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The way forward for energy development? Cenovus commits to building hundreds of homes in communities closest to their oil sands operations


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From Cenovus Energy

Our Indigenous Housing program, the largest community investment initiative in Cenovus’s history, is aimed at addressing one of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada – the lack of adequate housing that is forcing many families to live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions.

The program involves a plan to commit $10 million per year for at least five years to build much-needed new homes in six First Nations and Métis communities closest to our oil sands operations in northern Alberta, with the potential to extend the project to 10 years. We see this initiative as an important way to contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

We also plan to work with the communities to develop training programs, so that local residents can participate in the building and maintenance of the new homes.

The communities that are part of this program are:

  • Beaver Lake Cree Nation
  • Chard Métis (Local 218)
  • Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation
  • Cold Lake First Nations
  • Conklin Métis (Local 193)
  • Heart Lake First Nation

More information including comments from the surrounding communities 

Cenovus to help address Indigenous housing crisis in northern Alberta

Project aims to provide about 200 new homes as well as jobs and training opportunities

Cenovus Energy Inc. has launched a major initiative aimed at addressing one of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada – the lack of adequate housing that is forcing many families to live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions. Cenovus is committing $10 million per year for five years to build much-needed new homes in six First Nations and Métis communities closest to its oil sands operations in northern Alberta, with the potential to extend the project to 10 years. The company sees this initiative as an important way to contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Investing in Indigenous communities near our operations and ensuring they share in the benefits of resource development has always been part of how we do business. Today, we see an opportunity to step up and do more,” said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer. “We can’t solve the Indigenous housing crisis by ourselves, but through this initiative, we have the opportunity to significantly improve the lives of many families currently living in overcrowded and unsafe conditions.”

Developed as part of Cenovus’s recent 10th anniversary celebration, the housing initiative is the single largest community investment in the company’s history. It’s a testament to the strong positive relationships Cenovus has built over many years working with Indigenous communities near its Christina Lake and Foster Creek oil sands projects. Cenovus has met with leaders from Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Chard Métis (Local 218), Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation, Cold Lake First Nations, Conklin Métis (Local 193) and Heart Lake First Nation to begin planning the implementation of the housing program starting this year.

Cenovus plans to work with leaders from the six communities to determine the most effective ways of delivering new homes based on the specific needs of each community. It’s anticipated the communities will be able to build about 200 new houses in total over five years. Cenovus will also work with the communities to develop training programs, so that local residents can participate in the building and maintenance of the new homes. This will potentially create valuable education and employment opportunities for them in the long term. Depending on the success of the initiative, including meeting Cenovus’s performance expectations, the company may consider extending the program to 10 years with a total investment amount of $100 million.

“In addition to creating training and employment opportunities and funding the construction of new houses, Cenovus will also work with communities to raise awareness about the Indigenous housing shortage and help advocate for solutions,” said Pourbaix. “Communities have done an admirable job in managing their housing with limited resources. But this is a complex issue that will require new ideas and collaboration among many stakeholders. We hope to inspire other companies, governments and organizations to get involved.”

Separately, Cenovus has engaged its Indigenous Inclusion Advisory Committee, created in 2017 and comprised of senior leaders from various company functions, to help increase Indigenous inclusion in the company’s business. Since its inception in 2009, Cenovus has signed nine long-term benefits agreements with Indigenous communities near its oil sands operations and spent almost $3 billion with Indigenous owned and operated businesses. On January 9, 2020, Cenovus announced ambitious new targets in four environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus areas, including Indigenous engagement, climate & greenhouse gas emissions, land & wildlife, and water stewardship. A significant element of the Indigenous engagement ESG target commits Cenovus to spend at least an additional $1.5 billion with Indigenous businesses through 2030. Cenovus also continues to provide scholarships to Indigenous youth who are pursuing a full-time degree, diploma or certified trade program. More than 190 scholarships have been awarded since the Indigenous scholarship program started in 2013.

Shirley Paradis, Councillor, Beaver Lake Cree Nation

“Beaver Lake Cree Nation has always had housing issues. We’re at a capacity where we are trying to keep up with families’ needs. The most crucial thing is understanding that we have help now. Cenovus is stepping forward and saying: ‘We’re here to help, how do we help your community?’ There is going to be a sigh of relief for us.”

Justin Herman, CEO, Chard Métis (Local 218)

“What I am taking away from Cenovus’s announcement about the new housing initiative – it’s absolutely amazing and groundbreaking, and I hope it sets a precedent for the rest of the industry to follow the lead of Cenovus. We are excited and honoured to be part of this housing initiative.”

Vern Janvier, Chief, Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation

“We’re getting to the point where we have two families living in one house, and in some cases three. On top of the houses that are in disrepair, we have demand for another 50 houses. That’s how it builds up on us. And that’s just our reserve.”

Roger Marten, Chief, Cold Lake First Nations

“We have about 3,000 band members and only 300 homes. So, the crisis is always there and is always ongoing. The relationship has always been a great one with Cenovus; they have always listened and try to do the best they can to help us along the way.”

Val Quintal, Board member, Conklin Resource Development Advisory Committee, representing Conklin Métis (Local 193)
“Housing is a critical need for Conklin, and we are so pleased that Cenovus has come forward to help our community address this issue.”

Curtis Monias, Chief, Heart Lake First Nation

“I am really excited for Heart Lake. I look forward to working with all the surrounding communities, with industry, and I’m excited to build homes back home for my people.”

