In 2008, Suncor spent $220 million with a number of Aboriginal businesses in northern Alberta such as the Fort McKay Group of Companies.
Aboriginal-owned and operated businesses in northern Alberta have played a vital role in helping Suncor develop the oil sands resource. Since 1992, Suncor has spent more than $1 billion on procuring goods and services from Aboriginal-owned businesses in the Wood Buffalo region.
In 2008 alone, Suncor spent $220 million with a number of Aboriginal businesses that provide fuel distribution, maintenance, reclamation services, heavy equipment operation, tire shredding, manufacturing, and hotel and airline services.
The company chooses to support local Aboriginal firms whenever possible, such as the Fort McKay Group of Companies (FMGC). FMGC – which is 100 per cent owned by the Fort McKay First Nation – started in the energy industry in 1986 with a single janitorial contract. These days, FMGC provides a number of services including transportation, environmental services and heavy equipment operations to Suncor and other customers. FMGC CEO Frederick McDonald says there is more growth in store. “Because of the strong business relationship we’ve developed with Suncor, I believe we’ll continue to expand with future endeavors that will benefit Suncor, the community of Fort McKay and the Fort McKay Group of Companies.”
With a big customer like Suncor, Tech Sonic Services in Fort McMurray, has been able to pioneer ultrasonic cleaning services and has become a world leader in low frequency industrial immersion cleaning systems.
Another company, Aqua Industrial Ltd. started in 1996 with small steel installation projects. Local Métis entrepreneur and CEO, Gerry Gionet says both the size of the projects and the number of young Aboriginal people working on them have grown tremendously. “My vision has always included the betterment of the Aboriginal community as well as the needs of the business community,” says Gionet. “We have built a strong relationship with Suncor and that has taught me better business practices, and I use these skills and experience to be a mentor to others in the community.”
Tech Sonic Services in Fort McMurray
For its part, Suncor is proud to have done business with these and other companies over the years. “We’ve worked hard to build strong mutually-beneficial relationships with Aboriginal communities near our operations, says Rick George, Suncor president and CEO. “By tapping into the regional skills and experience of these communities, we’re making progress on a number of shared economic, social and environmental goals.”
Suncor’s partnership with Aboriginal companies was recognized by the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association
on May 26, 2009.