The City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan have a longstanding history of collaboration and partnerships dating back over 40 years, which has strengthened communities through education, research and engagement.

That relationship was reaffirmed in 2018 when the two signed a memorandum of understanding to explore collaborations that will address issues related to urban planning, land development, reconciliation, transit and research collaborations.

Fast forward to today, both USask and the City of Saskatoon are focused on efforts to partner to be more purposeful and deliberate in the areas of strategic infill, transportation, sustainability initiatives, recreation, joint research projects and student learning opportunities. In addition, many of the discoveries made by faculty members and students continue to be relevant to cities, such as in the areas of urban planning.

Since 2018, City of Saskatoon and USask have partnered to advance:

Reconciliation initiatives

This initiative aims to build capacity within the community for a better quality of life for urban Indigenous peoples through community engagement, youth mentorship, creation of urban cultural spaces and balanced engagement of First Nations and Métis communities.

Orange Banner Campaign

The Orange Banner Project is an initiative of the Saskatoon Tribal Council and the City of Saskatoon with strong support from Reconciliation Saskatoon and USask. It’s intended to honour the children that didn’t make it home, the ones who made it home, and the ones that are still lost and away from the home fires. It’s also a way to raise awareness about Why Reconciliation Matters. Every individual featured on a banner is a Residential School Survivor or the descendent of a Residential School Survivor.

A total of 250 banners were hung along a route connecting the west and east sides of the city, signifying the need to build bridges throughout our city. This included hanging banners along College Drive recognizing the importance of education and higher learning.

Reconciliation Saskatoon

Ongoing collaboration with Reconciliation Saskatoon continues to build capacity to engage, unite and mobilize the community in Reconciliation. These activities offer Saskatoon residents the opportunity to learn, in a safe environment, about the residential schools, their ongoing legacy today, and also the incredible resilience and strength of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous community. 

Creating sharing spaces

Through partnerships with Meewasin, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Saskatoon Police Service, work is underway to create spaces that allow for sharing, teaching, learning and cultural revitalization, while also supporting mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.

Infrastructure and land development

Principles and rules of engagement have been set and agreed upon between the two organizations which has resulted in production of the "Greater Good Community Goals". From an infrastructure standpoint, collaboration on wayfinding initiatives across the City of Saskatoon and USask have occurred, as well as preliminary conversations around collaboration in a decarbonizing district energy systems study with the USask steam plant.

Land development


Fire Hall No. 5

Construction commenced on Fire Hall No. 5 on Treaty 6 territory and the Homeland of the Métis in March 2022 with completion and active operation of the facility expected in mid-2023. Once fully commissioned, the 10,000-square foot (930-square metre), two-storey fire station will also be furnished with a cultural space intended for Saskatoon Fire Department initiatives, civic departments, and for university activities. When available, the shared space will be open to public bookings for community groups to strengthen neighbourhood amenities for the wider community. A ground breaking ceremony was held on April 21, 2022 which showcased the continued partnership between USask and the City of Saskatoon to allow both parties to help serve and give back to the vibrant community and reinforce our commitment to community, including Indigenous partners and friends.


Land trust with city sector plan

USask recently named its first board of directors of a new corporation, USask Properties Investment Inc.(UPII), that is being established to oversee the development of USask’s endowment lands pursuant to a land trust. The initial tasks for the new board will include, negotiating the land trust lease agreement, formally incorporating the UPII and completing a search for the organization's first CEO. Following that, the UPII will serve as a separate independent legal entity to manage the development of the university’s nearly 1,000 acres of endowment lands. USask Properties Investment Inc. will assume responsibility for moving forward with USask endowment land development, in alignment with the University Sector Plan. In partnership with the City of Saskatoon, they will work on the development of the endowment lands, under an agreed upon the framework to support strategic infill planning.

