2014 Cenovus Corporate Responsibility Report


We believe that our long-term success is dependent on three things: having smart, dedicated people, having a strong culture and having a high-quality asset base. We have all three. Managing how we will continue to attract and retain smart, dedicated people while ensuring our culture supports bottom line results, is a critical part of our business strategy.

Our workforce strategy identifies and addresses workforce requirements needed to fulfill our long-range outlook and three-year business plan. We employ a variety of approaches so that we have the talent we need now and in the future. Our student and new graduate programs help us attract the top minds coming out of educational institutions. Our competitive employee programs attract and retain top technical and leadership talent at all stages of their careers.

We focus on being a healthy organization and a company people want to work for. We do this by having a work environment that is committed to safety, supports development, provides interesting work, pays for performance and provides recognition for going the extra mile. We want our employees to have a clear understanding of their role and what’s expected of them. And at the end of every day we want to make sure everyone goes home safely to their families.

Growing talent from within

Our approach to talent in 2014 placed an importance on providing training and development opportunities for employees. In 2014, these included:

  • Leadership development programs and coaching that enables leaders to effectively lead and manage change, plan their work, drive performance, deal with challenging situations and empower their people
  • Technical development programs that build the skills we need our technical staff to have, supported by discipline-specific competency maps and learning paths
  • Development opportunities such as on-the-job and formal training, cross-functional moves and participation in special projects
  • The Cenovus Learning Institute, which provides the tools, resources and support employees need to continually discover, learn and grow in their careers
  • A new graduate development program that provides job rotations and competency development so they receive a breadth of experience and develop the skills they need to be successful. In 2014 we hired 56 new grads.

Paying for performance

A key factor in attracting and retaining top talent is offering a competitive compensation package and rewarding superior performance. Our total rewards package includes competitive cash and equity compensation, flexible benefits, earned days off, company-paid pension contributions, vacation time based on life experience rather than the number of years at the company and an annual allowance that can be used for expenses such as parking, transportation and fitness.

Encouraging diversity and respect in the workplace

Encouraging diversity and respect in the workplace

Respect is a big part of our culture. We trust each other to do the right thing. We conduct our business with respect, recognizing that respect requires both candour and caring. Our Expect RespectTM program reminds employees that disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated in their dealings with each other or community members.

Cenovus is committed to fair labour practices and we treat our workforce with dignity, fairness and respect. Our Corporate Responsibility Policy supports the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Being respectful of the rights of others is an important part of how we do business.

Two examples of programs that support employment opportunities and diversity in the workplace are:

  • Hire a veteran – assists people with the transition from military careers to civilian careers in the private sector
  • Employment Bridging Internship Program – identifies Aboriginal internship candidates who are interested in working toward a career in the oil and natural gas industry

Our performance

Through efficiencies created within the company, we were able to maintain flat workforce numbers in 2014 compared to the prior year, while growing our production.

In 2014, employees at our office locations in Calgary were 55 percent male and 45 percent female. At our field operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, employees were 90 percent male and 10 percent female.

Having a wide range of ages across the company provides a diversity of thinking and experience, which helps to build a healthy organization.

We continue to maintain a very low turnover rate of 4.4 percent – well below the industry average of seven percent as reported by the Conference Board of Canada (June 2014). Voluntary turnover was mainly due to individuals wanting to pursue different opportunities.

Health and wellness

Promoting health and wellness

Cenovus’s health and wellness program provides employees with tools and resources to help prevent illness and be productive in all areas of life. We foster a healthy organization through our health and wellness programs by promoting the health of our employees and focusing on prevention and supportive practices. We also support the care and rehabilitation of employees returning from an injury or illness so they remain engaged and return to work safely when they’re ready.

Support available to employees includes:

  • An Employee and Family Assistance Program that provides employees and their family with confidential counselling on issues that affect well-being, health and work performance
  • A wellness centre for fitness classes, wellness assessments, health education and programs
  • Tools, resources and programs to support the physical and mental well-being of our employees


Keeping people safe

We are a safety-focused company. Nothing is more important than the safety of our people and those in the communities where we operate. In addition to the company’s responsibility to create a safe workplace, we emphasize the personal responsibility all our workers have for their own safety and that of their co-workers. Only by changing behaviours and keeping safety top of mind, will we reach our goal of having an incident-free workplace.

We continue to encourage health and safety at all levels of the company, starting with visible and active engagement from the Executive Team. We’re focused on leadership support for health and safety initiatives, ensuring effective and engaging processes for identifying and controlling hazards, providing training, engaging industry peers, communicating openly and working collaboratively with employees and contractors.

This year we developed a comprehensive plan called Vision Zero to achieve zero occupational injuries and illnesses at Cenovus by 2018. It presents an outlook for health and safety, providing key areas for the company to focus on over the next three years including leadership, contractor safety and organizational learning.

