Cenovus to help address Indigenous housing crisis in northern Alberta
Project aims to provide about 200 new homes as well as jobs and training opportunities
Calgary, Alberta (January 30, 2020) – Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX: CVE) (NYSE: CVE) today launched a major initiative aimed at addressing one of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada – the lack of adequate housing that is forcing many families to live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions. Cenovus is committing $10 million per year for five years to build much-needed new homes in six First Nations and Métis communities closest to its oil sands operations in northern Alberta, with the potential to extend the project to 10 years. The company sees this initiative as an important way to contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“Investing in Indigenous communities near our operations and ensuring they share in the benefits of resource development has always been part of how we do business. Today, we see an opportunity to step up and do more,” said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer. “We can’t solve the Indigenous housing crisis by ourselves, but through this initiative, we have the opportunity to significantly improve the lives of many families currently living in overcrowded and unsafe conditions.”
Developed as part of Cenovus’s recent 10th anniversary celebration, the housing initiative is the single largest community investment in the company’s history. It’s a testament to the strong positive relationships Cenovus has built over many years working with Indigenous communities near its Christina Lake and Foster Creek oil sands projects. Cenovus has met with leaders from Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Chard Métis (Local 218), Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation, Cold Lake First Nations, Conklin Métis (Local 193) and Heart Lake First Nation to begin planning the implementation of the housing program starting this year.
Cenovus plans to work with leaders from the six communities to determine the most effective ways of delivering new homes based on the specific needs of each community. It’s anticipated the communities will be able to build about 200 new houses in total over five years. Cenovus will also work with the communities to develop training programs, so that local residents can participate in the building and maintenance of the new homes. This will potentially create valuable education and employment opportunities for them in the long term. Depending on the success of the initiative, including meeting Cenovus’s performance expectations, the company may consider extending the program to 10 years with a total investment amount of $100 million.