January 20, 2021

Letter to Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Wilkinson on Extended Funding for Site Rehabilitation Program

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, PC, MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Government of Canada House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6


The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources
Government of Canada House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Re: Support for Extending Federal Funding for the Site Rehabilitation Program

Dear Ministers Freeland and Wilkinson:

As your government focuses on supporting workers through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery while building a cleaner and more sustainable future, we write this letter to request an extension of the current funding commitment for the Alberta Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) to June 30, 2023 and to move the end date for work to September 30, 2023.

The SRP has helped build positive momentum for the oil and gas services sector, accomplishing the dual goal of employing skilled workers in Alberta while also benefiting the environment. We do not want to see this momentum stop.

Poor weather conditions delayed the distribution of funds in the early days of the program. At the same time, even as exploration and production (E&P) companies benefit from a return to higher oil and gas prices, they are delaying investments that put services workers back on the job, focusing instead on improving their financial position. As a result, the oil and gas services sector has yet to return to profitability, despite improved business conditions.

For these reasons, unless the deadline is extended, funding allocated to the SRP will go unused and reclamation activity will cease to support well-paying jobs before industry activity and employment fully recover.

We believe that extending the SRP will allow for the full $1 billion in funding to be distributed, helping the federal government to accomplish its environmental sustainability objectives while also continuing to support workers during the economic recovery.

The SRP has already been highly successful at spurring activity in the oil and gas services sector, particularly by helping smaller firms provide good paying jobs that benefit struggling workers and communities.

Similarly, federal funding has helped the government and the energy services sector to significantly advance the Call to Action #92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, creating partnerships between businesses and Indigenous and Metis Peoples in support of economic reconciliation—all while advancing environmental rehabilitation and restoration.

The Indian Resource Council of Canada has worked with numerous First Nations in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan to meet the goals and mandates of the Site Rehabilitation Program. This includes assisting First Nations in the development and implementation of their First Nation’s Site Rehabilitation Program. They have provided specific training programs for SRP resulting in over a 95% employment rate upon completion. The SRP has spurred the creation of many new profitable First Nation businesses and many will be sustainable. The Indian Resource Council of Canada has communicated these and other figures with Minister Wilkinson and have extended the invitation to meet with all partners to discuss a path forward in relation to an extension for the SRP.

The Business Council of Alberta, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors, and the Indian Resource Council of Canada and the members of our joint Energy Services Sector Table are tremendously supportive of the Site Rehabilitation Program’s positive impacts to date and hope to see government extend the program to maximize its full potential.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Legge
President, Business Council of Alberta

Gurpreet Lail
President & CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada

Mark Scholz
President & CEO, Canadian Association of Energy Contractors

Stephen Buffalo
President & CEO, Indian Resource Council of Canada

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