Answering the Call

There isn’t a single organization in Saskatchewan that’s doing what Access Communications Co-operative Limited is doing. Others may provide cable and high-speed Internet, but the nonprofit, community-owned cooperative reinvests 100 percent of its profits back into the communities it serves. Measuring the impact Access Communications has had on local communities is a near-impossible task, but HR manager Carole Sauer helps guide the organization as it becomes a critical partner to its surroundings.

Saskatchewan’s Access Communications goes above and beyond the call of duty

Access Communications is different than other organizations in a lot of ways. We reinvest 100 percent of our earnings back in to our products and services, and we do not pay dividends to members, like most cooperatives. We are committed to corporate social responsibility in Saskatchewan. More than five percent of broadcast revenues are devoted to Access 7 community programming channel in over 80 communities. Over 1,600 community groups are supported through sponsorships, promotion of Access 7, and the Access’s Children’s Fund charity, which provides funding to at-risk kids and those in need. Any nonprofit organizations in need can submit a form for consideration on our website. We’ve funded children’s libraries, charities in need, and everything in between. We also have our Centennial Scholarship program, which provides over $35,000 in scholarships to local graduating students annually.

By the Numbers

 

$450k+
Amount the Children’s Fund has invested in local nonprofits since 2006 

150
Volunteers

$125 mil.
Percentage of referrals by word of mouth

$145k
Amount given to local students in the form of scholarships since 2005

220
Communities served by Access Communications

What we provide our customers is also significant and diverse. We provide competitive products and services, and we continually focus on providing best-in-class customer service and local community programming that reflects the diverse populations we serve. A parent who couldn’t attend his or her child’s SJHA hockey game can watch the game on Access Channel 7 or purchase the DVD. Our local programming covers music, dance, sports, and civic events, but community members also produce their own programming. It’s our goal to provide programming that encompasses all generations, though we do have some long-standing favourites like our Saturday night show, Polka Rama, and In The Huddle, a show about the Saskatchewan Roughrider’s football season.

If I had to sum us up, I’d say we’re employee centred, customer focused, and community orientated. We define the success of our business by how we live our core values; they define how we treat each other, and we incorporate this philosophy into everything we do for our staff and customers. The big picture for us always includes the local community: it’s built into our value system and goes beyond corporate responsibility. It’s about civic engagement. Our CEO personally speaks to new hires in orientation and makes them aware of what we’re about. We strive to build a culture of empowerment—we want to empower our employees to be leaders in their communities.

We’re a midsize organization that’s been around almost 40 years, and even though things are very competitive between communications providers in Saskatchewan and Canada, our business model has served us well. Our success speaks to our staff’s dedication to Access. We compete with much larger companies for talent and brand awareness, so employees who choose to work with us do so because they believe in our mission and in the work we’re doing. Our staff works very hard to achieve our community goals. We never lose sight of who we are or where we come from.