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May 27 2021

Training program brings opportunity to Indigenous Albertans

Posted by TC Energy
Graduates gain transferrable skills for future industry employment

With the recently announced $100 million in funding from provincial and federal governments to clean up inactive wells in Indigenous communities in Alberta, there’s a lot of work to be done.

To support Indigenous participation and accessibility to this funding TC Energy is supporting the Inactive Wellsite Abandonment and Reclamation Training to Employment program. This initiative is a partnership with the Indian Resource Council, Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA – now administered by Alberta One-Call Corporation), Kainaiwa Resources Inc, Global and Kettle River to help Indigenous members from Alberta obtain industry training for work placement opportunities.

Winona Lafreniere, Project Coordinator for the program, is excited for what this means to those in the program.


With strong support from partners like TC Energy, the Wellsite Abandonment and Reclamation training gives Indigenous groups the opportunity to participate in the job market and transition to various careers,” she says. “Participants are in a better position to meet the full expectations of the industry and to explore business ventures beyond training.”

TC Energy also supported ABCGA in the development of Ground Disturbance certification, which is included in the training. This certification program teaches advanced excavation, locating and marking skills, and demonstrates safe processes to carry out these activities in conformance with regulatory requirements and industry best practices.

This course, together with other certifications including WHMIS, First Aid and H2S Alive, gives participants the qualifications and skills to obtain work in the field, including orphan well reclamation and rehabilitation.

To date, 19 different Indigenous groups have participated in the training, with 36 participants successfully completing the program


Members of the Horse Lake, Sturgeon Lake Cree, Sucker Creek and Duncans First Nations are pictured here after completing a day of training in Grande Prairie.

Transferable skills

Patricia Poulton, the TC Energy Regional Engagement Lead for Rocky Mountain Region who helped support the partnership, knew the training would open more doors than just orphan well reclamation.


Kettle River employee change pipeline marker signs on a TC Energy right-of-way.

“With these partnerships that we have built and our funding of the Ground Disturbance training, we expand the qualifications of future workers while also sharing education that could help protect our pipelines and other underground utilities in the future,” says Poulton.

When TC Energy changed its name from TransCanada in 2019, it created the monumental task of replacing all the pipeline markers across our asset footprint. Kettle River Contracting was hired to carry out a portion of this work, and thanks to this training, they were able to hire members from three different Indigenous groups in the area.


The partnership developed with TC Energy and the Indian Resource Council has been a huge help in broadening our Indigenous recruitment network,” said a Kettle River representative. “As a result, we are positioned to enter what looks to be a busy 2021 construction season with some very qualified and talented individuals on our team.”

Poulton says, “Initiatives and partnerships like these demonstrate the important role that collaboration has in fostering lasting relationships and increasing economic opportunities with Indigenous groups.”

More information

As outlined in TC Energy’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we are committed to building stronger relationships, stewarding cultural awareness and respect and strengthening partnerships with Indigenous groups in the areas where we do business.

To learn more TC Energy’s RAP and our commitments, visit www.tcenergy.com/reconciliation.

You can learn more about the Inactive Wellsite Abandonment and Reclamation Training to Employment program at www.irccanada.ca.