The table below provides an overview of one of our community goals and provides recent examples of how we’re working towards it. Learn more in this section about our investment and involvement in the communities near our operations.

Our goals and targets12 Our recent performance examples

Goal: To treat all communities near our operations fairly and with respect.


  • Invest one percent of our annual pre-tax profits to support charitable and community partners and make a positive difference in the communities where we work and live
  • Positively impact 250,000 youth through literacy programs, healthy living initiatives and skill building opportunities by 2020
  • Increase public access to key social and emergency services organizations in local communities
  • Support the active involvement of our employees by providing them with diverse giving and volunteering opportunities
  • We have been an Imagine Canada Caring company since 2009, which means we give one percent of our pre-tax profits to charitable or non-profit organizations
  • In 2016, we:
    • donated over $7.5 million to nearly 650 organizations and held over 75 company-sponsored and team-volunteer events, ranging from cooking dinners and reading to children to packing food hampers
    • impacted over 90,000 youth through ongoing investments like our partnership with the Northland School Division No. 61. Learn more about this below
    • supported over 30 organizations focused on building strong families and safe communities
    • provided over 75 volunteer events for our staff and matched over $1.4 million in employee donations

12 Notes on definitions:
Goal: a specific desired outcome that Cenovus has some relative control to achieve. A goal may have one or more targets associated.
Target: a specific, near-term objective, typically focused on the change in a measureable key performance indicator (quantitative). Alternatively, the target can be an action (qualitative) which, once completed, can be more clearly demonstrated in the near-term.

Our community investment program helps us build meaningful relationships with local communities. We engage with our communities on an ongoing basis to understand what their needs are, which helps us support the organizations that will have the highest impact on the community.

We concentrate our engagement efforts on our three focus areas:

  • Learning
  • Safety and well-being
  • Sustainable communities

Our community investment strategy is modelled on our business strategy, and the nature of our business is long term. Our oil sands projects in northern Alberta take years to construct, and many will operate for decades. Because of this, we focus on improving the quality of the business environment in the locations where we operate and we contribute to building strong communities. We strategically invest in the communities around our operating areas to:

  • Build positive relationships and help support community needs (community engagement)
  • Contribute to an engaging workplace for our staff (employee engagement)
  • Complement our business goals and priorities

We are continuing to execute and refine our strategy especially in light of the economic downturn, and we remain committed to giving back to the communities where we live and work.

Working to improve literacy

Our commitment to literacy in action – a Cenovus employee reads with a student at a literacy event.

Our target to positively impact 250,000 youth by 2020 through literacy programs, healthy living initiatives and skill-building opportunities is one example of how we take a long-term view when it comes to community investment and engagement. Investing in literacy programs for kids at an early age helps ensure a vibrant, dynamic future for our communities. That’s why we support high-impact programs that improve students’ likelihood of staying in school, increase graduation rates and provide life skills that create a strong future.

One example of our commitment to literacy and learning is our investment in the Northland School Division No. 61 (known as NSD61). In the fall of 2016, we announced a $250,000 donation as part of our partnership with the NSD61. This unique school division provides student-centred learning opportunities to primarily First Nation and Métis students in northern Alberta. Since we began our partnership three years ago with NSD61, the number of students reading at their grade level has increased by 19 percent across the division and division-wide attendance has increased by three percent.

How we’re working to improve literacy in the NSD61

In 2016 and early 2017, we also initiated planning for a series of donations to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. We’ve committed to donate to 22 libraries across our operating communities and to provide our staff as volunteers in related literacy events.

We believe that libraries are an important community hub because they house a variety of essential programs and services on a variety of topics like reading and early literacy, computer competency and skills for newcomers and those seeking employment. Libraries also serve as a gathering place for community members. This investment aligns with our commitment to learning and literacy and with our commitment to build the strength and well-being of our communities.

Focusing on community responsiveness in 2016

The challenging economic times for the oil and gas industry mean our communities have an increased need for support since they’re also feeling the impact. Over the past two years, we’ve focused on supporting organizations and causes that have experienced increased stress during the downturn.

In the same way we’re adapting our business to the current economic conditions, we’re also responding to our communities’ changing and evolving needs. In 2016, mental health and social and emergency services saw a significant increase in demand. Many of our donations went towards organizations that increase access and provide support for basic needs and front line response. For example:

  • We committed nearly $300,000 to 25 organizations including food banks, breakfast, lunch and nutrition programs and community kitchens across our operating communities
  • We committed over $340,000 to eight organizations across Alberta providing mental health services

We encourage our staff to be actively involved in the community by providing diverse opportunities for them to volunteer or donate to the causes that matter to them. Our hope is that through these programs, we create a culture of engagement and a sense of pride among our employees while strengthening the community.

Staff and their families prepare food hampers at the Medicine Hat Food Bank as part of our Thanks & Giving campaign

Staff and their families prepare food hampers at the Medicine Hat Food Bank as part of our Thanks & Giving campaign.

We encourage charitable giving through our annual employee giving campaign, Thanks & Giving, and our year-round Matching Gifts Program. Through these programs, we match employee donations up to a total of $25,000 per employee per year. Not only can employees double the impact of their charitable donations, they’re able to give to the organizations they choose. By supporting employees to donate to the causes that are important to them, we’re able to make a positive difference in the community while at the same time helping ensure that Cenovus is a great place to work.

In 2016, despite the downturn, our employees continued to demonstrate their commitment to our communities, donating over $1.4 million through our Thanks & Giving and Matching Gifts programs. When combined with the Cenovus matching funds and including our volunteer grant program match, that’s over $3 million. Since 2010, employees have donated over $12 million – over $24 million with the company match.

Learn more about Thanks & Giving »

Our involvement with the community is not just about financial donations. Our Volunteer Program provides grants to the charitable organizations where our employees and their immediate family members volunteer. We also coordinate opportunities for staff members to volunteer together with their teams or their families. The Volunteer Program is a meaningful way for our staff to use and expand their skills, work together in teams and learn about community issues and needs.

The volunteer events we hold throughout the year help our community partners deliver programs and services. In 2016, Cenovus staff continued to donate their time to the community, participating in 76 company-sponsored and team-volunteer events ranging from cooking dinners and reading to children to packing food hampers.

We’ve been a member of London Benchmarking Group (LBG) Canada since 2011. Our participation in LBG Canada helps us maximize impact and identify best practices in order to continually improve our community investment program. Each year, we participate in a detailed, line-by-line audit of our entire community investment portfolio. The audit helps us understand the total value our cash, in-kind, employee volunteering and giving and program management costs bring to the local community.

Community investment spend by focus area

Community investment spend by focus area

We strategically concentrate our community investment efforts in three focus areas: learning, safety and well-being and sustainable communities. These focus areas align with our business strategy and our goal to make a positive difference in the communities where we live and work. In addition to these focus areas, we support the giving and volunteering efforts of our staff through multiple employee programs.

Total value of investments to the community

Total value of investments to the community

In 2016, the total value of our community investments, as audited by London Benchmarking Group (LBG) Canada, was over $9.1 million.