In recent months, families in Lambton County’s three First Nations communities have gained increased access to culturally appropriate therapy services.
Through a partnership between Aamjiwnaang, Walpole Island and Kettle and Stony Point First Nations, Pathways Health Centre for Children and several local industry partners, including the Suncor Energy Foundation, children in those communities now have access to speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
Aamjiwnaang Chief Joanne Rogers says the program will not only help children achieve their full potential and realize a better quality of life, but is also a sign of good things to come.
“The relationship created between Pathways, our local industrial neighbours and our First Nations has created a bond and a connection,” she says. “When we educate, learn from and inspire each other with our experiences and expertise, we are building that foundation of trust, respect, success and caring, which is so important for a relationship to endure.”
Suncor’s Jennifer Johnson says the priorities of the community must be at the root of any initiative for it to work.
“The level of collaboration for this three-year pilot program has been remarkable,” says Jennifer, senior advisor, communications and stakeholder relations. “We know that when the priority is identified by the community and the community plays a direct role in designing the project, it’s much more successful than if it is designed by an outside organization.”
All three programs are off to a strong start, with each community employing an individual who acts as a conduit between families in the community and Pathways. Rachael Simon, the Children’s Support Worker at Aamjiwnaang, says there is a clear need for this level of service in the community. “We are receiving an increasing number of referrals and have a waiting list for all three therapists,” she says. “We hope to be able to expand the program in the near future.”
As shared in our June 2017 edition of Suncor Connections, as part of the new Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Benzene Technical Standard, we have implemented a property line monitoring program for benzene.
The Sarnia refinery’s property line monitoring system consists of 12 monitoring stations around the perimeter of the site. These passive fence line monitors are sampled and analyzed every two weeks. Data collected over the next three years will help determine our “baseline” emissions. That baseline will, in turn, help guide future improvements to reduce benzene emissions at our site.
Based on data from the first 10 months of our fence line benzene monitoring program, results for the Sarnia refinery (two week average) are:
While our fence line data indicates values that are above the new annual limit (which reflects an incremental lifetime cancer risk of one in a million), it is within the range of risks considered negligible by the MOECC and other jurisdictions such as Health Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
In July 2016, the MOECC set a new annual limit for benzene emissions of 0.45 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter).
While the new limit appears to be quite conservative, a Technical Standard was developed with the intention of providing facilities, such as the Suncor Sarnia refinery, an alternate way to comply by employing best-in-class controls on benzene air emission sources.
We take air emissions of all types seriously and continue to work hard to control benzene air emissions at our site. Some of the measures we have taken to reduce benzene air emissions at the Suncor Sarnia refinery include:
Moving forward, we will focus on two key areas this year as part of the Sarnia refinery’s improvement plan:
As of March 1, results from the property line monitoring program are being shared with stakeholders via the recently created Sarnia refinery page on Suncor.com.
For information about Sarnia-Lambton air quality in general, you can also visit the Clean Air Sarnia and Area website.
This story contains forward-looking information. Please see legal advisories for more information.
One of the most common questions we hear from the community is: “how do you communicate during an incident at the refinery?”
Communication is an extremely important part of our incident response process and we have worked hard to continually improve how we reach our stakeholders.
During an incident, there is a lot of different communication taking place. At the refinery, the people responsible for operating the plant are gathering all the necessary resources for the response. Our employees receive the information they may need, including safety precautions they should be taking, and a team called “Incident Command” is assembled to make sure all the things that are supposed to be done, get done.
When it comes to communication outside of the refinery, a number of people are working to make sure the right people are being notified:
The flow of information continues beyond those initial notifications until the “all clear” is sounded.
We know one area we can continue to improve in is our follow-up after an incident. We have heard from our stakeholders that they want to learn more about what happened and the things we are doing to help prevent it in the future. In addition to working internally to improve this level of communication, we are also working with Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the Bluewater Community Advisory Panel and Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association to determine the best way to provide this information.
Ensuring that both the regulators and the community have timely, clear, factual information is important to us. We continue to work on balancing the level of information based on your needs.
Deep listening, reflection and connecting with others defined our participation at GLOBE Forum 2018, held March 14 to16 in Vancouver.
GLOBE Forum is the largest and longest-running leadership summit for sustainable business in the world. It brings together over 2,000 decision makers from government, business and non-governmental organizations to share insights and discuss solutions to current environmental and social challenges so we can pursue a cleaner, more prosperous world.
This year’s conference included Suncor chief operating officer Mark Little participating on a panel entitled Energy Futures Collaboration: Indigenous Partnerships to Drive Social, Economic & Ecological Impact, moderated by Melissa Quesnelle (traditional name Naatoi'Ihkpiakii), executive advisor, Indigenous Sustainable Structures Collaborative and Energy Futures Lab Fellow. Mark joined Chief Boucher from Fort McKay First Nation, JP Gladu, president and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Judith Sayers (Kekinusuqs), president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for a conversation on the increasingly active role of Indigenous governments and communities in energy development.
“GLOBE allows us to listen, learn and have a conversation about Indigenous participation in energy development with a different audience. It was a great opportunity to talk about the journey we have been on with First Nations partners across our businesses, learning how to move forward together, and balancing the impacts of social, economic and environment holistically,” says Mark.
Ginny Flood, VP, government relations, also participated on a GLOBE panel and workshop event entitled Energy reimagined: Rethinking our strategies to navigate the transition. There, the audience explored strategies for adapting to an evolving energy ecosystem including what technologies might shape our energy in the future and how the transition might be financed.
“During the panel and workshop, we heard from some audience members that our industry isn’t stretching ourselves enough,” says Ginny. “Events like GLOBE give us a platform to share the innovation we’re undertaking at Suncor and seeing within our industry. For example, of all research and development spent in the energy sector in 2016 (including electric, energy efficiency, nuclear), fossil fuels was responsible for 75 per cent of this and I think some people were surprised to learn that.”
Since 2003, Suncor has brought over 275 Aboriginal students to the Indspire awards as part of a multi-day experience. The youth participants who join us are selected by their communities because they are considered future leaders. This year’s Indspired Youth Experience, which took place March 21-24 in Winnipeg, included visits to the Canadian Human Rights Museum and Red River College, along with the Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering where participants explored post-secondary and career options.
“I was so inspired by the youth participants – their energy, ideas and the dreams they have not only for themselves, but for their communities,” reflects Howard McIntyre, VP supply chain and field logistics and a participant on the trip. “They are role models for all of us and I am proud to be part of something that helps them achieve their dreams.”
One of the highlights each year is the luncheon, where the youth, and Suncor employees, have a unique opportunity to meet and talk with award recipients before the awards gala on Friday evening. Theland Kicknosway, who at fourteen years old was one of the youngest ever Indspire award recipients, shared his story as a singer, dancer and educator of Aboriginal culture and history, and how he has worked to elevate Aboriginal issues.
“Everything that I do is to give back to all Peoples of our Nations, I want to help the youth learn more from the Elders and pass it along to the future generations so they can walk and create the new path that all of us have begun,” says Theland.
The Indspired Youth Experience is one way Suncor works to provide Aboriginal youth with leadership and learning opportunities that are grounded in culture and reconciliation, a focus area for Suncor’s social goal.
“I came away with many learnings, including a much greater awareness of the challenges, but also the huge possibility and opportunity ahead - for youth, communities, and all of us as Canadians,” recalls Sheila Innes, GM of stakeholder and Aboriginal relations. “The future looks bright.”