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Province advancing plans to build stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital

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Investing in a new Stollery Children’s Hospital

If passed, Budget 2024 will allocate $20 million over three years to advance plans for a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

With 236 beds, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is the second-largest children’s hospital in Canada and has among the highest inpatient volumes of any children’s hospital in Canada. As the province’s population continues to grow, it is crucial that children in Edmonton and northern Alberta have access to the specialized care they need.

Alberta’s government is steadfast in its commitment to build a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital. A new facility would provide more beds, larger clinical spaces, more private rooms and dedicated areas for children and their families. It would also result in additional teaching spaces and state-of-the-art technologies to enhance health care delivery specifically for children.

“A new, stand-alone children’s hospital will build capacity and enable health care providers to continue delivering world-class care to children. This investment, as well as other capital investments outlined in Budget 2024, is an example of how we are creating a more unified and efficient health care system for Albertans. I look forward to sharing more details soon.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

“The new Stollery Children’s Hospital project is the latest addition to Edmonton’s health care infrastructure. Building upon the successes of recent projects like the new emergency department at the Misericordia Community Hospital and Norwood West at the Gene Zwozdesky Centre, the new Stollery will help increase health care capacity in the capital region.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Infrastructure

Alberta’s government initially invested in the project in 2021, providing $1 million that was matched by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. The proposed investment in Budget 2024 will include $17 million in new funding, following the $3 million invested through last year’s budget, for a total investment of $21 million in government funding over four years.

The investment in a new stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital is not only important for families in the city of Edmonton and capital region, it is important for families living across northern Alberta. The Stollery Children’s Hospital serves families in a geographical area of more than 500,000 square kilometres, stretching from Red Deer to Alberta’s northernmost border with the Northwest Territories. Almost 40 per cent of inpatients at the Stollery come from outside the Edmonton area and the hospital is the closest and primary children’s hospital for residents of the Northwest Territories.

“The Stollery has an incredible reputation for the impact it makes in the community, and especially in northern Alberta. This stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital is a long-awaited, necessary project that will help provide additional health care services to children and their families when they need it the most.”

Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health

“This remarkable investment will take us one step closer to our goal of building a reimagined Stollery Children’s Hospital for the future. A new Stollery is poised to provide the most innovative, modern and family-centred physical and mental health care to help bring hope and comfort to kids dealing with serious illness and injury. Thank you to the Government of Alberta for recognizing the very real need for this hospital.”

Karen Faulkner, interim chief executive officer, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

“A new Stollery Children’s Hospital is urgently needed to provide dedicated care for our children. By separating kids from adults, a stand-alone Stollery ensures a nurturing environment and the most modern pediatric equipment and resources to offer families like ours a health care space designed exclusively for our children.”

Shelley Cormier, parent of Stollery patient

Plans for the new hospital include integrating mental health resources, virtual care, research and training facilities to better support patients and improve health outcomes. There will also be a focus on ensuring health care providers, parents and caregivers have the resources they need to support patients.

Alberta’s government remains dedicated to expanding and modernizing hospitals and facilities to provide Albertans with high-quality health care while increasing system capacity and supporting front-line health care workers.

“Alberta’s government is committed to building a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital when planning is complete. A new facility would provide more beds, larger clinical spaces, more private rooms and dedicated areas for children and their families. There would also be more teaching spaces and state-of-the-art technologies to enhance health care delivery.”

Dr. Lyle Oberg, executive board chair, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • Established in 2001, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is a full-service pediatric hospital and centre for complex pediatric care and research.
  • The Stollery Children’s Hospital sees about 300,000 children, 55,000 emergency room visits and 12,000 surgeries annually.

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Male suspect involved in tragic incident between Beaumont and Edmonton sought by police; EPS release photos of suspect

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News release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is assisting the RCMP with the investigation into a tragic incident that claimed the life of an innocent woman last night on 50 Street.

Yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:40 p.m. various EPS resources were deployed to the area of 50 Street and 22 Avenue SW at the request of the RCMP. It was reported to police that RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspicious U-Haul in Beaumont, when the vehicle fled. The U-Haul subsequently travelled north on 50 Street into Edmonton, where it struck and killed a woman inspecting the exterior of her vehicle. Moments later the U-Haul came to rest just outside a gas station off of 22 Avenue and 50 Street.

After crashing the U-Haul, the male suspect then reportedly stole a Honda Civic that was parked outside the gas station with a child inside. Police did consider an Alert to the public at the time, though thankfully the child was located unharmed in the area of 66 Street and 25 Avenue minutes later. The suspect then fled the scene in the Honda Civic. The stolen vehicle has since been recovered outside of Edmonton.

The EPS and RCMP continue to actively seek the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect described as being approximately 5’11” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes. CCTV photos of the suspect are included below.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic death of the innocent woman who was killed on 50 Street,” says Det. Nigel Phillips with the EPS Investigative Response Team. “Our hearts are with her family and friends who will now have to carry on with this unfathomable loss.”

“We are doing everything we can to track down the suspect and we trust the public will help us identify and locate him as soon as possible.”

Assist to identify and locate: Male suspect running in area of 50 Street & 22 Avenue SW
While the RCMP is leading this investigation, the EPS is assisting and working collaboratively with its law enforcement partners.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity and/or their whereabouts is asked to contact the EPS immediately at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

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