Since its incorporation in 1994, the Windigo Community Development Corporation has strived to achieve its ‘not-for-profit’ objectives:
- "To promote, initiate and provide continuing assistance and management of projects; and,
- "To assist and encourage the starting and growth of business enterprises”.
The Corporation was established by the Windigo First Nations Council to partake in the opportunities presented by the construction of the Musselwhite Mine (kilometers north of Pickle Lake, then owned by Placer Dome), and was involved with both the construction of the road and the ‘camp residence’. Once construction was complete, the Corporation was then responsible for providing
the “catering and housekeeping services” of the camp residence.
At the time of incorporation, there were five members: Bearskin Lake First Nation, Cat Lake First Nation, North Caribou Lake First Nation, Sachigo Lake First Nation, and Slate Falls Nation.
Now, 16 years later, with a successful catering company, a ‘commercial property leasing’ company and the recent launching of a ‘cleaning and janitorial supply’ company, the Windigo Chiefs can look back with pride at the success and growth achieved, and look forward with optimism and confidence to the new opportunities presenting, and the future economic prosperity of the Windigo First Nations.
Back in 2005, the Windigo First Nations Council separated its profit (business) activity from its not-for-profit (political/social) activities and programs, by forming a ‘for profit’ general partner – Windigo Ventures General Partner Ltd – which is responsible for the management of three businesses: Windigo Catering Limited Partnership, Windigo Property Limited Partnership and Windigo Distributors Limited Partnership. The profits realized from these three businesses are re-invested in future business development.
Windigo Ventures General Partner Ltd is controlled by a Board of Directors: Frank McKay (President), John Kamenawatamin (Treasurer) and Wilfred Wesley (Secretary). The Directors have the overall authority over the general partner and its limited partnerships.
Windigo Ventures General Partner Ltd.
The Directors hired Debbie Korobanik as General Manager in April, 2006, who is responsible for the business development and overall management of the three businesses. Debbie was hired as Finance Advisor by Windigo First Nations Council in April, 1999, to advise and assist its member First Nations with respect to establishing and maintaining sound financial policies and practices. Using her six years of experience as an Instructor with Confederation College, Debbie enhanced the knowledge and skills of elected officials, community employees and Board volunteers by facilitating various on-reserve professional development workshops such as Board development, Chief and Council Orientation, basic financial management and computerized accounting.
With the abundance of opportunities currently presenting in the mining industry, Debbie is enthusiastic about the future of the Windigo businesses, and any potential partnerships with the various stake holders.
Windigo Catering LP is the proud recipient of the 2013 PDAC Skookum Jim Award, in recognition of its excellence serving the mining industry. Windigo Catering LP has been providing janitorial, catering and camp management services to Goldcorp Canada Ltd – Musselwhite Mine since 1998, and currently employs sixty-one (70) employees, 48% of whom are from the Windigo communities, and another 40% from other First Nations communities (both Treaty 9 and Treaty 3). This business boasts an eighty percent (80%) First Nation employment rate, and is the pride of the Windigo First Nations.
Windigo Catering LP has been expanding operations and has recently been awarded a Janitorial Contract with the City of Thunder Bay Police (Balmoral Station) and has been selected as the Primary Supplier by the Ministry of Natural Resources to provide Camp Cooking Services to its Emergency Forest Fire Fighters.
Windigo Property Limited Partnership
Windigo Property LP was established in 2006 and currently owns four properties in Sioux Lookout: two are commercially leased, and one is a residential lease. Windigo Property LP currently employs two employees: a janitor and on-call maintenance coordinator.
Windigo Ventures General Partner Ltd recently launched a new business in the fall of 2011: Windigo Distributors LP, which markets advanced cleaning products which are not only economical, but also safe to our cherished environment and valued customers. The “Vision” of Windigo Distributors LP is ‘to become a distinguished business in Northern Ontario, providing an affordable line of quality cleaning products to various industries. Windigo Distributors recently had a Grand Opening of its cleaning supply store in Sioux Lookout.
The economic development structure of the Windigo Community Development Corporation continues to grow and expand, following the goals set forth in the ‘5-year investment plan’ of the Council Chair & CEO, Frank McKay (also President of the Board).
Over the course of the next twenty-four months, the Directors look forward to:
- Expanding the customer base of Windigo Catering LP, through competitive bidding to other mines and agencies (particularly in Thunder Bay and east);
- Updating and enhancing the Windigo Catering website;
- Acquiring additional property for lease revenue in the city of Thunder Bay;
- Expanding customer AND product base of Windigo Distributors LP;
- Selection of logo for Windigo Distributors LP
Windigo Catering LP
Sioux Lookout, ON. Canada P8T 1A5