Workforce development


Diversity of thought and opinion; stronger connections to the land and each other

In 2021, Imperial continued to work toward our goal of cultivating a workforce that is representative of the Indigenous populations where we operate across Canada. Over the last year, we launched a new executive-led, enterprise-wide Indigenous Workforce Team to focus on increasing recruitment and retention of Indigenous employees and contractors.

The team is working with neighbouring Indigenous communities, current Indigenous employees and contractors, and our operations managers across Canada to develop site-specific Indigenous employment strategies as well as refreshed recruitment and retention tools. The development team is also evaluating talent and skills pipelines in an effort to identify opportunities to improve upon existing Indigenous apprenticeship, internship and scholarship programs, all with the goal of improving Indigenous representation in our workforce.

In 2021, we began an active review of our internship programs, with a 360-degree feedback exercise in Cold Lake. We engaged current program participants, graduates and other business leaders in workshops and through surveys to explore themes and opportunities, brainstorm ideas and develop solutions to continue to improve the effectiveness of our program.

The feedback reinforced the need for continued, enhanced cultural awareness and sensitivity training at our sites specific to the unique cultures and traditions of the communities around our sites; continued open lines of communications both within our operations and in the community; and the importance of mentors to the ongoing success of internship programs now and into the future.

Indigenous awareness education program

As Imperial employees, we have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. In 2021, we continued to enhance our Indigenous awareness professional development training program to expand employee knowledge of Indigenous cultures, histories and traditions and to create a safe space for learning, engaging and understanding.

Our training program, made up of in-person and computer-based modules, is designed with significant input from our Indigenous employees and community partners, and it works to help us develop a better appreciation for the legal, social and political challenges that Indigenous groups face, the historical implications of colonization, treaties and residential schools and also touches on ceremony, spirituality and the unique traditions of the many communities where we operate across Canada.

In 2021, we had more employees participate in Indigenous awareness training than ever before.

We also have a number of networks across Canada where Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees come together to share experiences and learn more about each other’s stories, cultures, traditions and history and where they can participate in national days of reconciliation events such as National Aboriginal Awareness and Orange Shirt days.

30 Years of Cold Lake Indigenous Network

In 1991, the Cold Lake Indigenous Network was launched to support Indigenous recruitment and provide a space for our Indigenous employees to come together and share experiences, mentor and support each other. Network participants have defined its priorities and focus areas over the years and in 1996 the group launched  the Indigenous Internship Program that has become a cornerstone for engagement with the 12 surrounding  First Nation and Métis communities.

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