ABS Seeks to add to its growing list of First Nations partners

Posted on March 10, 2021 in News. Tags:

Ron Hyggen, CEO of ABS, Muskowekwan First Nation Chief Reginald Bellerose, Kawacatoose First Nation Chief Dennis Dustyhorn, and Day Star First Nation Chief Lloyd Buffalo sign an MOU to provide security services at BHP Billiton’s Jansen site in 2015.

Athabasca Basin Security (ABS) has an excellent track record of employing local people in the Athabasca Basin. “Most of our sites are nearly 100% local employees,” says Ron Hyggen, CEO of ABS. “We have a solid plan in place for developing and promoting our employees, which means we have a very low turnover rate and many of our management positions are filled by Indigenous people.”

But new opportunities in the Athabasca region area were limited. In order to grow the company, ABS had to look outside the north. ABS created its first partnership outside the Athabasca region in 2015, and that partnership with Kawakatoose, Daystar and Muskowekwan (KDM) remains to this day. “We partnered with KDM 6 years ago and basically, we provide the training, and the communities provide employees,” says Ron. “We did a lot of work to ensure that it met the needs of our First Nations partners, our employees, and us. This forward-looking approach has provided careers and a foundation for these employees to better the lives of their families.”

“Looking back, this agreement has been a huge win for all parties involved,” says Reg Bellerose of Muskowekwan First Nation. “A key for our people to move forward was to get things in writing, into legally binding documents that we can move into a more predictable place and build for the future. This particular agreement has made a difference towards our goal of providing people in our communities with access to education, training, and employment in a long-term, meaningful career.”

Today, ABS has active partnerships with 15 First Nations across BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and ABS is continually looking for more. “I think the spirit of cooperation that we have fostered has resulted in some big wins for both us and for partner communities,” says Ron. “We currently have 74% Indigenous employment across Athabasca Basin Security, including many in senior positions, and we couldn’t have achieved that without our partnerships.”