Building Sustainable Benefits

In Canada, we operate within the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Métis. We seek to understand their interests and concerns before and during resource development and production, and actively work to minimize any potential infringement on their traditional rights. While provincial and federal governments regulate processes for consulting Indigenous communities, we develop consultation and engagement plans to support successful relationships now and over the long term. We have a values and interest approach, which includes exploring, planning, action and reflection. We also work to provide access to the economic benefits of development, including contracts for goods and services, jobs, training and education opportunities.

Our Indigenous Operator Trainee program offers the education and training necessary to become a Power Engineer. We have trainees in all of our asset areas. Of the trainees recently selected within the oil sands region, two were affiliated with the Sustainable Communities Initiative as youth or youth workers, an example of cross-pollinating efforts to guide youth to positive futures. We have another three apprentices currently working in a maintenance training program, in the final years of their millwright and instrumentation apprenticeships. In 2016, we added a new Heavy Equipment Technician program as well as shift supervisor training specific to Indigenous community members near the oil sands.

We also celebrated an important milestone of building sustainable relationships with Indigenous leaders and communities in 2016. The Cooperation and Mutual Benefits Agreement (CMBA) with Fort McMurray First Nation (FMFN) represents multiple years of engagement to build trust and respect, mutual areas of interest and benefit, and a formal commitment to a stronger relationship. This agreement has a process to resolve concerns about rights infringement from our activities at Surmont and includes language that commits both parties to work toward beneficial economic and social dimensions of our relationship.

By respecting the historic cultural connections that indigenous peoples have to the land and incorporating our community framework guidelines, we can help ensure that they share the long-term sustainable benefits from natural resource development.