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  • Ian McCormack

Starting our Saskatchewan Adventure

Updated: Sep 7

Over the years, business has changed, sometimes because of our conscious decisions and sometimes because we have reacted to opportunities that occur in the market. Our most recent example of this is that we have seen the portion of our business in Saskatchewan grow over the years. Based on that change, we have decided to provide the best service to local government and similar board-led organizations in that province through a new office in Regina. This is Strategic Steps' first foray into another physical location, and we’re really excited about the potential.


We know and respect that every province and territory is unique. Following this understanding requires dedicated effort to understand the nuance of legislation and culture and provide the most value we can. By having a physical presence in a second province, we build our networks significantly, and that can’t but help with the work we are currently doing, besides, Saskatchewan has so many more municipalities than Alberta does.


Another advantage to Strategic Steps is that the Saskatchewan and Alberta municipal election cycles are offset by about a year, meaning that while Alberta councils are beginning to wrap up their work, Saskatchewan councils are raring to go on a brand-new term. When new Alberta councils are undergoing orientations – like they are this fall, Saskatchewan municipalities are embarking on strategic plans for the bulk of their terms. We’ve already worked on four strategic plans for cities and towns in Saskatchewan this year, even through COVID.


We learn from having a broad array of clients, and we can translate what we see as wise practices in one jurisdiction for consideration in another. That said, the municipal structures in the two provinces can be quite different. Alberta doesn’t require certification of CAOs, but Saskatchewan does. The term ‘County’ means nothing in Saskatchewan, and ‘Rural Municipality’ is an unknown in Alberta. Interestingly both provinces have the term ‘inspection’ as it relates to oversight of local governments, but the term means different things in each province.


We certainly could not embark on this adventure alone. Pam Malach, a well-known recent CAO in Saskatchewan has come on board as the face of our Saskatchewan presence. She’s worked with and for Saskatchewan local governments, and with the provincial government as well. Her insights have proven valuable over the time she’s been working casually with Strategic Steps and having her become the face of our Saskatchewan presence makes a ton of sense to us, and to our clients as well.


In the same way that we bring our Alberta knowledge to bear while working with clients in other provinces and territories, Pam brings her Saskatchewan knowledge and experience while she’s assisting on projects with all our clients elsewhere. Really, it’s a win-win.


We have written methodology and process for what we do, so consistency of delivery and maximizing value for clients continues.


We also now bleed at least a little bit of green in our Saskatchewan based marketing plan and our corporate colours. You’re welcome.


In fact, we enjoy CFL football so much that we would also be interested in showcasing BC’s orange and black and Winnipeg’s blue in our next phase of expanding inter-provincially… So, if you are as passionate about governance as we are, and maybe you like football too, please give us a call.


As always, I’m interested in your thoughts about this topic. How does having local people provide insight in service to local organizations benefit you?


You can find me at ian@strategicsteps.ca. The company’s Twitter profile is @strategic_steps.

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