Suncor is committed to working closely with Aboriginal communities to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships

We work closely with Aboriginal communities to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships

Suncor is committed to working closely with Aboriginal communities to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships

Suncor is committed to working closely with Aboriginal communities to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships

View the latest Report on Sustainability

Legacy Totem Pole Ceremony in Calgary, June 2010, commemorating Suncor's sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Aboriginal relations

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Many of our operations are located within the traditional territories of Aboriginal Peoples, and we recognize that our operations have an impact on local communities.

As a long-time operator, we have worked over many years to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal communities near our operations and we remain committed to ensuring that these communities benefit from our operations, so that they are strong and sustainable.

While there is still work to be done, we are making progress.

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Relationships across Canada

Today, Suncor has relationships with over 150 Aboriginal groups across Canada. For example:

  • Through Succor’s retail brand, Petro-Canada, there are 22 First Nations owned Petro-Canada gas stations, primarily in Western Canada. These gas stations are located on the First Nations reserves.
  • The Aamjiwnaang First Nation community is located beside our Sarnia refinery in southern Ontario. This Nation is an equity partner with us in the Adelaide Wind Power Project.
  • In 2015, we spent $599 million with Aboriginal businesses, bringing our total to $3.44 billion since 1999. While the majority of this spend occurs through our oil sands operations in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, we continue to work to find new opportunities to work with Aboriginal businesses across Canada.

Aboriginal Relations Policy

Our Canadian Aboriginal relations policy is guided by these principles:

  • respect
  • communication
  • benefits
  • environment

Listen to our Aboriginal relations policy in Cree and Dene:

Download the Aboriginal relations policy (PDF, 2 pp., 1.3 MB)

Our Social Goal

“Business and economies are at risk if we fail to meet society’s rising expectation for our performance"
Steve Williams, president and CEO

Three years ago, we began to think about our next sustainability goals. These goals are focused on the greatest sustainability needs and demands facing our business.

While we’ve worked with Aboriginal communities for more than 40 years, we now recognize that sometimes our approach was colonial rather than collaborative — we wanted to ‘do’ or fix things, rather than seek to understand the interests and needs of impacted communities.

Our first social goal is a declaration of our intent to do things differently — to choose a new path that focuses on strengthening relationships with Aboriginal Peoples. For us, that path is about working together and creating more opportunities for greater involvement in the energy industry, so that the social and economic benefits from Canada’s resources are shared more fully. Our aspiration is: We will have mutual trust and respect with Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. We will change the way we think and act to increase the participation of Aboriginal Peoples in energy development.

We know Aboriginal Peoples of Canada want to play a larger role in how energy is developed — from project proposal right through to land reclamation. Our long-term social goal recognizes this, and outlines four performance areas where we can work together to advance greater involvement:

  • Strengthening relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and all Canadians, starting within Suncor.
  • Partnering with Aboriginal youth to develop their leadership potential through meaningful connections within and outside of Suncor.
  • Significantly improving our Aboriginal workforce development through focused efforts on hiring, retention and advancement of Aboriginal employees across our business.
  • Increasing revenues to Aboriginal businesses and communities through mutually beneficial marketing arrangements and procurements of materials and services.

Learning Together

This isn’t work we can do on our own, and it’s not something we do ‘to’ or ‘for’ Aboriginal Peoples. We’ll continue to learn from, and with, partners and communities so that we build trusting relationships. Truly collaborative partnerships require humility, honesty, and a willingness to learn from one another so that there is a common understanding from which we can uncover where we have mutual interests.


Suncor will progress the social goal, through the four performance areas, over the next 10 years. We’ll also report regularly on our progress.

This won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Rather, we’ll work together with our businesses and each of the communities where we operate, to build implementation plans that consider both community and business needs and capacity.

A lot of our effort to-date has focused in Wood Buffalo and areas where our operations are in close proximity to traditional lands. With this goal we aim to extend our reach beyond these areas. First, we need to learn from communities and seek to understand. Then, by looking at all the opportunities across our business and inspiring our own employees to take everyday actions, we believe we can make a difference.