SOS Crowns has recently been informed that Printwest, with print shops in Regina and Saskatoon, recently lost the contract to print DirectWest phone books for Saskatchewan cities. Instead of printing our telephone books in the province, the Sask Party government has allowed the contract to go to US-based RR Donnelley printing company. As a result of the contract loss, Printwest had to issue layoff notices to some of their employees. When will the Saskatchewan government start supporting and promoting small Saskatchewan businesses, rather than out of province and out of country companies. Direc...
SaskTel has a long history in Saskatchewan of providing world-class Internet service to nearly every citizen in the province. Millions of dollars are invested year after to year to improve and expand high speed Internet access to all corners of the province. With such a large geographic area, the ability to access the Internet and connect anywhere in the province is absolutely vital for residents and businesses alike.ACORN Canada is currently conducting a survey regarding Internet and cellular rates and service across Canada. ACORN states that according to Statistics Canada, only 54 per cent o...
Canadian telecommunications companies, including SaskTel, have been given approval to appeal a decision introduced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) earlier this year.Among other changes to Canada’s wireless system, the new wireless code mandates that cellular contract lengths can run no longer than two years. As CBC reports, the CRTC has also said “Under the code, cellphone customers will be able to walk away from their contracts after two years without any early cancellation penalties. The regulator also ruled that early cancellation fees m...
Yesterday SaskTel announced that over the summer 24 different wireless network projects were completed to enhance the 4G wireless network in Saskatchewan. SaskTel's wireless network system is constantly growing and the consumer demand continues for faster and more enhanced networks in the province. As a world leader in fibre optics and a national leader in cellular coverage for the province of Saskatchewan, imagine what SaskTel could do with the ability to offer services outside of the province? With a variety of different companies available for consumer...
After seven long years of research and reporting, an American cyber-security firm Mandiant Corp released a detailed report this week describing the continuous threats and attacks by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) electronic intelligence units on American and allied companies and government departments. Of the 141 companies that were listed as having been victim to data theft, 115 of them in the U.S. were alleged to be at the hands of a Shanghai branch of the PLA’s “cyber command” known under a few different names including Unit 61398, APT1, or the Shanghai Group.As Do...
Get out your cell phones and address books Saskatchewan....10-digit local dialing is headed our way. Starting May 11, 2013 all local calls in Saskatchewan, including local calls, will require an area code to be dialed.The introduction of 10-digit dialing comes from a decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decided to introduce a second area code in Saskatchewan. The new area code “639” will be assigned interchangeably to new landline and cellular numbers in the province with the existing “306” area code. This means that your ho...
We are sending big congratulations out to SaskTel and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) for once again being names as two of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc.SaskTel also takes home titles as a Top Employer for Canadians Over 40 for 2012 and Saskatchewan’s Top Employers for 2012. Some of the reasons that SaskTel was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013 include: one of the country's leading corporate citizens that provides an instructive example for others -- employees and retirees donate tens of thousands of volunteer hours every year in...
News ReleaseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 11, 2012Threat to Saskatchewan security and privacySOS Crowns is concerned about our current government’s disregard for the privacy and security of Saskatchewan residents and businesses in their ongoing partnership with Chinese-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Huawei has been under scrutiny around the world for a number of years for issues with intellectual property theft, security, and privacy concerns. Following a significant investigation by the United States government, Chinese-based Huawei has been deemed a security risk. In 2011 the ...
Yesterday we learned from CBC that the United States House Intelligence Committee is warning their own government, with a “blunt warning” for Canada to steer very clear of Chinese-based Huawei. Following a year-long investigation, Mike Rogers, chair of the U.S. House of Intelligence Committee stated, “"There are bugs, back doors going on in Huawei gear. We've had lots of reports of that happening in just the few places they are in, in the United States. And, I will bet my bottom dollar, as we say in the United States, that that activity is happening in Canada as well.”O...
