Donor Stories

Canada Life Committed to Community

Canada LifeAs a leading provider of life and health insurance, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life know that health and well-being are priorities for many Canadians. Saskatchewan Hospital is the only psychiatric rehabilitation treatment facility in the province, and the new hospital reflects the change and future of mental health care.

Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life saw the need and generously supported the New Beginnings campaign with a donation of $150,000. They view this new facility as a place that can help patients reclaim their independence and reintegrate into the community. They recognize this facility will ensure those suffering from a mental illness can get the help they need, when they need it.

“Working with a company that has such a commitment to giving back to the people it serves has been wonderful,” said Corinne Bernier Delainey, New Beginnings campaign lead. “We are overwhelmed by their generous spirit and commitment to making our piece of the world a better place for those living with mental illness.”

Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life are committed to building psychologically healthy and safe workplaces. A workplace that fosters fundamental areas such as building resilience, providing clarity about workplace expectations and supporting performance can not only lead to operational success, but can support the success of the community as a whole.

Through their employees and distribution associates, the company is connected by a shared value to give back and help build stronger communities. Through employee and distribution associate volunteering, workplace campaigns and corporate donations, they’re helping to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Every year, through its Community Relations department, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life sponsor projects that span five main areas: education, health and wellness, arts, social services and community development. In 2017, this equaled 750 initiatives, providing more than $3 million in support of 246 health-focused initiatives and projects across Canada.

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Sky-Tech/Halewich Family

Sky-Tech Cheque Presentation with cutline

The Halewich Families, Myron & June along with their children Bill and Brenda, Donna and Ivan, Theresa and Al, and Dale and Angie, recognize that mental health is increasingly important across Saskatchewan and in our community as it affects so many including colleagues, clients, and loved ones. 

As such, their family business, Sky-Tech Equipment, has donated $50,000 to the Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings Fundraising Campaign to help purchase the necessary medical equipment and furniture for the new Saskatchewan Hospital currently under construction in North Battleford.  The coffee shop and canteen in the new facility will be named the Sky-Tech Café in recognition of the donation. 

The Halewich Families own and operate Sky-Tech Equipment, a local business specializing in construction equipment rentals such as boom lifts, scissor lifts, telescopic forklifts, excavators, skid steers, etc.  In 1994 the first piece of equipment, a forklift, was bought and there was no looking back.  Over the years we have had to expand with the needs of our customers.  We sometimes go through periods where we can’t keep a forklift in the yard and sometimes it’s a different piece of equipment like the boom lifts that are in high demand depending on what projects are going on in the area.  We also have equipment that is in higher demand depending on the season, such as heaters and skid steers, and mini excavators.  If we don’t have a piece of equipment in our fleet that a contractor requires, occasionally we will bring one in to satisfy their needs.  To date we have over 300 pieces of equipment in our fleet.    

Here at Sky-Tech Equipment we believe in giving back to the community in which we live and work, whether it be with donations to the local kids who come in for support for their sports teams/clubs, donations to local organizations that need support to make their events successful, or programs such as “Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings” who need our help to support mental health care for the citizens of Saskatchewan.  Our success over the years has not only been with lots of hard work, but has been in part of the support of others.  We believe that we have a responsibility to give back to our community, and in doing so it creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone successful.

We are grateful to have been a part of the Saskatchewan Hospital project, one of the largest construction projects in the Battlefords to date. We would like to acknowledge and thank Graham Construction and their sub-contractors for supporting our local business through the construction of this new hospital, as it is their support of our business that allows us to return that support to the New Beginnings Campaign.

The Halewich Families and Sky-Tech Equipment have deep roots in our community and a rich heritage of giving back.  We are excited to partner with the Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings Campaign on this special project that will benefit so many.  Early on in the “New Beginnings Campaign” there was a challenge issued to all other Families and Businesses to contribute to this campaign.  We are accepting this challenge and taking it one step further to challenge all the other rental companies in the province, especially those that were a part of the Saskatchewan Hospital Project.  


Les & Irene Dubé

Les & Irene2Paving a Pathway to Mental Health with Hope

“God puts everyone on Earth for a reason,” begins Irene Dubé. “Ours is helping, doing whatever we can for whomever we can.” Her husband, Leslie, nods in agreement: “All good things come from God,” he says. “God is so good to us and put us in a position to give.”

