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Oil and gas plays key role in indigenous prosperity, report from CAPP indicates

Oil and gas plays key role in indigenous prosperity, report from CAPP indicates

Canada's Indigenous peoples are finding ways to work with the upstream oil and gas industry that benefit both sides, grow resource development and improve sustainability, according to a new report from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The CAPP report, Indigenous Engagement and ESG, is the association's second looking at environment, social and governance performance in the upstream natural gas industry. It is, according to CAPP, the most comprehensive review ever completed documenting the extent of engagement between Canada's oil and natural gas producers and Indigenous communities, including consultation, workforce, community programs and investment, and Indigenous investment and participation in resource projects.

"In a world with a growing need for responsibly developed oil and natural gas, the deep relationships and partnerships with Indigenous-owned business and communities across Canada play an integral role in the success of our industry," said Tim McMillan, president and CEO of CAPP. "In return, a strong natural gas and oil industry offers significant opportunities for employment and business development to Indigenous communities, providing pathways to greater prosperity while supporting Canada's goals for reconciliation."

Like Canadians in general, Indigenous peoples hold a range of different perspectives on resource development and many are seeking to build sustainable and prosperous community futures by participating in the opportunities that development creates.

The Indigenous Engagement and ESG Report documents how the upstream oil and gas industry sees an important future for itself, its Indigenous workers and business partners as they work together continue to innovate in the pursuit of responsible natural gas and oil development.

"Indigenous people have a much higher representation in the oil and natural gas industry workforce compared to the rest of Canadians which means much of our ability to prosper is closely connected to continued responsible resource development," said Jordan Jolicoeur, president and CEO of Carvel Electric and board member for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. "About 80 percent of my employees are Indigenous. While the CAPP report shows the numbers, it's the stories of partnership and shared success that are truly important. Good paying jobs to support families, the opportunity to get training, education and run a company and the ability to do this while staying close to the community you grew up in - this is what the industry brings to Indigenous people in Canada."

The report finds that Indigenous people make up 6.3 percent of the upstream industry's workforce. For comparison, Indigenous peoples make up about 3.3 percent of Canada's total workforce. According to a Macdonald-Laurier Institute report, the oil and gas and mining sectors represent eight of the top 10 highest-paying occupations for Indigenous peoples for Canada.

Between 2009 and 2019, Indigenous share of industry jobs and share of senior management roles increased, while the wage gap decreased. In 2019, the natural gas and oil industry procured more than $2.6 billion of goods and services from 275 Indigenous suppliers, contractors and other businesses across Canada. From 2017 to 2019, the oil sands industry's Indigenous community investment spending rose from $21 million to $32 million. Funding helped support such initiatives as community activities, in-kind investments and contributions to community infrastructure.

For industry, it makes good business sense to work with neighbours, including local Indigenous employees and contractors with connections to the area. This is also integral to resource development contributing to local prosperity, supporting self-determination and long-term mutual benefit.

The report is published on CAPP's website.

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