Transportation and infrastructure

bus Rapid Transit Map

Bus Rapid Transit project

USask continues to engage with the College Corridor Plan, with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, corridor planning and public realm improvements. Common understanding and collaboration occurred to articulate the role of College Drive and the public realm as it relates to strategic priorities, as well as to identify important design features of the BRT to reflect on the current design for College Drive, and how it impacts both institutions as well as the City of Saskatoon’s plan for intensification through the Corridor initiative.

Research connections

Research Junction is a collaboration between the City of Saskatoon and Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives to support the development of joint research projects that address contemporary urban issues for the benefit of Saskatoon residents. As the City and university continue to grow together, combining the expertise of City staff with the aspirations of USask's students and researchers will help shape a vibrant culture of discovery and innovation.

garbage truck

Food reclamation project with sustainability

A joint study by USask and the City of Saskatoon, "Promising Practices in Food Reclamation in Saskatoon", developed a series of recommendations to reduce food waste in Saskatoon. This included a food recovery association created in partnership with governments, as well as a social enterprise established to “upcycle” or transform surplus food for other uses. Other recommendations include a public awareness campaign, the use of phone food diversion apps, and inclusion of food diversion in city planning processes. This initiative aligns with Saskatoon’s Solid Waste Reduction and Diversion Plan that provides clear actions the city can take to produce less waste and recycle and compost most of it.

waste water testing

Smart Cities list for wastewater projects

USask and the City of Saskatoon have been honoured with a Smart 50 Award recognize global “smart cities” projects for their collaborative wastewater monitoring project that advances environmental and human health. The award highlights the work of a joint project between the City and USask that measured levels of human pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics in Saskatoon’s wastewater to assess potential risks these chemicals might pose to the downstream environment. The Smart 50 Awards recognize global “smart cities” projects, honouring “the most innovative and influential work” and are sponsored by Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation, and US Ignite— organizations committed to seeing technology used to improve the quality of life for residents at the municipal level.

Student Engagement

Improvements to ongoing communication channels have occurred through connecting students, USask and City of Saskatoon stakeholders in a forum and committee setting. Issues such as transit concerns, new technology needs to engage with students new to Saskatoon and website development to attract and retain students post-degree to work and live in Saskatoon have all been discussed. Future progress in this space will help with recruitment and retaining our USask students to be employed within our own city.

Student and City of Saskatoon Connection committee

In 2021, a new Student and City of Saskatoon Connection committee was formed aimed at improving the connection between the City of Saskatoon and students at the university. This pilot was identified by students and city staff demonstrating that solutions don’t need to be driven by the top but by those most impacted. This committee is a means to communicate valuable information to students and make them aware of important opportunities to engage on important projects that may impact students. This committee will be a vital point of contact between the City of Saskatoon and university students. Committee members will have an opportunity to present concerns and suggestions on ongoing and upcoming projects which will help to develop the relationship and open doors to how the City can further support students. The first meeting with the committee was held on November 16, 2021. This has now transitioned from a pilot to a permanent USSU committee.

USSU Welcome Week

City of Saskatoon employees from public engagement, indigenous initiatives, waste, transportation and transit were on campus during the 2022 USSU Welcome Week to connect with students and provide information on some key City of Saskatoon initiatives and programs. Students were asked to provide their input on what civic topics they are interested in and what the best approaches are to engage with them.


The City of Saskatoon and USask are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt infrastructure, services and programs for the future impacts of a changing climate. Both organizations have committed to pursuing sustainable actions that achieve environment, social and economic benefits.

Sustainability initatives


Climate change

A Climate Commitment and Call to Action declaration has been jointly pledged to articulate areas in which we will focus our work together. In 2023, a more detailed plan will be developed to define outcomes and next steps.


Community Projects

Community Projects Partnership have established a new partnership where students will be paid an honorarium to complete small research projects for the City of Saskatoon on sustainability topics.



Research Junction projects have enabled connections between USask researchers and local community partners to address important issues – the solutions to many of these issues are exactly what has been envisioned within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.