Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses attendees at a news conference at SAIT in Calgary on Dec. 11, 2019.

Greg Fulmes/The Canadian Press

The Alberta government is allocating $100-million in funding from the federal government in period six of the Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) to reclaim wells in and around First Nations and Métis Settlements.

“We’re hopeful one day again we can gather medicines and we can have our children ride through these fields on their ponies,” Frog Lake First Nation Chief Greg Desjarlais said.

Mr. Desjarlais was a virtual participant in the joint announcement that was made Feb. 12 by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Natural Resources Canada Minister Seamus O’Regan, who also joined virtually.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Savage announced that the federal government was providing another $400-million for periods five and six for well, pipeline and site closing efforts in the energy sector. One quarter of that funding will be provided to Indigenous communities for community-specific allocations. First Nations will receive $85-million and Métis Settlements will share in $15-million.

“For the First Nations, it’s bigger than the employment. We’re creating another generation of hard workers where the children can see Mom and Dad going to work. That’s important,” said Mr. Desjarlias, who is also a board member with the Indian Resource Council.

“This also reduces the liability that many, many oil companies swept through our First Nations and became profitable. But today is today and we’re thankful for today. Also for the Métis Settlements, our brothers, we’re able to clean up these wells and return the land to its natural grass state,” he said.

The SRP was launched in May, 2020, with the Alberta government directing up to $1-billion of federal oil and gas COVID-19 economic stimulus over two years.

Ms. Savage said the program served a number of purposes, including creating much-needed work in the hard-hit oil field sector and restoring the land.

The funding commitment to Indigenous communities, she said, “further demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensure Indigenous businesses and communities play a meaningful role in Alberta’s postpandemic energy strategy.”

She said the details of this round of funding were developed with an Indigenous round table made up of representatives from Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses and the Indian Resource Council. The program also includes Indigenous business incentives, which have contributed to growing Indigenous participation in the program. There is also a dedicated liaison to answer questions from and provide support to Indigenous companies during the application process.

Story continues below advertisement

“We will continue to work closely with our Indigenous partners through the SRP and other energy initiatives to ensure that they, like all Albertans, are in a position to benefit from our economic recovery efforts,” Ms. Savage said.

Mr. Desjarlais said the program would allow member-owned companies and member joint ventures to provide “boots on the ground.”

One such joint venture is with Pimee Well Servicing, owned by six First Nations, including Frog Lake in northeastern Alberta.

“As First Nations, we are part of the solution here in Canada. It’s time that the governments work with us, know we are very smart and resilient people. We know how to create that balance that Canada is looking for,” Mr. Desjarlais said.

Elizabeth Aquin, interim president and CEO of Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), also a virtual participant in the announcement, applauded both levels of government for their commitment to oil field workers and their quick action to help the struggling industry.

She also underscored PSAC’s commitment to the Indigenous community, saying that PSAC has an Indigenous representative on its board of directors and Indigenous companies among its members.

Story continues below advertisement

“The oil and gas industries understand the importance of economic opportunities for Indigenous people and communities as well as the restoration of lands and continues to build meaningful relationships. PSAC members look forward to continuing to work with Indigenous companies through this program and others,” Ms. Aquin said.

As of Feb. 12, $310.3-million of grant funding has been allocated to 633 Alberta-based companies for the first four periods of the program. To date, the program has employed 1,500 people, but is expected to generate 5,300 direct jobs and lead to indirect employment.

Mr. O’Regan said Alberta’s announcement was the third this week in the west that provided opportunities for Indigenous communities in the oil and gas sector using federal funding.

On Feb. 9, the Saskatchewan government announced the First Nations Stewardship Fund and the Indigenous Business Credit Pool, two initiatives to support First Nations and Métis participation in the Accelerated Site Closure Program.

On Feb. 11, British Columbia announced its second round of funding for cleaning dormant oil and gas wells. With just less than $100-million to be allotted, field service workers will be matched with sites nominated for cleanup by Indigenous communities, local governments and landowners.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies