In Saskatchewan, “green” is often associated with the province’s favourite football team; however, one environmental consulting company is ensuring that this colour is also connected to environmental health, growth, and sustainability.
Incorporated in 1997, Canada North Environmental Services Limited Partnership (CanNorth) provides high-quality environmental and heritage services to a diversity of clients for a wide range of project types. CanNorth is 100 per cent owned by Kitsaki Management Limited Partnership, the business arm of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Notably, CanNorth is the only First Nation-owned consulting company in North America to obtain ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental stewardship), and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) International Standard certifications. CanNorth is also a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program-certified company and is registered with ISNetworld. They also believe they are the only First Nation-owned company in the world with these credentials.
CanNorth offers the technical skills and knowledge to deliver solutions for managing environmental risk in ways that benefit the client, satisfy regulatory requirements, and offer First Nations people and local communities employment, training, experience, and economic benefits. As a First Nation-owned company, CanNorth maximizes indigenous community involvement in projects, including integrating traditional knowledge, engaging local people in environmental programs, and creating employment and education opportunities.
“We work hard to get indigenous communities involved in projects whenever we can,” said Peter Vanriel, general manager of CanNorth. “We also try to make contributions to the local economy by renting equipment from them, for example. In a typical year, we work with about 35 locals, many of whom have been working with us for 10 years or longer.” First Nations people appreciate that resource development must be environmentally responsible and sustainable to ensure opportunities to future generations.
CanNorth’s corporate objectives are to provide high-quality, cost-effective environmental services to resource developers and government agencies, to involve and train indigenous people in environmental monitoring programs, and to facilitate effective communication about environmental issues between government, industry, and indigenous people. CanNorth offers a wide variety of services from environmental project proposals, scoping, and study design to regulatory liaison services, specializing in the following areas: aquatic, terrestrial, hydrology, risk assessment, heritage/archaeology, environmental management support, community engagement, and geomatics.
Services that CanNorth often provides for their potash clients include targeted sensitive species surveys, avian risk assessments prior to planned works, and environmental monitoring services during project construction phases. Furthermore, they have recently assisted several potash clients with the development of their wetland compensation plans. The purpose of these reports is to document detailed summaries of wetlands that may be impacted by a proposed development, such as an expansion at a mine site. They incorporate information collected during field surveys into the report to present a comprehensive picture as to the amount of wetland area lost and the reduced function of wetland habitat, when avoidance of wetlands is not possible. CanNorth has also assisted potash mines in determining the best water supply alternatives and has been involved with investigations related to other aspects that support potash mines, such as rail lines, gas pipelines, and electrical transmission lines, among others.
CanNorth has completed over 2,500 projects and has truly become an example of Canadian environmental stewardship. As part of its efforts to pursue new opportunities throughout Canada, CanNorth recently opened up an office in Markham, Ontario. With its diverse skillset, CanNorth has extended its clientele to include Crown corporations, governments, and some of the world’s largest mining and oil and gas companies. Their clients include potash, uranium, gold, nickel, diamond, copper, graphite, and silica sand mines. CanNorth is engaged in multiple opportunities throughout the world and has worked on projects in Panama, Argentina, and Kyrgyzstan and is further exploring opportunities in Chile. CanNorth prides itself on scientific and professional integrity.
In this way, CanNorth works to keep the environment green within this province’s borders and beyond.by