Railways 101

Member Profile | Cando Rail & Terminals Ltd.

When it comes to sustainability, ‘can-do’ isn’t just a name, it’s an ethos.

Brandon-based Cando Rail & Terminals Ltd. got its start as a rail salvage company and found success in making all that was old new again.

In 1978, Cando’s co-founder, Gord Peters, quit an oilfield job when he and partner Rick Hammond found a neat niche: ripping old rail track out of abandoned lines across rural Canada, and repurposing it in environmentally responsible ways.

By the 1990s, Cando pivoted to rail switching and storage for corporate customers in Ontario, Manitoba, and points west. A short-line rail investment followed. Today, the company owns rail terminals from BC to Southern Ontario and operates at more than 45 sites across North America.

Despite changes to the business over the years, the company has remained committed to serving communities in meaningful ways.

That ‘Cando Spirit,’ as the company refers to its corporate culture, has helped feed and formalize Cando’s sustainability plan in recent months.

“There is big focus today on ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) but there’s a lot involved in that and it can be overwhelming for smaller companies to know where to start,” says Julie Pomehichuk, Cando’s director of marketing and communications. “But we recognize a sense of community is where we came from. It is built into the foundation of our company. So, we started with community mindedness and will expand from there.”

Cando’s sustainability plan is grounded in four pillars: environmental stewardship, indigenous relations, workforce/people, and community relations.

And, as Cando assigns performance indicators, targets, and data collection activities to each, Pomehichuk says the process of thinking about sustainability in new ways has got people at all levels of the company “reflecting on their own opportunities to contribute.”

She points to early successes like an 11% emissions reduction in one year on Cando’s short-line operations. She also says 75% of Cando employees in Hay River, NWT self-identify as Indigenous after holding the company decided to hold a job fair at the local Aboriginal Communities’ Friendship Centre.

The company also has a share-purchasing program and will match employees’ charitable contributions to deepen roots in the communities it serves.

And, Pomehichuk says, more is on the horizon as part of the sustainability plan.

“While it’s who we have always been, sustainability is truly an intentional thing for our employees and our supply chain partners,” she says. “It’s becoming increasingly more important and we want to stay ahead of the curve. It’s our name: We *can do* anything.”

Name: Cando Rail & Terminals Ltd.
Founded: 1978
CEO: Brian Cornick
Offices: Edmonton, AB; Calgary, AB; Saskatoon, SK; Brandon, MB; Winnipeg, MB; Whitby, ON
Employees: 925