The Operations Division of the Saskatchewan Department of Economic and Co-operative Development was established in July, 1998 as a result of a departmental reorganization. It was responsible for the administration and delivery of programs and services that encouraged the growth of Saskatchewan businesses and co-operatives. The Division was comprised of four branches or units: Regional Services Branch; Business Development Unit; Program Development and Support Branch; and Special Projects Branch.
The Regional Services Branch provided support for business and co-operative development from eight regional offices throughout Saskatchewan: Regina, Estevan, Moose Jaw and Swift Current (which comprised the TransCanada Region); and Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert and Yorkton (the Yellowhead Region). The Branch was responsible for providing and managing services for business, co-operative, and community economic development projects; assessing the value-added business needs of clients and supplying them with matching programs and services; supporting the development of Regional Economic Development Authorities (REDA) and related initiatives; and supporting the Canada-Saskatchewan Business Service Centre in its efforts to provide an efficient information service to Saskatchewan businesses.
The Business Development Unit was responsible for enhancing the growth and diversity of value-added and knowledge-based industries in Saskatchewan. It focused on the key areas of investment attraction, infrastructure development, industrial development and client service. The Unit was organized by priority sectors with each business development manager being responsible for one or more sectors.
The Program Development and Support Branch was responsible for the management and delivery of programs and services for business, co-operative and regional economic development projects. The Branch was comprised of three units: Regional Programs; Co-operative and Community Economic Development; and Investment Services. The Regional Programs Unit delivered support and services for participants in Regional Economic Development Authority grant projects. The Co-operative and Community Economic Development Unit focused on the delivery of: co-operative sector relations and liaison; co-operative development and diversification projects; new co-operatives projects; co-operative models for community development and community economic development; resource material, research, and promotion; and monitoring the legislative and regulatory environment affecting co-operatives. The Investment Services Unit promoted the development and growth of Saskatchewan businesses through the Labour-sponsored Venture Capital Corporation Program; business immigration initiatives such as the Provincial Nominee Program and Immigrant Investor Program; the Small Business Loans Association Program; and the Youth PACE (Provincial Action Committee on the Economy).
The Special Projects Branch was responsible for participation in intra/intersectoral, high-priority economic development projects. The Branch provided consultation and negotiation services for projects involving senior government and industry officials from sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, media, and technology.
In advance of the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the Division was further reorganized. Within the Regional Services Branch, the TransCanada and Yellowhead regions were eliminated. Subsequently, the eight regional offices reported to the executive director of the Regional Economic Development Authority. As a result of the change in reporting structure, the Branch was renamed as the Regional Economic Development Services Branch. Additionally, the Special Projects Branch was eliminated. The responsibilities of the Branch were reassigned to staff in other areas of the Department.
The Operations Division was disestablished in September, 2000 as a result of a departmental reorganization. Responsibilities of the Division were reassigned to the Community Economic and Business Development Division and the Investment and Corporate Services Division of the Department.