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13-Jul-2023

GFL enters partnership with Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation

Back, L to R: Chief Edwin Ananas, Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation, and Blair Dueck, senior account manager, Indigenous Engagement, GFL
Front, L to R: Ray Poppl, director, Operations, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, GFL, and Dennis Esperance, president and chairman, Willow Cree Development Corporation

Friday, June 9 marked a special day for GFL and Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation when they signed a partnership agreement that will create a mutually beneficial economic relationship.

The signing ceremony took place at GFL’s Saskatoon facility with the Chief and Council members of Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation in attendance, as well as the CEO and board members of the Willow Cree Development Corporation, the business arm of the Nation.

Through this partnership agreement, GFL and Willow Cree Development Corporation will work together on the BHP Jansen potash mine, currently under construction in Leroy, Saskatchewan. Representatives of GFL’s Liquids and Solids divisions signed agreements to provide environmental services for this project.

The Canadian flag flew on one flagpole and the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation and GFL flags flew together on another. Both parties made presentations, exchanged gifts and enjoyed barbecued bison burgers.

“Indigenous and industry partnerships, such as the recent signing between Willow Cree Development Corporation and GFL Environmental, create economic opportunities for our Nation and employment opportunities for our members,” said Dennis Esperance, president and chairman of Willow Cree Development Corporation. “This partnership enables us to develop capacity, learn from one another and grow in tandem.

“In addition, these types of relationships are critical to advance economic reconciliation which allows us to develop meaningful and sustainable outcomes.”

Willow Cree Development Corporation oversees the economic development of Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation. The Corporation explores new opportunities for long-term partnerships with organizations, businesses and people who share their values and goals, which include developing and conserving resources for future generations.

“Indigenous inclusion is at the forefront of this project,” said Blair Dueck, senior account manager, Indigenous Engagement, at GFL. “The partnership GFL developed with the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation and the Willow Cree Development Corporation also ties in with other companies working on the project, to ensure services and procurement opportunities for the economic benefit of Willow Cree and Beardy’s & Okemasis during construction of the mine and when it achieves operational readiness.”

Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation youth will benefit by securing education, training and employment opportunities throughout the construction process and employment at the mine when it opens.

“This partnership is beneficial to multiple lines of GFL business from vac trucks to some of our specialized site services as well as the hazardous waste side,” Dueck said. “For GFL, it's not just about one particular project with our Indigenous partners, it's about a long-term commitment to economic reconciliation.”

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