Aboriginal relations in action
The following are some of the ways we participate by providing volunteer time and bringing organizations together to encourage collaboration and bigger community impact.
Signing long-term agreements
One of the ways we’re meeting the unique needs of Aboriginal communities and their members is by developing long-term agreements. These agreements help communities plan for the future and provide benefits in key areas such as employment, community investment, business development opportunities, education and training. Cenovus has established four long-term agreements with Aboriginal communities near our operations: Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Cold Lake First Nations, Conklin, and Heart Lake First Nation. Exact details are confidential but they provide more certainty for the communities and for Cenovus as our projects develop, by providing benefits such as employment, community investment, business development, education and training.
Studying traditional land use at Wabasca
Cenovus is committed to helping collect and manage traditional information and we provide funding to help with this process. The information gathered is used to teach children about their past, help communities retain their culture, identify sacred sites and document past land use for consultation purposes.
We sponsored traditional land use studies of our project area near Wabasca and Fort McMurray in conjunction with the Bigstone Cree First Nation and Fort McMurray First Nation #468. This involved interviews with Elders and mapping of culturally important sites near our proposed Grand Rapids and Telephone Lake projects. We will use this information to avoid or minimize impacts to these sites as we develop plans for our projects.
Helping keep Wabasca clean: a joint effort between Bigstone Cree Nation, the M.D. of Opportunity #17, and staff from Cenovus's Local Community Relations team and Community Investment team
Educating our staff in Aboriginal history and traditions
We encourage our staff to be more involved in engaging with Aboriginal communities. This creates more awareness around community concerns and helps teams make better decisions early on and during the development of our projects.
We also launched a new online training tool to help educate our staff on Aboriginal history and traditions. It also highlights some of the work we’re doing with nearby Aboriginal communities that supports our stakeholder commitments to them. More than 2,300 staff have completed the introductory Aboriginal Awareness training and 300 supervisors completed the second level of training.
Honouring Aboriginal women
Cenovus attended and invited some of our community partners as guests to the 17th annual Esquao Awards Gala presented by the Institute for Advancement of Aboriginal women (IAAW). Each year, the ceremony honours Aboriginal women who've made their community a better place for future generations. All First Nations, Metis and Inuit women nominees are celebrated at the event.
Celebrating Aboriginal culture
We support treaty days and Métis festivals that are held throughout the summer in a number of Alberta communities. The events celebrate Aboriginal and Métis culture through activities like dance performance and concerts.
Providing leadership training
A group of administrators and political leaders from a variety of local First Nation and Métis governments recently took part in a Banff Centre Community of Leaders workshop. Cenovus worked with the Banff Centre and Encana to develop this five-year program - now in its third year - that aims to help participants face challenges by building their personal leadership skills and confidence, while learning from others who offer a wide variety of experience. The program also helps participants nurture local community projects from ideas to reality. This workshop focused on developing strategies to enhance organizational effectiveness and community sustainability.
Facilitating employment education and training for Aboriginal youth
The Soaring: Indigenous Youth Career Conference was held in May and brings together Aboriginal students in grades eight through 12 from across Alberta to give them the opportunity to meet industry experts and learn about the education and training required for a variety of unique careers. Cenovus is pleased to sponsor this conference, sharing with organizers the goal to increase the high school graduation rate and employment among Aboriginal youth.