Yorkton Chamber of Commerce Blog Items

Yorkton – A Good Place for Business

At the Business Summit in March, key note speaker Ben Voss, CEO & President of Morris Industries, challenged the businesses of Yorkton to focus on what differentiates Yorkton from cities of similar size.

When we say Yorkton is the place where good things happen, it’s the truth. It’s the hub of east central Saskatchewan. Two railways run through it; four highways lead to it and it has a certified airport. Yorkton is home to the Regional Hospital and a host of medical specialists. Provincial and federal government offices are located here.

Yorkton is a hub for manufacturing and food processing. In recent years, both the Richardson and Louis Dreyfus canola crush plants have expanded their capacity since opening. Grain Millers began an expansion project that will see their capacity nearly double when it’s complete and will add 25 to 30 jobs. Harvest Meats is ramping up its production which will result in the addition of 10 - 12 full time positions over the next 6 months. In the past couple of years, TA Foods has doubled its work force and added the processing of camelina and hemp oil to its line of products. Over the course of the next four months, it will double its capacity in oil production. Leon’s Mfg Company and Ram Industries have been cornerstones of Yorkton’s manufacturing sector for decades.

In the agriculture sector, Parrish & Heimbecker recently built a new Crop Input Centre just north of the city. In the past few years, Morris Industries has invested over $30 million on improving its manufacturing process. It currently exports to 34 countries.

As for construction projects, a large commercial space is in the construction phase on the east side of the city and new restaurants are under construction on both the east and west side.

A number of small businesses have opened over the past couple of years offering a variety of retail and personal services.

Yorkton has 8 elementary schools and 2 high schools. The Parkland College Yorkton campus offers a variety of courses including some 4 year university degree programs and s the home to the Trades & Technology Centre.

In terms of tourism, the Western Development Museum, Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre and Painted Hand Casino are popular with residents and tourists alike. The Yorkton Arts Council’s Stars for Saskatchewan attracts people to Yorkton from all across the Region. The Yorkton Cardinals of the Western Canadian Baseball League, attracts players from all over Canada and the United States as they play summer collegiate baseball. And the Yorkton Terriers have attracted people to Yorkton for years. The Film Festival, Summer Fair and the upcoming PowWow are also large economic drivers in the city.

A safe community, Yorkton hosts a variety of sport, recreation and cultural activities. It’s a beautiful city with parks, hundreds of trees and in the summer, dozens of planters of flowers.

Investors like places where there is optimism and the appearance of prosperity. It’s time to talk about all the positives in Yorkton. Show your pride in Yorkton by sharing all that is good in the city. Yorkton – it’s a place where good things happen!



While You Worked in Your Business, the Chamber Worked for You

A membership in the Chamber of Commerce is an investment in your business. While you’re busy working to grow and expand your business, the Chamber is at work to make sure the business climate is the best it can be. As the “voice of business in Yorkton”, the Chamber has undertaken a number of advocacy efforts on behalf of the local business community and offered a number of educational and networking events. Below is a summary of 2019’s highlights:

Advocacy - Informing the various orders of government when policies or legislation are having an impact on the business community:

  • Met with City Council twice; Met with Cathay Wagantall, MP; Met twice with Hon. Greg Ottenbreit
  • Letter to MP and Senate re: the need for the construction of the oil pipeline
  • Letter to MP and Canadian Chamber of Commerce re: the need to resolve the trade disruption between Canada and China which is negatively impacting sales of canola and other agricultural products important to eastern Saskatchewan producers
  • Letter to MP and Federal Government and Senate re: carbon tax on energy to dry grain,
  • Letter to Mayor & Council re; supporting the need for a roundabout at Darlington and Mayhew
  • Letter to Hon. Lori Carr re: funding to the Yorkton Regional Airport through the Community Airport Program
  • Attended each City Council meeting to keep informed about the City
  • Advocated for local businesses on a variety of issues

Education & Networking Events for Members - A number of events were held to enable businesses to network and to learn:

  • Highly successful first ever Business Summit was held
  • 21st Annual Chamber Business Dinner with John Gormley also a big success
  • Two Chamber on Tap events with guest speakers Wayne Rusnak and Dave Nussbaumer
  • All Candidates’ Forum held for the Federal Election
  • Profiled the young entrepreneurs from the YRHS enrolled in Junior Achievement
  • Guest Speaker Roy Prevost shared ideas on creating customer service stars
  • The RCMP and Fire Protective Services talked about their initiatives in the City
  • Business Lunch Speakers included Hon. Donna Harpauer, Minister of Finance to speak about the Provincial Budget; The Mayor delivered his State of the City Address at the Chamber’s AGM; Ryan Meili, Leader of the Opposition and Trent Wotherspoon shared their visions for the province; Guest speakers from the Global Transportation Hub; Regina Airport Authority; Sask Health Authority; and SAMA
  • Presentation of 4 Honouray Life Memberships
  • Videos of members on YouTube and Facebook
  • Recognition of 20 – 25 year Chamber members
  • Met with Zagime First Nation; Visited Kahkewistahaw First Nation
  • Met with new Parkland College CEO Mark Hoddenbagh
  • Presented a Scholarship to a student enrolled in Business Admin at the College
  • Began the Chamber Book Club
  • Signed the Sask Health & Safety Leadership Charter



Honourary Life Members Inducted

The induction of Honourary Life Members in the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce first occurred in 1969. The practice was re-established in 2012. According to the Chamber’s Constitution “ Persons who have distinguished themselves by meritorious or public service may be elected Honourary Life Members by majority vote by the Board.

Honourary Life Membership shall include all the privileges of active membership, except that of holding office, with the exemption from paying dues.”

Such Life Membership shall be granted to the individual and not the company.

Donna Brown has been active in the community since 1965. She has volunteered for a variety of organizations and was a member of the Yorkton chapter of the Canadian Red Cross when it developed the city of Yorkton’s first emergency preparedness plan. She served as President of the Yorkton Chamber in 1990 and also served on the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

Vern Brown joined Brown Bros Implements in 1965 and was with the company until it closed. Vern has been a member of the Yorkton Lions’ Club for 51 years; serving on its executive and on numerous committees. Donna and Vern provide a quarter of land to the Yorkton Terriers for fundraising.

Janet Hill served as a Yorkton City Councillor for a total of 8 years. She served on the Boards of the East Health Region; the Sunrise Health Region and the Health Foundation. Janet was also involved in the early days of the Yorkton Film Festival and the Lions’ Lobster Fest when they joined forces.

Diane Rusnak, also an avid community volunteer, was a realtor for several years. She has been the Chair of the Health Foundation’s 23 annual galas which together have raised over $634 thousand! Diane received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2005 in recognition of her volunteer efforts.



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