CEO works to develop business capacity of Willow Lake Metis Nation


Justin Bourque is CEO of the Willow Lake Metis Nation.

He started his career young, graduating from the registered apprentice and CO-OP programs to become a journeyman welder at just 20 years old.

For the next 10 years, Bourque worked as tradesman and completed his dual ticket in pipefitting.

He then spent 22 years in the oil and gas industry in key roles, achieving his project management professional designation in 2012.

Since early 2019, Bourque has worked for his home community of Willow Lake Metis Nation and was recently involved in the development of a partnership with Steel River Group.  Steel Willow Resources LP is a joint entity that will explore regional opportunities in a variety of sectors.

A press statement in June to announce the partnership says the joint entity will explore business opportunities within the regions of the Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Lac La Biche, Anzac, Fort McMurray, Cold Lake, and North East Saskatchewan, in such sectors as oil and gas, mining, civil, infrastructure, environmental, and water care.

After a meeting with Steel River Group, Bourque realized the company had similar values to Willow Lake Metis Nation.

“It made the conversation very smooth, and, really, the relationship kicked off with a bang.” The partnership is to provide capacity and a suite of services and expertise.

“By leveraging their expertise we are able to start providing a suite of services.”

Steel Willow Resources becomes a vehicle by which Steel River Energy, with the group’s other entities, and Willow Lake Metis Nation will work together with common interests and provide value for both organizations—value in dollars through business ventures and value in capacity, Bourque said.