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MBI Business Brief – June 24, 2022

Portage Mutual Insurance announces CEO changes

Portage Mutual Insurance announced on June 23 that current president and CEO John Mitchell will retire on December 31, 2022. Mitchell has worked at Portage Mutual for 39 years, serving as president and CEO since 2010.

“John’s commitment to the success of our employees and a focus on the service provided to our policyholders and brokers have been the hallmarks of his career,” said Brent Gilbert, Portage Mutual Insurance board chair. “He has also worked with the Board to update and improve our corporate governance practices and procedures. The Board of Directors wishes him well on his retirement.”

Incoming president and CEO Wayne Wyborn joined the company in 1986 and was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2010.

“I am thrilled to lead a great team of dedicated professionals as we embark on a new five-year plan. Our focus on building an agile and innovative culture will position the company for even greater success moving forward,” said Wyborn. “Our industry has many challenges, but I am confident that we have the people, skills, and dedication necessary to serve and protect our policyholders now and into the future.”

Established in 1884, Portage Mutual Insurance is a policyholder owned property and casualty insurance company with a head office in Portage la Prairie, Man.

Viterra holds grand opening for Rosser Grain Terminal

Viterra Canada Inc. (Viterra) hosted a grand opening on June 22 at its new high throughput grain facility at Rosser, Man. The facility can load up to 156 railcars through a loop track and capacity to store 34,000 metric tonnes.

“Viterra has been working side by side with Manitoba farmers for over 100 years, connecting them to markets around the world. During this time, we’ve evolved and adapted our business so that we can continue to provide the best service in the industry and ensure that we remain a leader,” said Kyle Jeworski, Viterra’s CEO for North America.

Protein Industries Canada announces AGM and conference date

Protein Industries Canada will host its in-person annual general meeting and conference on September 13 and 14, 2022 at the Hotel Fairmont Winnipeg. The event begins Sept. 13 at Roquette Canada’s facility in Portage la Prairie, followed by an evening networking reception. The AGM and a full day of speakers and panels will be held Sept. 14.

New finance app available in Western Canada

Hardbacon, a Montreal-based finance application firm, announced its new relationship with Square One, the home insurance provider, this week.

The partnership will allow Hardbacon app users in Western Canada to shop for home insurance. The app’s home insurance comparison tool lets users shop and compare home insurance offers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

“We are very excited to collaborate with a strong partner in Western Canada, like Square One, to further support our users across the country,” said Julien Brault, Hardbacon’s CEO. “Now more than ever, Canadians are looking to save and we are making it easier than ever to save on home insurance.”

The announcement comes after an equity round last month.

“The home insurance industry hasn’t changed since the 1970s, but working with companies like Hardbacon we’re able to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” said Daniel Mirkovic, president at Square One. “We’re excited to work together and continue to offer a better home insurance experience across Canada.”

CN investing $160 Million in Manitoba

CN Rail announced on June 23 that the company plans to invest $160 million in Manitoba in 2022, aimed at technology, capacity, rolling stock units, decarbonization initiatives, and network improvements.

“We continue to make significant investments in our network, technology, and capacity. We are building the premier railroad of the 21st century to do even more for our customers, railroaders, shareholders, and the communities in which we operate,” said Sean Finn, executive vice-president, corporate services and chief legal officer.

CN’s plans for Manitoba include replacing 10 miles of rail, rebuilding 12 road crossing surfaces, and maintenance on bridges, culverts, signal systems, and other track infrastructure

MITT and Government of Manitoba open new welding shop

June 20 saw the opening of the expanded state-of-the-art welding shop at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT). The shop was expanded with a $4.5 million investment from the government of Manitoba. The project is the largest expansion by MITT in over 20 years.

“Welding is one of the most in-demand trades in Manitoba and this project will play a pivotal role in training welders in the province with hands-on skill development,” said Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes. “The funding is part of the Manitoba government’s investment in the province’s education and training strategy that ensures the future workforce has more opportunities to learn and develop the skills they need to land in-demand jobs in Manitoba.”

“We are so pleased to open this expansion to the weld shop,” said Ray Karasevich, president & CEO, MITT. “We hear from industry every week that there is a critical shortage of welders in the labour force and know this space will make room for more students at the high school and post-secondary levels as well as short-term training specifically for industry.”


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