Saskatchewan is a public of working people with a strong foundation of Crown Corporations. From Stony Rapids to Estevan, and everywhere in between, Crowns work for us every single day; our families, our friends, our neighbours. Our Crowns embrace our social responsibility by developing a diverse workforce, supporting our communities financially and through volunteerism and investing in Saskatchewan’s future and environment. When Crowns generate revenue it is returned to each and every one of us. We see this in our schools, our roads, our hospitals, and many other areas. When the go...
This blog is in response to a letter that appeared in the StarPhoenix on September 28, 2012 titled "Poor Service."SaskTel has spent decades building a telecommunications network in Saskatchewan that is second to none, but restrictions set out by CRTC do not allow our Crown to choose the rates that customer are charged for telephone service – urban or rural. Although SaskTel believes that every customer in Saskatchewan should have the same access to reliable and affordable service, we do not always have the ability to set those parameters. This is a similar situation with the decisi...
It seems as though the residential and business customers in rural Saskatchewan who require access to High Speed Internet services have been given a second chance by Industry Canada. Following two years of consultation with business, government, and residents, Industry Canada made the decision to change the way that spectrum, or radio frequency, is allocated between network providers across the country. This means that SaskTel would no longer be able to provide Wireless Broadband Internet (WBBI) service to rural customers across the province. Access to, and ownership of, the Canadian wir...
Earlier week, Premier Brad Wall and SaskTel President and CEO RonStyles ventured overseas to sign a significant new agreement withChinese-based Huawei.According to a SaskTel news release, the agreement encompasses a trial in atleast three rural communities in the province to "help determine thefeasibility of wireless broadband and voice services for customers inpredominately rural locations" as well as "the provisioning of equipment"for local landline service infrastructure. The trial period will begin inDecember of this year and continue until August 2013.SOS Crowns has a number of concerns a...
For those of you that have not had a chance to catch some of the newspapers throughout the province this month, here are a couple of articles involving our Crown Corporations that might be of interest to you:“Energy tale of two provinces” by Bruce Johnstone was printed in the Leader-Post on July 14, 2012. In a comparison between Saskatchewan and Alberta, Johnstone explains, “Remember when energy deregulation was all the rage? The old monopoly utilities were going to go the way of the dodo. In their place would be efficient, profit-driven private companies competing for consum...
Recently, the 2011 Crown Corporation Payee Disclosure report was released, detail payments that Crowns have made to Board members, employees, suppliers, and sponsorships, among other things. The Payee Disclosure report has been a traditional tool of accountability and transparency for our Crowns. It also shows the immense reach that Crowns have within Saskatchewan, and one of the reasons that this province is a great place to live and make a living. One of the largest portions of the report is the employee compensation section for each individual Crown. Any employee that earns more than 50,000...
Recently Premier Wall announced a cabinet shuffle and the creation of the Ministry of the Economy with the main purpose to make sure that “we can consistently implement our growth plan for the province” and to ensure the “government’s not getting in the way of growth.” With Bill Boyd now in charge of the new Economy portfolio, our question is this: will Crown Corporations be included in the province’s growth plan? For decades, Crowns have given Saskatchewan the advantage of being an affordable place to live and provides good jobs for nearly 12, 000 people.&n...
The results are beginning to roll in from our Crown Corporations about their performance and successes over the last year. It is undeniable that 2011 was an excellent year for Crowns in Saskatchewan, many posting higher profits than previous years. SaskPower posted record profits while SaskTel reached $1 billion in revenue for the sixth consecutive year.Crown Investment Corporation (CIC) predicts that 2012 will see a $273 million dividend to the provincial government, including a special dividend from SaskPower.What you might find in the fine print is that the government has increased Crown Co...