In 2014, we:

  • Had a strong year for safety – achieving an 18 percent improvement in workplace safety compared with 2013. We worked about 45 million hours, the highest number of hours worked in Cenovus’s history, with the lowest rate for contractor injuries.
  • Hosted the first Cenovus Leadership Safety Summit to discuss ways we can strengthen our health and safety commitment and improve our overall safety performance
  • Opened a new emergency services building at our Foster Creek oil sands project, which improves our capability to respond to emergency events in the area
  • Held several field campaigns including Start Safe, mid-year Restart and Winter Work to highlight the importance of top risk exposures and changing conditions in our business
  • Improved analysis of our health and safety data to provide information to better target our health and safety efforts on areas requiring improvement
  • Launched a webpage on our internal website where real-time safety incidents, near misses and other risks are posted

Our safety commitments reinforce the behaviour and attitude we want to see from our employees and contractors. Learn more about our approach to safety.

Our Weyburn facility received the WorkSafe Saskatchewan’s 2014 Safe Employer of the Year award for their leadership in providing a safe place to work.

Life is made up of the choices we make. Every minute of every day. At Cenovus, working safely is one of those choices.

Safety initiatives

Setting the safety score straight

We’ve built a new health and safety intelligence reporting tool to store contractor safety information and score contracting companies on their performance. The new tool places greater emphasis on how the contractor actually performs. It summarizes a contractor’s health and safety performance over a specific timeframe. It can include:

  • Previous safety record with Cenovus
  • Experience working with Cenovus
  • Contractor supplied health and safety information
  • Health and safety information such as incidents, hazards, near misses and corrective actions

The new tool helps us to work with contractors that share our commitment to safety.

Focusing on life-saving rules

We kicked off 2015 by introducing new life-saving rules. These eight safety rules not only reduce the likelihood of injuries but also save lives. They focus on reducing risks our field workers can be exposed to, through actions such as taking appropriate precautions when working at height or isolating an energy source before starting work. Some of the rules also apply to off-the-job risk exposures.

Each life-saving rule will be highlighted at different points throughout the year and leaders will be provided with materials to help put these vital rules into practice. Implementing these eight rules along with our existing safety commitments will help maintain our focus on creating a safe work environment.

“Nothing is more important than our commitment to working safely,” says Chris Coles, Vice-President, Operations Health & Safety. “To create a healthy, injury-free workplace, everything we do must be rooted in safety, and these new life-saving rules are another way for us to do that.”

Preparing for an emergency

The health and safety of our staff and the people in communities near our operating areas are important to us. Each of our facilities has an emergency response plan designed specifically for that operation. To help emergency management response teams respond to incidents in a coordinated way, we follow a systematic incident command structure with defined roles and responsibilities. Throughout the year, we carried out 21 emergency response exercises involving 700 participants. To evaluate our response preparedness, we also conducted full-scale emergency exercises that involved our senior leaders, teams from across the company and third-party agencies.

Maintaining a focus on safety

Cenovus kicked off the year with the Start Safe campaign to remind our workers to keep safety as their first thought and to look out for one another. This campaign reached over 10,000 workers in small and large groups ranging from 30 to 300 workers at a time. A mid-year Restart campaign maintained the momentum to keep safety top of mind. In 2015, we’re launching a new campaign called Finish Strong to remind our workers of the importance of keeping their minds on task prior to leaving the worksite for year-end holidays.

Our commitment to safety is also demonstrated by our Health and Safety Stewardship Awards. These company-wide awards recognize contractors and consultants working for Cenovus who consistently demonstrate excellence in safety. This year, a total 37 contractors were recognized at events in Brooks, Cold Lake, Conklin, Medicine Hat, Weyburn and at the camp of our Pelican Lake project.

Keeping safe on the roads

We’re committed to raising awareness of dangerous driving habits and to changing those behaviours. One example is through our involvement in the Coalition for a Safer 63/881 initiative, which targets improvements in road safety including safe driving behaviours, improved signage and journey management for those travelling on Highways 63 and 881 in northern Alberta.

Our commitment to safety extends to our communities. We have invested in a wide range of emergency services, programs and safety training including funding for volunteer fire department equipment, vehicles, training facilities, the Calgary Fire Department Aboriginal Fire Training program and the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS).

Our performance

We had a strong year for safety – achieving an 18 percent improvement in workplace safety in 2014. One of the ways we measure safety performance is by the frequency of total recordable injuries. Our rate in 2014 was 0.65. The improvements we made are encouraging; however, 147 workers required more than basic first aid treatment.

While our ultimate goal is zero injuries, the 2015 injury frequency benchmark for Cenovus is 0.60. An injury frequency rate of 1.0 means that out of 100 workers, one person requires more than basic first aid treatment.

Measurement abbreviations used throughout the report


bbls barrels
BOE/d barrel of oil equivalent per day
CO2 carbon dioxide
CO2E carbon dioxide equivalent
GJ gigajoules
GHG greenhouse gas
m³OE cubic metres of oil equivalent
mg/L milligrams per litre
MMcf/d million cubic feet per day
SOR steam to oil ratio