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Saskatchewan partners with First Nations entrepreneurs on new highway traffic signs

Peter Ballantyne Chief Peter Beatty, left, said the partnership will create jobs for his community. Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/Global News

Some new signs coming to Saskatchewan roads will be made by First Nation entrepreneurs.

The province is working with SAGE Roadway Signs on a six-month pilot program to supply highway traffic signs.

SAGE is a division of Saskatoon-based JNE Welding, which is partially owned by the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and English River First Nation.

Peter Ballantyne Chief Peter Beatty said the program will create much-needed jobs for his community.

Read more: Saskatchewan’s $8.5M investment fund for First Nations fails to create jobs

“To get employment, stable employment, I think is the greatest benefit that we can look forward to,” he said, adding that there are welders in his Cree nation.

“We always have people looking for employment … It’s going to benefit that individual, it’s going to benefit our Cree nation, it’s going to benefit the people and the economy of Saskatchewan.”

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The company is currently hiring two positions but has plans to employ a dozen people.

Greg Ottenbreit, minister of highways and infrastructure, said the partnership will help Saskatchewan’s economy and help companies grow amid the pandemic.

Read more: Saskatchewan’s economy will return to pre-coronavirus level in 2022, finance minister says

“Growth is essential as we seek to rebound from the economic impact of COVID-19,” he said.

The project will see some 3,000 signs made by SAGE, including stop and speed limit signs.