Pathways Joe Lafond EN

Joe Lafond is a 37-year veteran welder at Syncrude. On his time off, he can be found with his horses at Tour North Ranch in Fort McMurray. Learn how Joe helped rescue local horses in the 2015 edition of Pathways.

Aboriginal Relations

Syncrude aims to respect Aboriginal cultures

Syncrude aims to respect Aboriginal cultures and traditions and is proud to be one of Canada’s largest employers of Aboriginal people. We continue to work toward providing greater opportunities for Aboriginal participation in our company through business development initiatives, and through education and skills development programs that open the door to rewarding careers.

Our Aboriginal relations commitment

Our Aboriginal relations commitment focuses on six key areas: corporate leadership, community development and capacity building, employment, business development, education and the environment. Among our performance highlights:

  • We are recognized with Gold Level accreditation by the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB) in their Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program. We are the only oil sands operator to achieve this level.
  • We are one of the largest private-sector employers of Aboriginal people in Canada. Of our total workforce, around 9% are of self-declared First Nations, Métis or Inuit descent.
  • Total cumulative spending with Aboriginal-owned businesses is over $2 billion.
  • Syncrude has permanently reclaimed over 3,400 hectares of land with another 1,000 available for revegetation. Aboriginal Elders and community members provide input on our reclamation through regular meetings and annual tours.
  • Syncrude and the Fort McKay First Nation co-manage a herd of wood bison grazing on land reclaimed from mining operations. The ranch has been in operation for 20 years.
  • Syncrude was the lead funding organization for a trades preparation and skills upgrading program at Keyano College. Called the Syncrude Aboriginal Trades Preparation Program (SATP), it was available in Fort McMurray, Janvier, Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan. The 29-week program included a four-week work placement at Syncrude, and has now been completed.
  • The Fort Chipewyan rotational employment program provides employees with free accommodation for the duration of their shift at Syncrude and free air transport to and from Fort Chipewyan. The program has been in place for over 30 years.
  • Each year, Syncrude produces a review of its Aboriginal relations commitments, called Pathways. The publication also profiles many local and national success stories from the Aboriginal community.