Simpcw Resources Group
Launching business arm proves successful for Simpcw First Nation
By Sam Laskaris
Simpcw Resource Group staff training for pipeline coating applications
The Simpcw Resources Group (SRG) has certainly come a long way since its inception.
The community-run business is owned by British Columbia’s Simpcw First Nation.
The SRG was established in 2011, originally operating out of a basement office on the First Nation. When it first began SRG had three employees, who focused on forestry management and logging opportunities.
Fast forward to the present and SRG has its own office space and about 100 employees working in a number of industries. Services SRG offers include those in environmental, archaeological, pipeline maintenance, site rehabilitation, road building and maintenance and security.
“We’ve outgrown that already and are looking to go elsewhere,” Jason Dorey, SRG’s senior operations manager, said of the business’ current office space.
As of this past spring, SRG was employing 65 Indigenous and 35 non-Indigenous people.
SRG has also turned into a business that can provide stable jobs for many of the Simpcw First Nation members.
“It’s gone from being seasonal work in construction to a year-round career for people,” Dorey said.
SRG’s successes are also the reason why the Simpcw First Nation is one of the two finalists for this year’s Cando community of the year award.
The winner and runner-up for this category will be announced at the Cando Conference, which will be held Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, Que.
Cando, the organization that promotes Indigenous economic development across Canada, also annually recognizes award winners in two other categories. They are economic development officer of the year and Indigenous Private Sector Business.
The territorial land for the Simpcw First Nation is rather vast, stretching from Barriere, B.C. to the Alberta municipality of Jasper, almost 400 kilometres away.
In part because of the size of this territorial land, the Simpcw First Nation was not able previously to reap any economic development benefits. But that has changed with the creation of the SRG, which is hoping to become a major employer in the area known as the North Thompson Valley.
Dorey said SRG’s future goals include diversification.
“I’m a firm believer if we can diversify our services, we can attract more people back to the community here,” he said.
The Simpcw First Nation currently has about 700 members. But only about one-third of those members live on the First Nation, in the community of Chu Chua.