July 18, 2016

Sustainable Communities Initiative continues to gather momentum despite local economic challenges

Fort McMurray, Alberta – Oil sands companies operating near the communities of Janvier and Fort Chipewyan have renewed their commitment to Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) with a vision of on creating safe, healthy, sustainable communities.

First launched in 2009, SCI has oil sands companies, service providers and stakeholders in these two communities working collaboratively to better address social sustainability challenges through community-designed and locally-delivered youth programming.

The new three-year agreement has been formalized as a joint industry project (JIP) under the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA) and is specifically focused on youth and education projects.

“Working together, we are better able to leverage the unique knowledge, skills and resources in our communities,” explains Reegan McCullough, Executive Director of OSCA. “We are delighted to see so many partners pledging their continued support for this great initiative.”

“As partners, together we work for unity within each community,” explains Fort Chipewyan community member and Lake Athabasca Youth Council Board Member, Tania Dashcavich.  “We want children to grow and be leaders of faith, hope and love, so that they can believe in themselves and follow their dreams.”

Collaboration is integral to SCI’s success. Along with the signing of the agreement in November 2015, the group was pleased to welcome a new funding partner to the table.

“Imperial creates lasting relationships with Indigenous communities by supporting initiatives that address local needs and create shared benefits for communities and industry,” says Tom Huffaker, President, Imperial Oil Foundation. “Becoming a partner in SCI enables us to deepen those common interests and create value through industry partnerships with Janvier and Fort Chipewyan. We look forward to supporting our shared future vision of co-creating safe, healthy, sustainable communities for generations.”

Imperial joins ConocoPhillips, Nexen CNOOC Ltd, Statoil Canada, and Suncor Energy as industry partners in SCI. Together these companies are contributing $1M towards 2016 programming.

The new agreement secures funding and resources for the following three main program areas within SCI:

  1. Sekweha – a non-profit in Janvier, AB, that runs daily youth programming at the local youth centre, focused on “raising a generation”.
  2. Lake Athabasca Youth Council (LAYC) – a non-profit organization in Fort Chipewyan, AB, that is focused on community coming together to support youth-led activities.
  3. Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) – a program and approach to integrating culture, curriculum and community so that youth can “Walk in Two Worlds”.

Activities within these programs include trips, camps, sports, crafts, career experiences, summer student programs and training; all of which are developing community and youth capacity and leadership.

“This is a very exciting and important milestone for us in terms of long-term project sustainability,” adds McCullough. “We know our communities are feeling the pressures of the economic downturn. Having certainty of funding means our partners can continue to focus on quality programming, diversification of funding resources and the establishment of productive new relationships – all things that benefit our region.”

For media inquiries, please contact:

Alana Yim
P: 780-498-0870
E: alana@woodbridgecommunications.ca