Cando Contracting Ltd. was founded by Gord Peters and Rick Hammond in 1978 as a small rail line dismantling and salvage company in Manitoba, removing track and selling the materials. It was a family affair—Gord’s father Art and brother Doug were also instrumental in the company’s success in the early years.

Cando’s first contract involved the abandonment of two rail lines near Tilston, Manitoba for CP—one 54 miles long and the other 15 miles. At the time, CP was eliminating smaller regional lines in order to concentrate on east-west traffic right across Canada. Gord and Rick bid on the jobs without equipment and experience and, when to their surprise they got both jobs, Gord packed up his car, drove home from the oil patch, and with a loan from his father, the Cando story began.

The company started out with one goal in mind: to solve a problem for the Class 1 railways in Canada. Since 1978, the company has grown substantially and diversified its business, becoming an integrated solutions provider for customers in the rail sector and bulk handling industries. Today, Cando is still solving problems for its customers.

In 2013, the company underwent a name change, from Cando Contracting Ltd. to Cando Rail Services Ltd., and launched a new logo. In addition to multiple divisions and departments, today Cando has two wholly owned subsidiaries: the Central Manitoba Railway Inc., which was incorporated in 1999 when Cando acquired CN’s former Pine Falls and Carman subdivisions in Manitoba, and Cando Contracting Inc., the U.S. branch of Cando which was purchased in 2004.

Vision and legacy

Founder Gord Peters realized early on that the strength and future of any company depends on the people within the organization. The more the people are in sync with the company and the customer, the more satisfied they’ll be and the better everyone will do. With this in mind, the company established an Employee Ownership Program in 1996. The program took off and today the majority of Cando employees are also corporate shareholders.

"My vision and legacy for this company is that it will continue for future generations in the capable hands of the people that know the business best – the employees. Our employee-owned company will continue to deliver industry leading rail services based on safety, customer satisfaction, employee development, innovation and sustained growth."

Gord Peters