic Developer Awards.  Please join us in congratulating all nominees on their great achievements.  Please click on each nominee below to learn more about them.


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.