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

Suncor works 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 and vibrant Aboriginal communities

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

Suncor works hard to build and maintain relationships with local communities and stakeholders as they are foundational to successful energy development.

Aboriginal relations

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Our relationship with Aboriginal communities over the past 40 years has been a journey. We know that earning the trust and support of Aboriginal Peoples and communities is foundational to our business.

There is much we can still learn from Aboriginal Peoples and communities. It is from being honest and willing to learn from one another that we can uncover mutual interests and build authentic relationships.

We know that there is still work to be done, but we are making progress. Many initiatives are underway to embed our approach to Aboriginal relations across all areas of our business. For example, last year we announced a social goal, as part of our larger sustainability goals.

The 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.

Learn more about Suncor’s sustainability goals and each of the performance areas

See below for a few other initiatives underway within Suncor and together with our partners.

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Integrated Aboriginal relations governance

Over the past few years, we’ve worked to embed Aboriginal relations more fully across the organization.

Suncor’s Aboriginal Relations Governance structure is made up of three interconnected groups that each play a role in ensuring that our activities are strategic, co-ordinated and advancing strong, co-operative relationships with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. They include:

  • A VP Forum
  • A Network
  • Multidisciplinary teams: Environment and Regulatory, Workforce development and Business Development

Other connected processes include the Strategic Issues Management Process (SIMP) and the Asset Development Execution Model (ADEM).

SIMP ensures that consideration for Aboriginal communities and stakeholders informs our thinking on all key environmental, economic and social issues that are most critical to Suncor and its stakeholders.

Suncor’s ADEM ensures that the interests and concerns of Aboriginal communities are identified and considered in early project planning stages and that engagement occurs before final decisions are made.

Community partnerships

In 2016, Suncor announced the signing of partnerships agreements with Fort McKay First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation for ownership in the East Tank Farm, a strategic infrastructure asset in the Wood Buffalo region. The combined equity interest by Fort McKay First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation in Suncor’s East Tank Farm Development will be 49%. Upon completion, this will be the largest investment by First Nations in this industry to date.

The signing of these agreements is the result of many years of hard work and discussions to understand and identify areas of mutual interest. Through this process, we’ve developed greater understanding and trust – and we worked collaboratively to achieve this. This demonstrates a very positive evolution in our long-term relationships and a new way that we will work together.

Wheels to Lambton program

The Suncor Sarnia refinery is among several industry partners of a recently launched transportation program between Walpole Island, Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Lambton College.

Over the past three years, as a member of the Visions of Harmony (VoH) committee, Suncor participated on a team working to help alleviate the transportation barrier for First Nations students who attend Lambton College. VoH is an organization that includes local First Nations communities, industry, education and workforce development.

“This is a wonderful initiative to be a part of because of its collaborative nature,” says Jennifer Johnson, senior advisor, communications and stakeholder relations. “This program is entirely driven by the Walpole Island and Aamjiwnaang communities.”

Both communities identified the transportation issue, conducted the necessary research to confirm the need and potential use of the shuttle, submitted applications for government funding, hired and trained the drivers, and purchased the vans. “Our investment of $20,000 from the Suncor Energy Foundation was a small way to help bring their vision to reality,” adds Jennifer.

“We know that students face multiple barriers when they start college,” says Mark Hiseler, vice president, Sarnia refinery. “We hope that by helping eliminate the transportation barrier, this initiative will not only help students succeed in their various programs, but also encourage others to consider attending Lambton College.”