Canada’s natural resource sector is an integral part of our national economy, supporting nearly two million jobs and generating tens of billions of dollars in government revenues each year. But often overlooked about the natural resources sector is the fact that these companies have a huge part to play in supporting local communities through donations, volunteerships, and other contributions of the sort.
Canada Action’s new “resources for good” initiative showcases some of the selfless actions being taken by the natural resources sector within our communities as of late. Here’s three recent examples of how our resource companies are stepping up for the betterment of communities across the country. Also see:
- Resources for Good: Part 1
- Resources for Good: Part 3
- Canadian Resource Companies Donate to STARS Ambulance
Gibson Energy donates $1 million to support children’s mental health
(October 2020) - Gibson Energy Inc. announced that it would be contributing $1 million to Trellis (formerly the Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary and Aspen Family & Community Network Society) to provide mental health support to youth over a five-year term.
Apart from the $1 million donation, the company has also committed to help fund a new space at one of Trellis’ locations while Gibson Energy employees have also dedicated significant hours to volunteering with the organization.
“Understanding that the majority of mental health issues start at a young age, we are hopeful that Gibson’s support of early intervention and prevention of mental health challenges will improve the lives of the next generation,” said Steve Spaulding, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gibson.
“We greatly value the mental well-being of youth in the communities where we operate and are proud to partner with Trellis over the next five years to provide best-in-class mental health support,” he said.
Good on Gibson Energy for donating its largest contribution yet at a time of significant need within our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of Canadians across the country, especially those who rely on funds from organizations like Trellis for support with mental health and other critical needs.
Mining companies step up with more than $750,000 for COVID relief
(September 2020) - When the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in March, Canadian mining companies stepped up to the plate to provide support to struggling communities. As of September 2020, three mines in Ontario donated approximately $780,000 to various initiatives such as boosting the supply of personal protective equipment, helping out food banks, hospitals and small businesses to name a few.
“We did a lot of little things too that they’re lesser dollars but quite impactful with dropping off a few things here and there at local businesses or people that needed stuff that we had heard through the grapevine, but we didn’t really want to publicize a lot of it,” said Bryan Neeley, Sustainability and External Relations Manager with Newmont Porcupine, one of the mining companies involved.
“It reduced the risk in the community, but it also reduced the risk for our operations. We were able to continue, we were deemed essential. We wanted to make sure that as we moved around through the community that we were able to support the community in their safe restart,” said Neeley.
Once again, these mining companies have shown just how much class they, and their workers have. We should all be just as willing to support energy, mining and forestry companies when the going gets tough.
LNG Canada donates $300,000 in post-secondary funding to Indigenous students
(September 2020) - LNG Canada’s contributions to regional communities near its operations on the B.C. coast continue with a $300,000 donation to support Indigenous peoples in their post-secondary endeavours.
About a third of those funds will go to Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures program to be awarded to Indigenous students from Gitga'at First Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Haisla First Nation, Kitsumkalum First Nation, Kitselas First Nation, Lax Kw'alaams Band, Metlakatla First Nation, and Métis Nation of B.C. who are attending post-secondary institutions (i.e. college, university, technical college, or apprenticeship program) with demonstrated financial need for contribution to education costs.
The other $195,000 will go towards supporting the annual Indspire Awards and Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering, which offers a campus day and career conference for hundreds of Indigenous high school students. This cash will also support Indspire’s annual National Gathering for Indigenous Education, the only professional development conference for teachers of Indigenous students in the country.
"This partnership is an important example of corporate leadership in supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to achieve their full potential, so they can in turn transform their lives, and enrich their communities, and Canada," said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire.
"We are grateful for the investment LNG Canada is making in Indigenous communities in which they operate in British Columbia and their commitment to advancing Indigenous education and achievement," she said.
A majority of Indigenous peoples in Canada support natural resource development. Not only do these companies bring economic stimulus into remote regions of the country, but also contribute immensely to the well-being of locals through donations and other critical supports many of these communities rely on.
Natural Resources are a Major Boon to Canadian Communities
Detractors of Canada’s natural resource sectors will tell you that our industries are “dirty” and are harming rural communities while infringing on Indigenous rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Natural resource companies and the workers they employ – many of whom are Indigenous – are hugely supportive of regional communities through donations, volunteerships and other contributions that make a huge difference in the lives of countless Canadians.
We should all be proud of our world-class natural resources sector and the achievements these industries have made to extract and develop resources using the most sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.
Nothing is “dirty” about the community initiatives our resource companies have taken on to give back to Canadians. Let’s celebrate their participation within our local neighbourhoods and recognize them as the staples they are in communities from coast-to-coast.
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