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Supporting Aboriginal businesses near our operations

Two Heart Lake Group employees at one of our oil sands sites in northern Alberta.

June 2016 – A little more than a decade ago, a small business venture sprang up at Heart Lake First Nation in northern Alberta to provide crew transportation services to the oil and gas industry.

From those humble beginnings, the Aboriginal-owned venture has grown into the Heart Lake Group of Companies. Today, the Heart Lake Group operates 15 different enterprises specializing in everything from earth works to delivering remote emergency medical services by snowmobile to seismic crews operating deep in the bush.

“Cenovus and its predecessor companies have been instrumental in our success,” says Ken Staples, Heart Lake Business Development Manager. “They provided the opportunity for work and then made a commitment to help build the capacity of the company. This is a very successful relationship because of the strong element of trust between the leaders of Cenovus and the Heart Lake First Nation.”

The First Nation is located near Cenovus’s two oil sands operations, including Foster Creek, where the Heart Lake Group helped build some of the project’s first well pads in 2003.

“We want all of the communities close to our operations to be better off as a result of us being there,” says Adam Layton, Local Business Development Advisor. “And because our closest neighbours are First Nations and Métis communities, we work hard to build relationships with them based on mutual respect.”

Cenovus has several long-term agreements with Aboriginal and Métis communities near its operations. Adam says one of the intents of those agreements is to provide communities with more certainty that Cenovus will continue to support and engage with them even in times of economic uncertainty.

By the numbers

Since Cenovus became a standalone company in 2009, our cumulative spending with First Nations and Métis-owned businesses now stands at almost $1.8 billion. Our Aboriginal business spend as a percentage of capital spend increased in 2015 to more than 17 percent, a reflection of our increased effort to engage Aboriginal suppliers as well as the growing number of qualified businesses.

Learn more about our commitment to Aboriginal Business.