Giving is an integral part of Leslie and Irene’s lives. Their long history of philanthropy focuses on supporting health, education, poverty and faith causes and organizations through donating and volunteering. Leslie volunteered extensively with Boards and church councils. Irene recalls a time in Calgary at their church, where she and Leslie would make 400 sandwiches a day for the hungry. Now, they see how critical volunteers are to philanthropy. “It’s incredible how much volunteers give, it brings tears to my eyes,” says Irene. “Volunteers are stewards of our gifts too.”

Specifically, the Dubé’s healthcare path is one that encompasses all aspects – from birth to death, hospice care and ailments that affect people, their lives, and their loved ones.

This long list includes the Leslie and Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health at Royal University Hospital; Saskatoon City Hospital Breast Cancer Centre; the MRI Suite, the Urology Centre, and a 15 bed section special care overflow ICU at St Paul’s Hospital, all to “make life better for people”; and Sanctum 1.5, an HIV Prenatal home that works to keep moms and babies together.

Helping Create a Powerful Province with the Best Health Care

When they lived in Calgary, the Dubé’s saw the possibilities of elevated health care and overall, how generosity can impact many. They wanted this for their home province and saw no reason why Saskatchewan couldn’t have what other provinces have. “We’re not a big province but we're not a little province,” says Irene. “We are a powerful province.”

The Dubé’s understand that while health care is a government responsibility, there just isn’t enough money to provide the level of care people expect. This is partially why they chose to give to the Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings Campaign – to help equip and furnish the hospital of tomorrow. From other health care projects, they know that health field equipment becomes obsolete, and facilities need new equipment for a higher level of care.

To ensure patients receive this high level of care in warm, welcoming spaces, with specialized, recovery-focused mental health care, Leslie and Irene donated $1,000,000 to the new Saskatchewan Hospital for the state of the art equipment and furnishings.

As a thank you, the new entry to the Hospital will be named “Leslie & Irene Dubé Pathway to Mental Health.”

Inspiring Hope Through Mental Health Care

Leslie and Irene recognize this new hospital will inspire hope. This is a common theme through their past giving, such as to the Mental Health Centre named after them and the Dubé Lighthouse – “an integral part of what we do.”

The New Saskatchewan Hospital offers hope. “The old hospital is not inhabitable,” says Leslie. “People are not there because they want to be there. So, patients need a place with proper care, food, a place to live and to heal. A place with natural light, where they can see stars, the sky, and breathe fresh air.”

“Proper re-entry into the world is important,” he continues. “To do this, people need healing spaces with lots of communal areas, exercise equipment, and privacy.”

The Dube’s have compassion for the staff who care for the patients. “They too deserve a decent place to work to care for those who are ill,” adds Irene.

“When someone breaks an arm, we take care of them,” says Irene. “But when they struggle mentally, it’s frowned upon and too many slip through the cracks.” She pauses. “No one should be punished for being ill.”

“People don’t choose mental illness,” says Leslie. “While patients need to be in a hospital receiving treatment, we have a responsibility to help make life better for them.”

Following the principles of their faith, Leslie and Irene want to continue to reach out to those less fortunate, to help the poor and those who are most vulnerable in our province. Thanks to their generosity to the New Beginnings Campaign, the vulnerable in our province suffering from mental illness will soon have a beautiful home environment at the new Saskatchewan Hospital, to live and interact, while receiving the highest level of care and building hope.

The Dubé’s share their gift with the community in hopes it will help others become more generous.  “It’s up to everyone to help those in need,” says Leslie.


Mary Ellen Buckwold

Mary Ellen Buckwold and her late husband, Ian, have always been committed to giving back to their Mary Ellen-croppedcommunity, as financial supporters and as volunteers. When their son got sick, their focus for giving both their time and money shifted to mental health initiatives.

“Supporting mental health initiatives in Saskatchewan is very important to me and my family,” says Mary Ellen. “My son is under the care of the Saskatchewan Hospital and it’s important to me to contribute to a new, innovative facility that can support his, and others’, needs.”

Mary Ellen has experienced the “excellent care” the current hospital staff provides for her son and the patients, including the treatment plans and life skill programs. However, she believes that “recovery and healing in a hospital should be as positive of an experience as possible.”

From visiting her son, Mary Ellen knows first hand the deteriorating state of the original hospital, built in 1905. The facility needs major improvements to be able to better support the care of its patients. “Everything is so old. Bedrooms are crowded, people have to share very few bathrooms, and it’s not well lit. It’s not conducive for healing.”

