Employment agreement could see hundreds of First Nations construction jobs
- Brad Bellegarde | December 06, 2018
FHQ Developments Ltd. and Noble Construction Corporation (NCC) penned a deal that could potentially employee hundreds of First Nations construction workers.
The two companies held a signing ceremony which they call a mutually beneficial limited partnership.
FHQ-Noble Contracting is Saskatchewan’s newest First Nations owned company and FHQ Developments Inc. sees this partnership as an opportunity that will benefit First Nations peoples for many years.
“This isn’t a contract by contract type of agreement,” said Thomas Benjoe, CEO and president, FHQ Developments.
“This is long term, creating a business together and looking toward to the future.” said Benjoe
According to Benjoe, the agreement is meant to be able to create new employment opportunities for First Nations people throughout Saskatchewan.
Noble Construction Corp. is an Esterhazy, Sask., based company that has been effectively working towards creating opportunities for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous population since it started in 2003.
The company’s president Chris Miller said this new partnership was fitful because it allowed an opportunity to ensure a long-term working relationship.
Miller said that NCC did attempt to work with individual bands in the past however long-term commitment was a challenge due to elections and policy changes at the band level.
“When we met up with Thomas and FHQ, a lot of that went away yet we could still service that same need to provide an opportunity for people to have employment and engage in business,” said Miller.
The limited partnership will provide FHQ Developments with a 51% ownership stake in the newly incorporated company.
According to Benjoe, the partnership is an opportunity for FHQ Developments to be very competitive in the market.
“We currently don’t work in underground construction and it takes us a long time to find the right partners...we have to find partners that align with our values,” said Benjoe. “Noble has a very good reputation of doing good work and having strong capacity in underground mining.”
Benjoe said now that the partnership is signed, they will be moving into the next phase of the partnership which is operations and securing contracts in the market.
For NCC, this venture is a continued step towards creating opportunity for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous peoples.
According to their website, NCC has been working with Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) and the SIIT governing body, the Saskatchewan Indian Training Assessment Group to provide training for the mining sector.
Miller said he wants to move forward as a united company rather than Indigenous vs non-Indigenous.
“I want to work towards knocking down the barriers that may be associated with an Indigenous company versus a non-Indigenous company,” he said. “I want to make sure that we’re cautious and always making sure we have the opportunity to learn from each other and share in some of the pillars that have built our cultures.”
The signing ceremony took place on Tuesday December 4, 2018 at the First Nations University of Canada.