Last year the government of Saskatchewan declared that April would be recognized as “Safe Digging Month” in the province “to increase public awareness on the importance of working safely around underground infrastructure.”However, there seems to be more and more stories about gas line hits in the news than ever before. Previously, Crowns including SaskTel, SaskPower, and SaskEnergy conducted their own line locates, which have all been contracted out to a private company. Christy Best, President of CEP Local 649 who represents members at both SaskEnergy and SaskPower, sa...
There was the sale of Hospitality Network, then contracting out Sasktel installation and other services to Ledcor (an out-of- province company), now it is a Jump.ca contract going to Ledcor. People, this government is slowly dismantling our Crowns one piece at a time.Our Crowns which are owned by all citizens of the province and benefit us all, are being sold to outof-province organizations that are benefiting. The profits for Saskatchewan people are slowly slipping away — profit that is used for infrastructure, health care, education etc. We, the owners of these Crowns, deserve better t...
Earlier this week the Stephen Harper government announced that they would be increasing competition in our national wireless sector including opening the doors to foreign investment, particularly affecting small telecommunications firms.Rita Trichur and Ian Marlow explained in the Globe and Mail, “The last burst of wireless competition, which began in the late 1990’s, ended with the new entrants succumbing to financial problems or selling out to the giants they had been fighting for years.” Basically, increased competition in the wireless market has seen the ‘Big Three&...
Today, the union representing workers at both SaskTel and Jump.ca, called into question the government’s decision to work in direct opposition of their own Sask First Policy. Mere weeks ago, SaskTel announced that Ledcor was the successful bidder on an upcoming contract for residential install and repair. Ledcor, which is headquartered in B.C., had been doing install work for SaskTel since September 2011. What we know for a fact is that SaskTel was paying Ledcor obscene amounts of money to complete installs during their six week contact last fall. Although it is complicated to explain th...
Although we are separated by distance, the shift of employers turning to the use of contracting out jobs rather than using their own employees seems to be a universal issue. One case that has been brought to our attention is a struggle happening in New Zealand at the Port of Auckland. The Port is owned by the people of Auckland through their Council but managed by a Board at arm’s length. Government legislation removed the requirement for the people of Auckland to agree to any privatization by referendum. Thus, the government has given themselves legislative power to privatize without co...
SaskTel President and CEO, Ron Styles, notified employees this week that they were no longer under the constraints of the government’s restrictive Sask First Policy. He stated that, “with the sale of The Hospitality Network in 2011, SaskTel completed the last divesture related to the Government of Saskatchewan’s SaskFirst Policy.” This is in addition to the sale of AgDealer, DirectWest Canada, Saskatoon Square, and Navigata. Although not all of the subsidiaries sold were core business assets, some are required for ongoing operation of our current business. An exam...
Once again, a number of our Crown Corporations made the list for Saskatchewan's Top Employers including: -Information Services Corp. of Saskatchewan (ISC) -Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) -SaskEnergy Inc. -SaskPower Corporation -SaskTel With a total of 9,003 full-time employees between the 5 organizations, Crown Corporations play a huge role in many Saskatchewan communities. In October of last year, both SaskTel and SGI were also honoured as two of Canada's Top 100 Employers. ...
CEP Press ReleaseCommunications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJanuary 31, 2012One of Canada’s largest unions says SaskTel’s announcement of Saskatchewan work going to an out-of province Company is very suspicious timing considering the union has collective agreement talks and an arbitration case pending on the jurisdiction of the work Ledcor was awarded.SasTel announced last week that residential install and repair work is going to Alberta construction giant Ledcor. The work was formerly done by SaskTel employees and currently by Saskatchewan-based J...
Since SaskTel announced that Ledcor Technical Services was awarded a contract for residential install and repair services, the issue has received a large amount of attention.SOS Crowns was initially under the impression that the Ledcor contract that was chosen would cost significantly more than what it would cost SaskTel to have employees within the bargaining unit complete the work. We were also made aware that Saskatchewan-based Jump.ca submitted a proposal for the same contract, which also would have been a less expensive option for the Crown corporation.Trent Wotherspoon, NDP finance criti...
News ReleaseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJanuary 27, 2012Saskatchewan LAST policy...or at least SaskTel lastEarlier this week SaskTel announced that Ledcor Technical Services, headquartered out of Vancouver, BC, would be partnering with the Crown utility to complete residential install and repair services in Regina and Saskatoon as well as seven other major districts. Ledcor will be bringing employees in from other provinces and taxpayers will be contractually obligated to adhere to a more expensive model than if SaskTel employees were completing the work.SOS Crowns was recently made aware Ledco...
There has been a lot of media buzz around SaskTel issues for a number of months in Saskatchewan...including not only network problems, but also problems with the RIM network for all Blackberry users which is out of SaskTel's control.However, until the last couple of weeks, the people of SaskTel have been gracious in affording SaskTel some time and space to deal with the growing pains of upgrading our cellular network.When Premier Brad Wall chimes in with dropped call irritations, it suddenly makes it into the official throne speech and has the media buzzing.In an article in the Saskatoon Star ...
With just over two weeks having passed since the Saskatchewan provincial election, Premier Brad Wall is already making comments that are stirring up conversations about whether or not SaskTel should be privatized.Over the years amidst increased competition, SaskTel has stacked up well to the much larger competitors across the country like Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Last year in a Consumer Reports Canada special report, SaskTel actually scored far above these other well known companies. SaskTel received the “highest marks across the board for voice connectivity-as in service with good cover...
Today is Saskatchewan, Crown Corporations are being sold off, contracted out, deregulated and dismantled slowly by the Brad Wall government. As the people of the province, we are being lied to about the future of the very organizations that we have built from the ground up. Today in Saskatchewan when the government says they have not sold off any Crown Corporations, ask them about the Saskatchewan Communications Network. A Crown that was valued at nearly $4 million and was attributed to attracting millions of dollars a year for the television film industry in Saskatchewan – SOLD f...
The government continues to say they are not privatizing Crowns Corporations like SaskTel, while they use backdoor tactics like systematic contracting-out to destroy our organizations. The continued erosion of the workforce in favour of contracting out to the private sector has become an epidemic in Saskatchewan. Some of the most notable areas of SaskTel that have been contracted out include: -Operator services including directory assistance and relay service to a direct competitor -Max TV and High Speed Internet installations to a direct competitor -Satellite High Speed Internet service t...
NEWS RELEASE - OCTOBER 12, 2011 Once again the people of Saskatchewan are being short-changed for the policy decisions made by the Brad Wall government. Using Crowns like their own cash cows and selling off subsidiaries for prices far below market value.Following the adoption of the Sask First policy, the Brad Wall government began the process to divest of a number of Crown Corporation subsidiaries including Navigata in 2009. Although Navigata did not provide SaskTel with steady income, the organization including their physical assets was sold for only $1.25 million. At that time, the...
It is clear that the people of Saskatchewan are being deceived. Our current government has made many claims regarding the future of Crown Corporations in Saskatchewan. One of which was a statement from our current Premier stating “Crowns are not going to be privatized and (subsidiaries) are not going to be wound down.” Our current government`s actions have been nothing but contrary to this statement.Merriam Webster defines the word privatize as the process “to make private; especially to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership.&rdq...
In this episode, Chris, Mike, and Amy go kayaking on beautiful Kenosee Lake in Moose Mountain Provincial Park. In between, they ask people why Crown Corporations matter to them. In 2010, 23 rental cabins at Greenwater Lake Provincial Park were sold to a Regina-based property management company. The new private owner will add 10 more cabins. At Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, a private company is developing a new campground. Services that used to be provided by park staff, such as cutting firewood, maintaining hiking trails, and sanitation services, are being turned ov...
In this episode, Mike and Amy go to Regina Beach for some fun in the sun, and to talk to people about Crown Corporations. What do you think of our video series so far? Feel free to comment on our Facebook Page. ...