Mary Ellen’s personal connection, her focus on mental health initiatives and the need for a new hospital with furnishings and equipment to provide the highest quality of care are part of why she chose to serve as Regional Chair of the New Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings Campaign.

Mary Ellen is also donating $50,000 to the New Beginnings Campaign. The new Saskatchewan Hospital is thanking Mary Ellen and recognizing her generosity by naming the Historic Foot Bridge on the site in honour of her and Ian. “It’s a privilege to support the New Beginnings Campaign with my money and time,” says Mary Ellen.

“It’s important to build a modern space that would allow the treatment teams to have equipment, furnishings, everything really at their disposal for the best treatment plan and within a patient-centred environment,” says Mary Ellen. “For my son, a welcoming and healing environment built on empathy and hope is critical. Everything is in one spot: the psychiatrists, job therapy, gym, all the activities, especially music for him and his natural talent – these all help with his healing,” she continues.

Mary Ellen knows that each patient benefits from individualized treatment, specialized programming, dedicated staff and the time to heal. “Each patient deserves to heal with dignity, with privacy, and in a welcoming, modern environment. The new hospital will allow a broader spectrum for engagement in recovery as well as improved living conditions for the patients.”

Mary Ellen sees this new hospital as an opportunity to introduce what present-day mental health care looks like and how Saskatchewan Hospital can demonstrate it’s an integral part of health care in our province.

“I am hopeful that people are shifting their perspective towards people who suffer from mental health challenges. It is important to me that we all keep working to end stigma and improve healthcare of individuals who need mental health support,” says Mary Ellen. She believes it’s critical for Saskatchewan to take the lead in innovating and improving care for individuals with mental health needs. “I am hopeful that over time anyone who is suffering will feel that they can seek help without judgment. The other piece of that puzzle is the desire to have services available to provide those suffering with the help and care they need.”

Mary Ellen is especially proud of her friends Les and Irene Dubé and their ongoing support and contributions. In fact, Mary Ellen and Ian got started when their friends approached them to support the Irene & Leslie Dubé Centre for Mental Health. “Over the years, their commitment to mental health in Saskatchewan has made an astounding difference to the community,” says Mary Ellen.

“The Battlefords community has been an excellent support system for the past 105 years. I am confident the community will continue to support the patients of the new hospital to ensure they are thriving and engaged in the wider community,” says Mary Ellen about the impact the hospital, its staff and patients have had locally.

As for the new hospital currently under construction, set to open later in 2018: “I’m excited for everything about it!” exclaims Mary Ellen. “The new hospital will provide the positive experience and healing environment people need. I’m confident the staff will continue to provide the highest quality of care. Now they will have essential, state-of-the-art equipment and furnishings required to best treat their patients.”

“People going into the new Saskatchewan Hospital will enjoy a welcoming atmosphere, state of the art furnishings, and essential equipment for their treatment. They will experience new beginnings for their lives.”

Thank You Innovation Credit Union

Innovation GiftThe generous $100,000 gift from Innovation Credit Union to the Saskatchewan Hospital New Beginnings Fundraising Campaign will be used to purchase medical equipment and furniture for the new Saskatchewan Hospital under construction in North Battleford. 

“We are extremely grateful to Innovation Credit Union for this wonderful gift,” said Corinne Bernier Delainey, New Beginnings Fundraising Lead. “This will help us to create the healing spaces so desperately needed for our patients.”

 “The new SHNB will provide the most vulnerable in our society the caring, compassion and time to heal that is essential to recovery and lies at the very heart of mental health care,” said Innovation CEO Daniel Johnson. “We are proud to be part of this campaign.”

The patient business centre in the new facility will be named the Innovation Credit Union Patient Business Centre in recognition of the donation, and is part of the vocational therapy program. Patients will have access to a vocational therapist who will assist them with essential employment skills such as resumé building, interviewing, job searching, training and apprenticing.

“When you consider that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience at least one form of mental illness at some point in their lives; and that this also impacts their loved ones, you realize how we are all affected in one way or another,” Johnson said. “We’re proud supporters of mental health and mental health awareness. This hospital will truly transform lives.”

Innovation Credit Union is proud to provide funding to non-profit, charitable organizations that will directly benefit their many communities. Innovation has a long-standing commitment to improving the well-being of its member communities. They provide broad support to the communities they serve with goals of positive economic, social, and environmental change.

Conexus Credit Union Donor Story

Conexus Cheque PresentationConexus is a local forward thinking credit union with many innovative firsts. As Saskatchewan's largest and Canada's sixth largest credit union with 39 branches and 900 employees across the province, our members' financial well-being drives everything we do. It's not just something we say, it’s the basis for every decision we make.

“Saskatchewan is a community built on people helping people, where we donate our time and resources to give back to those in need,” says Eric Dillion, CEO.   “Conexus has deep roots in our communities and a rich heritage of giving back.   We're excited to partner with the Saskatchewan Hospital on this special project that will benefit so many.   We are humbled by the challenges patients over come on a daily basis and celebrate the courage and commitment to recovery.  Partnering together with other likeminded donors, we can ensure that everyone has access to the care they need for a healthier future in Saskatchewan.”
As a community-minded co-operative, it is our goal to help our province and our members get to a better place financially.   One way we do this is through our Community Investment Program.  Each year our Board allocates a percentage of our pre-taxed profits to be invested back into the communities we serve.  Our program is focused on ensuring we are providing opportunities for our members and communities to have access to financial literacy education and programs addressing basic human needs in the areas of education, food, shelter and health services.
In 2017, Conexus provided over $1.05 million dollars in financial support to non-profit and charitable organizations for more than 100 initiatives in 22 centres through the Community Investment Program.  We support the growth of our members, our communities and Saskatchewan in a way that creates life-long learning and financial well-being. 
The Quality of Life rehabilitation centre in the new facility will be named the Conexus Credit Union Quality of Life Centre in recognition of our $100,000 donation. The programming at this rehabilitation centre provides opportunities that enable clients to engage in supervised and individual goal-directed activities in a safe and supportive work setting. It also focusses on life skills training that helps prepare clients to live independently.
“We are thrilled to have Conexus Credit Union join us in this campaign,” said Corinne Bernier Delainey, New Beginnings Fundraising Lead. “Their $100,000 donation will go a long way in improving the lives of the people who come to Saskatchewan Hospital for care.”

The Hanlon Family

Thanks to the $100,000 donation from the Hanlon Family, patients at Saskatchewan Hospital are that Hanlon Familymuch closer to having their dreams come true. The Hanlon’s gift will help to purchase much needed medical equipment and furniture for the new hospital.

"We are so pleased to be a part of this project,” said Ted Hanlon, on behalf of his family’s Anluan Foundation.   “Giving back to our communities is very important to our family and the new hospital will help so many people from all across our province. We felt it was critical to support mental health in Saskatchewan and knew we wanted to do it through a donation to the new hospital.”

A rich history in Saskatchewan has fostered the importance of family and community for Ted Hanlon and his family. The Hanlons homesteaded in southwest Saskatchewan and have been strong supporters of health and education in Saskatchewan. They support the hospital and new senior home in Swift Current as well as the University of Saskatchewan’s business school.

Ted’s explains their gifts to education and healthcare as family driven, “I have a daughter and granddaughter who are both nurses and we have three generations – myself, my son and my grandson – who are graduates of Edwards School of Business at the U of S.”

Ted’s career started as a Chartered Accountant and later became a businessman in the energy industry in Swift Current. During this time and after moving to Calgary, Ted was Chairman of the Saskatchewan Economic Development Corporation, Wascana Energy Inc. (Saskoil) and the first heavy oil upgrader is Canada, Newgrade Energy Inc.

“So we have much Saskatchewan content and therefore are pleased and proud to be able to assist your worthy project,” he said. Ted comes from a family who got their start in Saskatchewan in a sod hut, when his grandfather homesteaded near Shaunavon. “They had 16 children, 14 survived childbirth, and my grandfather passed at the age of 55. Our heritage is very important.”

In recognition of their generous gift, the Hanlon Family will have the Multipurpose Conference Centre named in their honour. The Hanlon Conference Centre will increase the hospital’s capacity to hold large meetings and presentations. It will be used for hospital teaching and staff orientations, in addition to educational opportunities for patients, health region employees, students and the general public. Providing a highly visible, modern and customizable space, it will be equipped with state-of-the-art audio, video and presentation technology.

“To have the Hanlons’ join us in this campaign means the world to us,” said Corinne Bernier Delainey, New Beginnings Fundraising Lead. “Their donation, together with all the others, will help us create a home-like and healing environment for our patients.”

The New Beginnings campaign is raising $8 Million for the needed medical equipment and furnishings for the new Saskatchewan Hospital currently under construction in North Battleford.