When we think global telecommunications, we tend to think about the large, innovative, multi-national organizations developing technology that gets used around the world. However, we often forget about some of the highly innovative organizations that are steps ahead many companies around the world. You don’t need to look very far if you want to find one of these organizations that we speak of. SaskTel has made an incredible contribution to the telecommunication industry both at home, and around the world, for decades. In 1984, this Crown Corporation who was known for offering phone servi...
An industry that once consisted of smoke signals and telegrams has evolved into fiber optic networks and High Speed internet service. Telecommunication is constantly changing and being upgraded. Where hand written letters are replaced with E-mails and text messages which allow people to connect nearly instantly. Television dials have been traded in for digital video recorders and 3-dimensional programming.According to the Worldwide Telecommunications Industry Revenues by Plunkett Research, Ltd. the global telecommunications industry represented nearly $4 trillion in revenue in 2008. ...
At a news conference on Tuesday, president and CEO of SaskTel, Ron Styles announced the Crown Corporation will be spending $670 million over the next 7 years to expand bandwidth and SaskTel services throughout the province. This ambitious plan, according the Leader Post, includes spending $199 million in 2011 in the following areas: $52 million to continue construction of 4G (fourth generation) wireless network, which will increase bandwidth by four times up to 21 Mbps download speed; $27 million for a rural infrastructure program, including $15 million to upgrade highspeed Internet serv...
Our current government continues to enter into power deals that protect private companies from increased fuel costs but pass increased costs onto Saskatchewan citizens. In February 2010, SaskPower entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ontario-based Northland Power Income Fund. Construction began near North Battleford in July 2010, with the plant scheduled to begin operations in 2013. Once fully operational Northland Power will produce 347 megawatts of base load power, representing nearly 10% of the power generated in Saskatchewan. According to a Northland Power news rele...
In March, 2010 SaskTel announced the divesture of Hospitality Network (HospNet) and AgDealer. As well, SaskTel will be selling its real estate investment in Saskatoon Square and remain a tenant of the property. According to the Leader-Post, HospNet, also known as Hospitality Network, rents TVs and phones to hospital and nursing home patients across the country. Hospitality Network Canada Inc. had operating revenues of $29.4 million, in 2008. AgDealer, which is a trader-type magazine and website for agricultural equipment produced through DirectWest, while Saskatoon Square is a commercial bui...
Following a government mandate to sell off “non-core” businesses SaskTel announced last week it was dumping two companies and a real estate investment.Hospitality Network (HospNet) and AgDealer are on the sale block as well as SaskTel selling its real estate investment in Saskatoon Square while remaining a tenant of the property.This follows the Saskatchewan First Policy which was first adopted by our current government in 2008. Although it is called a ‘policy framework’ according a news release, it is unclear whether a formal written policy has even been produc...
In a new Canadian survey done by Consumer Reports, SaskTel scored extremely well compared to other large players in the cell phone industry including Rogers, Telus, and Bell Mobility. With some 14,000 Canadians surveyed, with the exception of SaskTel and Virgin Mobile the most common complaint from cell phone users was the price associated with their service. SaskTel also saw the highest ratings in areas including voice connectivity and customer service. According to Consumer Reports, "With standout service from SaskTel and solid service from MTS, prairie residents have fine choices." To v...
SaskTel has issued a “Stop Sell” on SaskTel Wireless Broadband Internet (WBBI) and SaskTel Satellite Internet in 15 communities across Saskatchewan, and has turned the business over to two private firms; YourLink Inc. and RFNow Inc. In direct opposition to their own SaskFirst Policy, this government is allowing private companies based outside of Saskatchewan to reap the benefits of providing internet access to rural Saskatchewan customers. YourLink Inc. is a subsidiary of Vecima Networks Inc which has headquarters in Victoria, BC while RFNow is based in Virden, MB. Following the ...
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